It is one of the oldest and most recognizable monikers in the realm of exquisite road-going machinery. Ferraris are unquestionably legendary vehicles, representations of what a super sports car can and should be. Today’s Ferraris are divided into two general categories – sport and touring. Smaller sub categories include extreme Grand Touring Ferraris and race model Ferraris, although any and all Ferraris may obviously be raced. The 2016 Ferrari 488 GTB coupe falls into the super sports genre.
The new Ferrari 488 GTB is a fitting replacement for the 458 Italia, while paying homage to the iconic 308 GTB, which was the first V8 rear-engined for Ferrari. GTB, by the way, is the acronym for Gran Turismo Berlinetta – Italian-speak for a grand touring machine in coupe form. The 488 GTB becomes only the second turbocharged modern day Ferrari model, following the California T.
Like other sports cars that play in the super arena, the 488 GTB has moved from normally aspirated propulsion as found in the 458 Italia to turbocharging – in this case, twin turbocharging. The power source is a mid-mounted 3.9-liter (3902 cc) 90-degree twin-turbocharged V8 engine that cranks out a whopping 661 horsepower at 8,000 rpm, while developing 561 pound feet of torque at 3,000 rpm in 7th gear. The 488 rips from 0-60 mph in 3.0 seconds and is capable of a top speed of 205 mph.
Describing the visual impact that the 488 GTB delivers to one’s senses is akin to describing a super model – both are full of curves and contours, and both are gorgeous and sexy. The car is a work of art that almost defies description. Its graceful and elegant styling is also purposeful, having been executed to satisfy certain functional needs.
Starting up front, the nose directs airflow to the underbody, with the dual-profile front spoiler increasing the effectiveness of the radiators. The headlight assemblies are set into the fenders outside the contoured bonnet cover and contain projector beams as well as LED lighting. A small square Ferrari badge appears above the front fascia and just below the front hood line vent.
The profile displays a ground-hugging stance with the pronounced front fenders rising above the primary hood surface and reaching back to the integrated rear fender, spoiler lip and taillight assembly. Large sculpted side air intakes begin in the door and move back into the fender line, scooping cooling air into the engine bay.
The greenhouse curves gracefully from the sharply angled windscreen in a continuous slope containing the opening backlight, which showcases the twin-turbo V8 engine, to the rear spoiler. The wheel wells are tight around the five-spoke light alloy wheels shod with staggered width 20-inch Michelin Pilot Super Sport high performance tires. Iconic Prancing Horse Scuderia Ferrari shields appear at the trailing edge of the front fenders.
Out back is a ‘blown’ rear spoiler that uses low- and high-pressure surfaces, enhancing downforce without inducing added drag. It works in conjunction rear diffuser, which features active flaps to increase its effectiveness at higher speeds. There are also vents inboard of the new taillights that help cool radiators for the transmission and differential, in addition to getting rid of turbulent, drag-increasing air from the car’s rear.
According to Ferrari, the 488 produces 50 percent more downforce than the 458 while generating less drag. The rear visage of the car is one of exceptional width, skillfully incorporating all of the functional elements in an artful form. There are lower vents outboard of the split dual exhaust that are positioned just above the vertically straked rear diffuser, with a centered vertical rectangular box containing 12 individual LED circular lights that serve as a rear fog light, inspired by F1 rear brake lights. A Prancing Horse badge adorns the tail.
Moving into the carbon-fiber-laden cabin, the exterior’s elegance continues with refined attention to detail, fit and finish. Controls and switchgear are driver-focused and the sport seats are works of art in and of themselves, while providing form-fitting and supportive comfort.
The three-spoke carbon fiber and leather steering wheel serves as the car’s command center, containing controls for the directional signals, horn buttons depressed and embossed into the leather, headlight flash button, damper control for “Bumpy Roads,” wiper controls, engine start/stop button and the manettino dial for selecting various control modes including Wet; Sport; Race; CT Off; and ESC Off. Two driver information displays flank the tachometer, with other control buttons and switches positioned on the outer edges of the IP cowl and center console.
My test 2016 Ferrari 488 GTB arrived on an enclosed trailer with a Corsa Rosso metallic exterior and a Nero leather interior trimmed in Rosso leather with contrasting Rosso double stitching. The base price was set at $242,737.
