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The Ferrari 488 GTB is fast. Ferociously fast. Of course.

21.04.2016

It couldn't be otherwise, with an all-new 3,902cc V8 turbo powerplant pumping out 492kW at a goosey-inducing 8,000rpm, and 760Nm at 3,000rpm.

Enough to scythe it from rest to 100km/h in three seconds flat, and onto over 330km/h. Perhaps yet more remarkable is that it will dispatch zero to 200km/h in just 8.3 seconds. All the while singing a mechanical opera in what is a contender for the most glorious soundtrack in the automotive world.

But there's more to this Maranello missile - which replaces the outgoing 458 - than formidable firepower. Of course. This machine is beautifully balanced, intuitive, and alive, with massive attention having gone into its aerodynamics, which means it's not only slipperier than ever, but generates 50 percent more downforce.

And you virtually drive it by telepathy, as I discovered recently at Red Star Raceway in Gauteng, when Scuderia South Africa - the official Ferrari dealer - hosted a Passione Ferrari track event for a handful of us motoring writers.

Besides fine Italian fare and even finer, no the finest, Italian metal, official Ferrari driving instructors, termed Corso Pilota, flown out from Italy, were on hand to advise and instruct. And advise and instruct they did, sitting in the passenger seat of the 488 GTB while we arched around the track, realising not for the first time why the very word "Ferrari" has unmatched and unrivalled halo status.

I also got to reacquaint myself with the Ferrari California T, an evolution that's way edgier and more involving than the original. Indeed, this 2+2 machine, with its retractable hard top, uses essentially the same engine as the 488 GTB. Except it turns in slightly tamer figures. If you can call 412kW and 755Nm "tame." Which you can't. The same goes for its top trot of 316km/h and zero-to-100km/h time of 3.6 seconds.

Now to the cynical this might sound like yet another Ferrari hagiography. But I challenge the most hardened petrolhead to sample one of Maranello's latest machines at full chat and come away unmoved.

Oh, of course you'll pay. The California T - which represents the entry point into the Prancing Horse world - has a base price of R4,335,000. The 488 GTB? Try R4,990,000. And the 488 Spider - due to be launched here in May this year - R5,594,000.

But that does include a seven-year maintenance programme. Yes, seven years. Also included is the most revered, and justly so, badge in motoring.

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21.04.2016
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