Ferrari 488 GTB

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WHAT WE SAY:

A turbo ferrari – Heresy? Not a bit. The hypercar-fast 488 GTB is still epic

WHAT IS IT?

If we’re being terse, it’s a facelifted, turbocharged 458, which replaces the lovely Italia after six years on sale. But really, this is something much bigger. It’s Ferrari’s first turbo-assisted mid-engined car since the iconic F40, and a sea-change in Ferrari’s future car roadmap. And that bodywork isn’t different for change’s sake – there’s a 50% increase in speed-generated downforce, up to 325kg of the stuff (that’s the equivalent of four bloke’s worth of force pushing you down onto the road). Ferrari also claims even faster gearchanges and even cleverer adaptive suspension.

DRIVING

Like a 458, but way, way faster. Worried about turbo lag? Well, bear in mind that the 488’s 3.9-litre bi-turbo V8 (totally revised from the similar-sounding motor in the nose of a California T) delivers maximum response to full throttle 0.8 seconds after your toe hits the firewall. That’s just a tenth behind the non-turbo 458, while a 99bhp leap in power and a colossal 163lb torque surge over the old car deliver neck-snapping, hypercar-territory response.

It’s sometimes all too much for the rear tyres, but an even-cleverer version of Ferrari’s drift-o-matic Side Slip Angle Control, which now talks to the suspension as you slide, will encourage, not scare you, from smearing fresh Pirelli from here to the Stelvio. Steering remains super-fast, now with a bit more feel.

What about the noise? It’s very, very different to the 458, trading some of the frenzied tightness for something more linear, controlled and industrial – a bit like a modern F1 car. Not as atmospheric, then, but still the best-sounding turbo road car out there. Besides, the era of natural aspiration is, like it or not, reaching its end. The 488 represents the very forefront of the turbo charge.

ON THE INSIDE

Looks very 458, doesn’t it? However, Ferrari has rationalised the control pods either side of the instrument binnacle, which itself features higher-def screens, and the centre tunnel controls are a bit more LaFerrari-esque. So it feels modern, looks expensive, and the ergonomics are still a touch haphazard, in a good sense of occasion way, not an ‘oh-god-where-are-the-pedals’ way.

As always, the base spec is only the starting point, so the interior can be trimmed and decked out in virtually any style you wish. And as always, you should steer clear of the S&M carbon racing seats. You poser.

OWNING

Ferrari gave the 488 turbos to keep up with the competition and be seen to give a fig about CO2 (down 15% from the 458), not to aid owners with running costs. Still, 24.8mpg on the official cycle ain’t bad for a supercar, by any stretch. And, as per any new non-limited edition Ferrari, the 488 is liable for a seven-year servicing programme that takes care of all of your fluids and filters every 12 months or 12,500 miles. All of which nicely takes the edge off the £183,964 starting price. Before those oh-so tempting options.

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