Optional features and equipment elevated the final tally to $353,838. Options included carbon fiber rear air ducts, side air splitter, engine covers, rear diffuser, underdoor cover, driver zone with LEDs, central bridge, door panels, exterior sill kick panel, upper tunnel trim, dashboard inserts, and front spoiler; carbon ceramic brakes; black brake calipers; leather lower dashboard; a prancing horse stitched on headrest; titanium exhaust pipes; U.S. functional equipment; Scuderia Ferrari shields; special Rosso Corsa metallic paint; gold rake large seats; colored stitching; and Michelin tires.
Driving the 2016 Ferrari 488 GTB provides an enlightening and exhilarating experience once inside. Ingress and egress are less than graceful exercises for taller individuals with long legs due to the car’s low height. There are a few things to know before taking off, such as how to start the engine, how to engage forward gears, which mode to set and how, and more.
I found the Race mode to be the most rewarding in terms of performance – throttle and shift mapping, exhaust note and damping are all enhanced. CT Off, second to the right on the manettino dial turns off traction control, while leaving electronic stability control in place will only intervene at very high thresholds. ESC Off eliminates all stability control except ABS. A more docile operation is delivered in the Sport mode.
Gear changes are executed with the F1 steering column mounted paddle shifters, or in fully automatic mode. The car also has a PS button for launch control, which I didn’t engage for lack of a proper scenario and location.
The 488 GTB also features a second-generation version of Ferrari’s Side Slip Angle Control system, which allows sliding the car around, with the comfort in knowing that an electronic safety feature still exists. The new system works in conjunction with the active dampers, the E-Diff and the F1-Trak traction control system, enhancing not only the car’s stability, but the driver’s confidence.
Nail the throttle in Race mode, and acceleration is blistering in automatic mode, rapidly and smoothly shifting through the gears. Steering is spot on and responsive and braking is stellar.
Bottom line, the Ferrari 488 GTB Coupe is a force to be reckoned with, that is better looking and exceeds the capabilities of the 458, which is still a highly desirable automobile. What could possibly be better? The 488 Spider of course with a retractable hardtop, the same gorgeous styling and the same capable super performance.
The company name is that of its founder Enzo Ferrari, who was born on February 18, 1898 in Modena, Italy and who died at age 90 on August 14, 1988. Ferrari established the Scuderia Ferrari in 1929. Since the first win, Ferrari’s racing craft with the Prancing Horse symbol has enjoyed thousands of successful forays in track and road races globally, building the exclusive and legendary status that the company enjoys today.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2016 Ferrari 488 GTB
Base Price: $242,737.
Price as Tested: $353,838.
Engine Type and Size: 3.9-liter (3902 cc) 90-degree twin turbocharged V8.
Horsepower (bhp): 661 @ 8,000 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 561 @ 3,000 rpm in 7th gear
Transmission: Seven-speed F1 dual-clutch with column mounted
paddle shifters and a reverse button.
Drive Train: Mid-mounted engine / Rear-wheel drive.
Suspension: Front – Double wishbone with magnetorheological dampers.
Rear – Multilink magnetorheological dampers.
Brakes: Power-assisted Brembo extreme design braking system – four-wheel Carbon Ceramic CCM3 vented discs, Front=15.7 x 8.8 x 1.4-inch with 6-piston calipers / Rear=14.2 x 9.2 x 1.3-inch with 4-piston calipers and ABS, EBD with Ferrari Pre-Fill, F1 Traction Control, E-Diff3, FrS SCM-E and SSC.
Tires: Michelin Pilot Super Sport K3 245/35 ZR20x9” front / 305/30 ZR20x11” rear mounted on 5-spoke alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 104.3 inches
Length Overall: 179.8 inches
Width: 76.9 inches
Height: 47.8 inches
Curb Weight: 3,252 lbs. – weight distribution=41.5% front / 58.5% rear.
Fuel Capacity: 22.7 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 15mpg city / 22 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: Not listed but definitely slippery.
0 – 60 mph: 3.0 seconds – Maximum speed – 205 mph
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