Forty years on from the unveiling of its first ever mid-rear-engined V8 model, the 308 GTB, Ferrari is opening a new chapter in its 8-cylinder history.
Set to replace the 458 Italia, company bosses say the new 488 GTB will aim to encapsulate Ferrari’s experience in both F1 and the WEC, where the 458 GT holds the World Championship title and has won its category in the last two editions of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The 488 GTB’s new 3.9-litre V8 turbo engine delivers 660 bhp at 8,000 rpm along with 561 lb-ft of maximum torque in seventh gear and a response time to the accelerator of 0.8 seconds at 2,000 rpm. All of which means the 488 GTB can accelerate from 0-124 mph in 8.3 seconds and lap the Fiorano track in 1’23”.
The gearbox features a new ‘Variable Torque Management’ system, which Ferrari says “unleashes the engine’s massive torque smoothly and powerfully right across the rev range”.
The car’s aerodynamics also contribute to performance: its 1.67 efficiency figure is a new record for a production Ferrari, and is the result of 50 per cent more downforce than the previous model and reduced drag.
Ferrari’s designers say the greatest challenge was achieving these two goals simultaneously. Several design elements were specifically developed to do so, not least a double front spoiler, base bleed side intakes and, at the rear, active aerodynamics coupled with a blown spoiler. The aerodynamic underbody also incorporates vortex generators.
Other dynamic developments include an evolved version of Ferrari’s side slip angle control system called SSC2. Aside from integrating with the car’s F1-Trac and E-Diff, the SSC2 now also controls the active dampers. Ferrari engineers say the result is flatter, more stable behaviour during “complex manoeuvres”.
Designed by the Ferrari Styling Centre, the new car features a large signature air intake scallop that serves as a visual nod to the original 308 GTB and is divided into two sections by a splitter. The wide front spoiler features a double profile to improve the thermal efficiency of the radiators positioned at the sides. At the centre two pylons are combined with a deflector which channels air towards the flat underbody. The broad, low tail is also dominated by aerodynamic elements, including a blown spoiler which is said to generate downforce without increasing drag. This works in conjunction with an aggressive ramp angle for the diffuser which features active flaps. The greater height required for the diffuser was achieved by repositioning the exhaust tailpipes. The circular LED tail lights have also been redesigned.
On the inside, there are several traditional Ferrari styling elements such as the clear separation between the dashboard and tunnel, the multifunctional steering wheel, the control switch bridge and wraparound seats. The graphics and interface of the infotainment screen have also been completely redesigned while the design of the car’s new key takes its inspiration from the car’s cylinder banks and allows keyless starts.
The Ferrari 488 GTB will make its official world debut at the Geneva motor show in March.