The fiery-red Ferrari 488 GTB emerged from behind the fog before members of the motoring media, punctuating its arrival with mellifluous roars from its V8 heart.
Autostrada Motore Inc., the official importer and distributor of Ferrari in the Philippines, debuted on December 10 the successor to the 458 Italia at its Ferrari showroom in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. That V8 heart, which is also used in the Ferrari California and the Maserati Quattroporte GTS, is a 3.9-liter, twin-cam, 32-valve, direct-injection powerplant with two twin-scroll turbochargers, producing 661 horsepower and 760 Newton-meters of torque. This is attached to a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox with paddle shifters.
More power, electronics
The new turbo V8 produces 100 more horsepower and 220 Nm more torque than the 458’s naturally aspirated, 4.5-liter V8. All that Italian might launches the 488 from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in 3.0 seconds flat and 0 to 200 kph in 8.3 seconds, with a top speed of 330 kph.
Reigning in all that speed are standard carbon-ceramic brakes, with 15.7-inch discs in front and 14.2-inch discs at the rear, which are connected to Ferrari’s High Performance anti-lock braking system. These live behind the car’s 20-inch alloy wheels, wrapped in 245-millimeter-wide front and 305-millimeter-wide rear Michelin tires.
Driving electronics include Ferrari’s new Side Slip Control System 2, which coordinates the F1-Trac traction-control system, the E-Diff electronic rear differential and the adaptive dampers for flatter high-speed cornering.
Revised body, aerodynamics
Although it looks fairly similar to the 458, the styling changes to the 488 accentuate the new aerodynamics package. The front is inspired by the flagship LaFerrari hybrid hypercar, especially its boomerang headlights and double front splitter in the larger lower bumper openings. Some of the air from the splitter goes out through nostrils on the hood, under which is a 230-liter storage space big enough for two small luggage bags.
Down the side, the biggest change is the split, side air intakes, which the company said was inspired by the ones on the 1970s-era 308 GTB. Indeed, the huge opening extends into the middle of the doors, with the downward-pulling door handle standing upright.
But it is the rear where Ferrari has made the most changes. The company said it has integrated a “blown” rear spoiler, which eschews the need for a rear wing. The round LED taillights from the old model remain, but these are accompanied by large vents, reminiscent of the 458 GT racers. Another vent runs underneath the Prancing Horse logo, which helps direct air from the top of the 488 out the back for added downforce. Finally, the lower bumper includes a new diffuser and a movable flap that helps direct air for better handling.
The 488 also features a flat underbody, which Ferrari said is inspired by the 458 GT racers, that also uses vortex generators. All in all, Ferrari said the improvements now help the 488 produce 325 kilograms of downforce at 250 kph.
Déjà vu interior
Inside, it’s as if the company just changed the ”458 Italia” badge on the passenger side to a
”488 GTB” one. Thus, it still retains the driver-oriented center console with its unusual air vents. The console also has the controls for the infotainment system found in the gauge cluster, which can be far easier to use than the controls in even some ordinary cars, while the knobs for the dual-zone climate control are close underneath.
Speaking of the gauge cluster, the 488 continues to use two screens that flank the central tachometer. These are not only very clear, but can also display everything from the car’s performance statistics to the song you’re playing. The cluster is behind a sporty, multi-function steering wheel, with LEDs at the top telling you when to change gear and the “manettino” dial at the bottom to control the performance settings.
Running down the center of the interior are controls for the aforementioned driver electronics, the gearbox and the electric windows. The launch car featured a tan interior with electrically adjustable, Daytona-style seats that help give the driver a good driving position and even feature some usable storage space behind them. Outside visibility was reasonable, even through the rear-view mirror, although some standing below 5’5” will find getting in and out of the 488 tricky with the driver’s seat set at that person’s height.
Perhaps in a nod to the Philippine’s imperfect roads, the 488 launch car has a button that raises the front to help it clear speed bumps and ramps. Whether or not it is high enough, though, remains to be seen. (Perhaps in a long-term test drive?)
488 Spider out by June 2016
Dieter Knechtel, managing director of Ferrari Far East Hub (which handles the Ferrari brand in the Southeast Asian region), told Fast Times that a 488 Spider variant will be launched locally within the first half of 2016. He also said the 488 GTB competes locally with the Lamborghini Huracán, the Porsche 911 Turbo and some Aston Martins.
Should you desire one, the Ferrari 488 GTB starts at above P20 million and will feature a huge options list to help you craft a stallion to your taste.