Ladies and gentlemen, feast your eyes on the freshly announced Ferrari 488 GTB. Unveiled to line up with the 40th anniversary of Ferrari’s first mid-engined V8 model, the 308 GTB, the latest Ferrari will make its official debut at the Geneva Auto Show in March. A successor to the venerable 458 Italia, the 488 GTB was developed to provide even more precise and nimble handling, even at the hands of an amateur driver.
Ferrari hasn’t forgotten about acceleration either, equipping the 488 GTB with a 3.9 liter, eight cylinder engine that makes 660 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque, enough to launch the 488 GTB from zero to 60 miles per hour in three seconds. The zero-to-60 time isn’t quite as indicative of just how fast this newest Ferrari is, however, as the manufacturer also claims that it can run from zero to 125 miles per hour in a mere 8.3 seconds. Compared to the Ferrari 458 Italia that it replaces, that’s nearly a second faster. Keep the pedal to the metal though, and the 488 GTB will keep accelerating up to at least 205 miles per hour.
If you’re thinking that’s fast, you’re right. It’s very, very fast.
The 488 GTB also marks a major change for Ferrari in the engine department, as all that power is made with the help of a turbocharger. No, this isn’t the first turbocharged engine that Ferrari has ever used in a production car, but in order to increase power and performance while improving emissions, the 458 Italia’s naturally aspirated V8 engine had to go. While it’s a little sad that Ferrari will probably no longer be making naturally aspirated V8s, it’s hard to complain about a change that manages to extract more than 600 horsepower out of an engine with less than four liters of displacement.
Handling should be extraordinary, especially on a track, as the 488 GTB has 50% more downforce than its predecessor while also reducing drag. Active aerodynamics will work to keep the car glued to the road, while an electronic differential and improved Side Slip Control system will work to ensure neutral handling through the corners.
Luckily, the appearance of the 488 GTB has also been improved over the 458 Italia. The design isn’t a complete change from the previous generation, and you can still see a strong resemblance between the two, but the 488 GTB’s look is more refined and is much more attractive overall. Ferrari’s commitment to aerodynamics is as strong as ever, but over the last few years, its designs have focused so much on extracting the absolute maximum performance out of each car, the aesthetics have suffered.
Barring a few examples here and there, Ferraris have always been fast and placed an emphasis on handling, but they have also been attractive. Whether you’re looking at the Ferrari 250 GTO, 206 Dino, or even the 360 Modena, it’s clear that Ferrari has a tradition of making cars that don’t just focus on performance. In order to be a proper Ferrari, a new model should be beautiful to look at as well as great to drive.
Reviews of Italian sports cars use words like “passionate” and “invigorating” to describe what it’s like to sit behind the wheel and drive them. But looking at cars like the F12 Berlinetta and FF doesn’t exactly ignite that same sort of passion that even the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione did.
The Ferrari 488 GTB, however, is a car that really looks like it was drawn with passion. It takes all the best design cues from the 458 Italia and improves on them. The headlights still aren’t exactly beautiful, but the mustachioed front end is finally gone, replaced with an aggressive and more attractive grille. The rear end is smoothed out and is now beautiful, while the profile view is curvy and dramatic.
How the 2016 Ferrari 488 GTB looks in person and what it’s like to drive have yet to be seen, but for now, this latest Ferrari is definitely worth getting excited about.