Ferrari 488 GTB: extreme performance for extreme driving thrills
Forty years on from the unveiling of Ferrari's first ever mid-rear-engined V8 berlinetta, the 308 GTB, the Prancing Horse opens a new chapter in its 8-cylinder history.
The 488 GTB name marks a return to the classic Ferrari model designation with the 488 in its moniker indicating the engine's unitary displacement, while the GTB stands for Gran Turismo Berlinetta. The new car not only delivers unparalleled performance, it also makes that extreme power exploitable and controllable to an unprecedented level even by less expert drivers.
An exceptional engine and sophisticated aerodynamics combined with refined vehicle dynamic controls radically improve the already razor-sharp responsiveness of Ferrari's road cars to near-track level.
Power (670 cv), engine and vehicle response times (0.8 s and 0.06 s respectively) give the 488 GTB a unique character and guarantee unmatched driving pleasure to drivers of all abilities.
To achieve this result, Ferrari drew on its experience in both F1 and GT racing, in which the 458 holds the WEC title and has won its category in two editions of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The new model also exploits to the full the know-how gleaned by Ferrari engineers over the last decade through the XX programme which makes extreme track-only cars available to gentleman test-drivers.
Designed by the Ferrari Styling Centre, the 488 GTB features very sculptural flanks which are the key to its character. Its large signature air intake scallop is a nod to the original 308 GTB and is divided into two sections by a splitter.
The front is characterised by the dual grille opening which channels air into the two radiators. There is also a double front spoiler which, on close inspection, looks very like those of the F1 single-seaters. At the centre two pylons are combined with a deflector which channels air towards the flat underbody. The bonnet has pronounced, raised central section and two side channels. These channels have the dual function of making the car look more sporty and channelling the air from the two vents in the bumper which have been skilfully hidden from sight in the front view to keep the lines clean.
The tail is dominated by the blown spoiler and the large air vents which help improve the car’s aerodynamics. The new exhaust tailpipes have been repositioned to accommodate the greater height required for the diffuser. The overall result exudes a sense of power and performance.
A new colour, Rosso Corsa Metallizzato, was developed to underscore this model’s supremely sporty character as well as its unique elegance and exclusivity. Seen at close quarters, it has a surprising depth and glossiness achieved by using a triple-layer formulation in which millions of micro-particles are suspended in the paint.
The 488 GTB’s cabin was designed to exude extreme sportiness without sacrificing occupant comfort. This heightens the impression of a cockpit tailored around the driver’s needs: the commands not clustered on the steering wheel are on the wraparound satellite pods which are angled directly towards the driver.
The new lighter, horizontally more compact dashboard features ultra-sporty air vents inspired by military jet air intakes.
The overall result is an effortless marriage of innovative volumes and compact, functional forms. The design references typical Ferrari traits, such as the clear separation between dashboard and tunnel, the multifunctional steering wheel, the control bridge on the tunnel. All beautifully handcrafted with materials and trim that are both elegant and sporty, with a strong emphasis on creating functional spaces.
The characteristic longitudinal F1 bridge has become a Prancing Horse icon and, in practical terms, frees up plenty of storage space for small items while the main function buttons are now in a more ergonomic position. Meticulous attention was lavished on the various odds and ends compartments which provide generous storage space. The 488 GTB’s new door panels feature a more comfortable, ergonomic armrest. The design is very clean and sporty while the buttons are very easy to reach.
Great thought also went into the new seats which have fixed headrests. They are even lighter and offer extremely high containment while being very comfortable.
New V8 turbo: a brilliant encapsulation of Ferrari’s DNA
This 3902 cc power unit is the Prancing Horse’s most high performance engine ever with zero turbo lag and a unique, seductive soundtrack. It delivers 670 cv at 8,000 rpm with a specific power output of 172 cv/l, a new record for a road-going Ferrari, maximum torque of 760 Nm in seventh gear and a throttle response time of just 0.8 seconds at 2000 rpm in third gear. Consequently, the 488 GTB sprints from 0-100 km/h in 3 seconds flat and from 0-200 km/h in just 8.3.
These superb performance figures are the result of a focus on achieving maximum efficiency across the board. In terms of combustion, this means new specially-shaped high-tumble intake ports combined with 200-bar direct fuel injection. The new V8 also has an ion-sensing system which measures ionising currents to control ignition timing and adaptively predict misfires, as well as a multi-spark function.
Mechanical efficiency is guaranteed by an oil pump that supplies oil either at high pressure or low pressure. Cylinder heads with roller finger followers reduce the power absorbed by the valvetrain by 10 per cent at low revs thanks to reduced friction. The use of flat-plane crankshaft architecture guarantees maximum compactness, lower mass and helps improve the engine’s internal fluid-dynamics.
Numerous components contribute to the powertrain’s exceptional response times. The turbos are on ball-bearing-mounted shafts to reduce friction and the compressor wheels are in TiAl, a low-density titanium-aluminium alloy, which, thanks to its lower inertia, ensures maximum spool-up speed. In addition, twin-scroll technology directs the exhaust gases from each cylinder through separate scrolls and increases the efficiency of the exhaust pulses for maximum power.
As the revs rise, the V8’s soundtrack increases in volume and clarity, in line with the increase in power. Pivotal to the sound in the cabin are the exhaust headers with longer, equal-length tubing and the flat-plane crankshaft. The soundtrack was further enhanced by an in-depth study of the harmonics and tonality at different engine speeds.
Ferrari 488 GTB – Official Video
Ferrari 488 GTB - Innovation Highlights