Ferrari 488 GTB – Is it actually better than the 458?
The Ferrari 488 GTB is the follow-up to the hugely popular and spectacularly performing Ferrari 458. Given the success of the 458 and the many plaudits it received, designing and creating a car to improve on this, is no small feat. However, what Ferrari have created with the 488 GTB is something of a masterpiece. It is pure engineering genius. The 488 is more powerful, dare I say it, better looking. It handles and performs better than the 458 on and off the track.
Ferrari has reduced the engine size but fitted two turbocharges, which not only increases the horsepower and torque but also reduces emissions and improves fuel economy. Having a turbocharged engine does affect the growling symphony, associated with the usual, naturally aspirated, engines from Ferrari as it's not quite as loud. However, listening to the whoosh of the turbocharges at work, along with a still reasonably loud growly engine, when getting up the rev range is more than enough to make you tingle inside.
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Engine, Power and Performance
The Ferrari 488 GTB is RWD and designed with the latest aerodynamic, cutting edge technology throughout. This ensures the best performance, no matter what surface you're driving on. Some of its impressive features are; an F1-Trac system, Ferrari's 2nd generation Side Slip Control System (SSC2) and latest E-Diff system.
The 488 GTB is fitted with a 3.9-litre, twin-turbocharged, V8 engine (F154). This develops 661hp and a mouth-watering 760Nm of torque. With all this power the 488 will comfortably hit 0-60mph in under 3secs and will go on to a top speed of 205mph. Ferrari claims that the 488 will hit 0-124mph in just 8.3secs and will complete a quarter mile in 10.45secs. The engine is mated to a sublime, race-honed, seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission. This changes gears up and down in a fraction of a second, seamlessly. There are flappy paddles behind the steering wheel if you fancy controlling the gear changes yourself. These work just as well, if not better, than any others currently on the market.
Even though the 488 has twin turbochargers, there is never any turbo-lag. This means the engine feels and behaves like a naturally aspirated engine. It is a truly stunning piece of innovation and engineering from the guys in Italy. It's arguably the best-turbocharged unit currently available.
The 488 comes with a choice of five pre-set driving modes; Wet, Sport, Race, CT Off and ESC Off. The safest setting is Wet mode. With the Ferrari using all of its electrical safety and control features to ensure the 488 is stable and has maximum grip at all times. Most of the time, Sport mode would be the ideal setting to use. This gives a little more freedom to enjoy the Ferrari and its capabilities, with more responsive throttle and steering.
The 488 GTB comes with upgraded, adaptive suspension as standard and when set in 'bumpy road' mode, the dampers relax and make driving on public roads much more comfortable than you would expect from a supercar. There is an abundance of grip, especially in Wet or Sport mode, which is partly down to the bespoke 20-inch Michelin tyres and partly down to the amazing chassis which the 488 sits on.
Interior Quality and Technology
The interior of the Ferrari is as you would expect, similar to the 458 but with subtle improvements. The majority of the control buttons and functions are set on the steering wheel. This has become the trend with Ferrari cars. Once you get used to where the buttons are and what they do, you begin to wonder why other car manufacturers don't follow suit. It's terrific and makes you feel like you're in an F1 car.
The seats, steering wheel and pedals all line up nicely to make finding a great driving position very easy. The racing seats are manually adjustable and are surprisingly comfortable and soft, albeit a little snug for the slightly larger occupants.
The infotainment system includes; sat-nav, Bluetooth connectivity with smartphone mirroring, including Apple CarPlay, along with a variety of other features as standard. The digital instrument display behind the steering wheel is split into three sections. In the middle, there is a large, prominent rev counter and speed display which has infotainment pods one either side. The right-hand pod displays the sat-nav, multimedia and smartphone. Whereas, the left-hand display shows various settings, such as the fuel level, oil level and pressure and engine temperature. Then the displays are of higher definition and quality to that found in the outgoing 458. Although they are still not as good as the screens and system found in the McLaren 650s.
Space Practicality and Safety
The Ferrari 488 GTB is a two-seater coupe. There is a generous amount of space for two tall adults, with plenty of head and legroom. The 488 is also wide enough that you don't rub shoulders with each other. The figure-hugging seats make sliding around, when cornering fast, non-existent.
The are various storage cubbies throughout the cabin including; a decent-sized glovebox, door pockets, central storage tray, cupholder and space in the back for a small bag and laptop. The boot, which is at the front of the car, is generous with a capacity of 230-litres. However, due to its shape, you are unlikely to fit a full-sized suitcase. It would better fit a couple of overnight bags or small carry on aeroplane suitcases.
The 488 GTB has not been Euro NCAP safety tested, but it's safe to say the Ferrari would perform well, given the array of safety assists. Some of these include; carbon-ceramic brakes for increased stopping performance, multiple airbags, ABS, traction control and speed-sensitive steering.
Ferrari offers a host of optional extras all of which come at a premium price. If you can afford the nearly £200k for the base model 488 GTB, you can probably afford a few extras as well. The Ferrari is up against some stiff competition from the likes of the McLaren 650s and Lamborghini Huracan, which come in at a similar price range. There is also the slightly cheaper options of the Audi R8 and Porsche 911 Turbo, which offer similar performance levels. For me though, I would have to pick the Ferrari above the others. Not only is it a Ferrari but it is one of the finest cars Ferrari have produced.