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First Drive: Ferrari 488 GTB. Image by Ferrari.

First Drive: Ferrari 488 GTB
Turbo power for Ferrari’s mid-engined supercar


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Ferrari 488 GTB

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Ferrari 488 GTB
Price: £183,984
Engine: 3.9-litre V8 twin-turbocharged petrol
Body style: two-seat supercar
CO2 emissions: 260g/km (£2,000 VED first 12 months, then £450 per annum next five years, then £140 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 24.9mpg
Top speed: 205mph
0-62mph: 3.0 seconds
Power: 670hp at 8,000rpm
Torque: 760Nm at 3,000rpm

What's this?

A shift in philosophy, as Ferrari is embracing the future with a turbocharged V8, the first time it's fitted one to a mid-engined car since the F40. Turbocharging has its detractors, but it is necessary if Ferrari has any hope of producing the sort of performance it wants, with any sort of nod to the environmental legislators.

The upside is more power - lots more - with those turbos adding 100hp over the naturally aspirated 458 Italia that came before the 488. Torque leaps up, too. There's a 220Nm increase to a 760Nm maximum, which is produced at significantly lower revs. These changes are significant, as it alters the 488's character over the 458.

It doesn't rev quite as stratospherically - although an 8,000rpm red line isn't to be sniffed at - but Ferrari has worked on the engine's management to exploit the greater power and also make it feel more like a naturally aspirated unit. Assisting here is what Ferrari calls Variable Torque Management. This limits torque to provide a more linear, natural torque curve, and it works very impressively indeed.

The engine is mated to a seven-speed dual clutch paddle-shifted transmission driving the rear wheels. Ferrari's extensive Formula One know-how is exploited in the chassis systems, and are largely a development of those in the 458 and 458 Speciale. Combined, these make the 670hp the 488 GTB produces genuinely exploitable.

Elsewhere it's much as we'd expect from Ferrari's 'entry' mid-engined model, so there's a shape honed as much by the stylist's eye (they must have blinked as they signed off the ludicrous door handles) as it is the necessity of the wind tunnel, a cabin that's focused on the driver and a steering wheel littered with all the controls you'll need.

How does it drive?

That engine dominates the 488, but then so it should. Its nature is, unsurprisingly, changed, even Ferrari cannot completely hide the fact it's turbocharged. That's not a criticism, though, and the way the 488's V8 picks up from low revs is genuinely impressive, the eye-widening pace that accompanies it being similarly so. Those clever engine electronics play a part in producing an engine that has all the benefits of turbocharging then, with less of the pay-offs.

You're unlikely to mind the lower 8,000rpm redline, it's just not as necessary to chase it. You'll choose to though, to give the engine its voice, as Ferrari has underlined that turbocharged V8s don't need to lose their soulful, aural delights. No, the 488's unit doesn't quite match the intoxicating sounds that the 458 or even more tuneful 458 Speciale made before it, but as engine notes go, it's still firmly in the spine-tingling camp.

The performance it brings is other-worldly. We thought with the 458's introduction in 2010 that supercars couldn't get much quicker, but the 488's figures monster its predecessor.

The numbers describe a car that can achieve 0-62mph in 3 seconds, a 205mph top speed and in-gear acceleration that's even more ferocious than that 0-62mph time. The seven-speed paddle-shifted auto shifts as quickly as you can think, while the chassis systems enable the 488 to carry its huge pace with utter impunity.

The steering is so sharp some might find it too quick in its response, although dial into it and the agility on offer is truly spectacular. Choose your preferred setting from mild to wild via the wheel-mounted rotary manettino control; from reined-in stability and assured traction to looser thresholds, and the 488 GTB rewards with incredible balance and adjustability. There's Side Slip Control 2 (SSC2) if you want to leave corners ruining your rear tyres (on track, of course), so the 488 Italia really does indulge in any driving style you like.

The sophistication of the chassis and drivetrain integration is exemplary, the control remarkable, the limits astounding, yet the 488 GTB is engaging and exciting. Just as a Ferrari should be.


The 488 GTB is an astonishing car that is faster and more able than the model that preceded it. That's some achievement given how exceptional the 458 Italia was. In turbocharging the 488 has, inevitably, changed in character, although the resultant performance and the ease by which it can be exploited, moves the game on once more in the supercar marketplace. It's got some tough new competition in the shape of the McLaren 720S, although the Ferrari is the more soulful foil to the McLaren. We can't wait for the stripped-out 488 GTO that's rumoured to be coming, which will add even more intensity to the mix...

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

4 4 4 4 4 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Luggage Space

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

5 5 5 5 5 Driving Dynamics

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Powertrain

Kyle Fortune - 1 Aug 2017    - Ferrari road tests
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- 488 GTB images

2017 Ferrari 488 GTB drive. Image by Ferrari.2017 Ferrari 488 GTB drive. Image by Ferrari.2017 Ferrari 488 GTB drive. Image by Ferrari.2017 Ferrari 488 GTB drive. Image by Ferrari.2017 Ferrari 488 GTB drive. Image by Ferrari.

2017 Ferrari 488 GTB drive. Image by Ferrari.2017 Ferrari 488 GTB drive. Image by Ferrari.2017 Ferrari 488 GTB drive. Image by Ferrari.2017 Ferrari 488 GTB drive. Image by Ferrari.2017 Ferrari 488 GTB drive. Image by Ferrari.


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