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Another boosted prancing horse: the Ferrari 488 GTB


I AM privileged to have attended the launch of two Ferrari models this year and the second in the series is the 488 GTB, which, like the California T, is an improvement of an existing model by the addition of a turbocharged engine and some clever redesign.

Another turbo Ferrari?

The brand claims that the 488 GTB will be the new segment leader and after reading some of the figures I can believe it. There is the same twin-turbocharged 3.9-litre V8 motor from the California T, only in 488 guise, it produces 492kW/760Nm which, in a car with a dry weight of 1 370kg, means brutal levels of performance. I was pleased to hear that the 488 also uses IHI turbo chargers just as its ancestor, the iconic F40 did all those years ago.

Turbo means less noise and lag, right?

Well, that’s the first thing all enthusiasts would ask. Would the sound and responsiveness be hampered by the turbo charger? Ferrari claims there’s basically zero turbo lag with a response time between accelerator depression and engine response of just eight seconds. This was achieved using TiAl (low-density titanium-aluminium alloy) compressor wheels, which have lower inertia, thereby improving spool-up speed. The turbos are also  twin-scroll  and feature a seal on the turbine housing for minimal gap between it and the compressor wheel, for minimal lag.

Engineers have tuned the sound to ensure the car makes that distinctive flat-plane V8 howl. This was achieved by using long, equal-length exhaust headers, the flat-plane crankshaft and the application of findings in an in-depth study of the harmonics and tonality at different engine speeds. 

What about the looks?

The car that it replaces was, in a word, stunning, so designers had a tough task improving upon it while simultaneously catering for the aerodynamic and cooling demands of a rear-mounted turbo charged motor. The 488 has an even greater level of visual drama than the 458, with an angrier face, more sculpted flanks and an even racier rear.

Wouldn’t it be difficult to drive?

Ferrari claims the 488 is a very exploitable vehicle for all drivers with things like a new Side Slip Control System (SSCS), which integrates the car’s F1-Track stability control and E-Differential and also controls the active dampers, which the brand claims leads to more predictable and flatter handling.

The car even has variable boost management which limits the amount of torque provided by the engine in the first three gears. This means the car has more traction, while also increasing the acceleration sensation as the torque increases gear-by-gear.


Well, the figures are astonishing! The 0-100km/h time is 3.0 seconds but even more alarming is the 0-200km/h is 8.3 seconds, while the top speed is in excess of 330 km/h. That is an unreal level of performance for what is still the “baby” Ferrari. If you care about that sort of stuff, the consumption is also improved to a claimed 11.4 litres/100km while emissions sit at 260g/km.


Expect to pay around R4.5 million for one of these; I’ll take one in red, please...

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