Ferrari 488 GTB: Singapore’s next top model?


Here it is, the new Ferrari 488 GTB. It replaces the beloved 458 Italia and adds turbo power, sharper handling, and one long-awaited feature…
MARANELLO, ITALY — This is the Ferrari 488 GTB, a new mid-engined V8 that will replace the much-loved (especially by us) 458 Italia.

Because it’s a Ferrari we’ll just get right to the numbers. The 488 GTB hits 100km/h in three seconds flat… and then it really gets going. 0 to 200km/h is done in a kidney-pounding 8.3 seconds.

As usual, Ferrari is rather coy about the top speed, quoting it as “over 330km/h”.

How does the 488GTB do its thing? In a word: turbocharging.

That’s right. Tightening emissions requirements have killed off the glorious, screaming, racecar-like engine that powered the 458 Italia, and in its place is a 3.9-litre V8 turbo that produces 670 horsepower at 8,000rpm. It responds to the throttle pedal in just 0.2 seconds.

MORE: The end of an era for Ferrari
STILL MORE: Here’s another turbo Ferrari

That makes the 488 GTB’s engine the benchmark in its class, says Ferrari. Since there are no performance figures for the upcoming McLaren 675LT (though it’s a safe bet it will have 675 horsepower), we’ll compare the new Ferrari to the 650S. The McLaren takes 0.1 seconds longer to hit 200km/h, prancing horse fans will be pleased to know.

Knowing full well how turbos have a muffling effect on exhaust noise, Ferrari says it’s worked hard on making the 488 GTB’s engine sound right. The turbo V8’s music will be “full, clear and totally distinctive”, says Maranello. We’ll see. Er, hear.

Anyway, Ferrari says the new car is a sharp, track-focused coupe that can also be driven every day.

To make it drivable and controllable in spite of the monstrously powerful V8, there’s the usual arsenal of aerodynamic and electronic aids.

The new car has 50 percent more downforce than the 458 Italia, but somehow less aero drag at the same time.

The nose of the car has deflectors to channel air towards the flat underbody, while the rear diffuser has active flaps. The tailpipes have been moved to accommodate an optimal diffuser shape, too, while Ferrari says there’s a “blown” spoiler at the tail, that generates downforce without producing drag.

Interestingly, the maximum torque figure is quoted as “760Nm at 3,000rpm in seventh gear”. That implies the gearbox has some say about how much muscle the engine is allowed to produce, to keep all that turbo torque from overwhelming the rear tyres.

The 488 GTB has a refined version of SSC, the “Side Slip Control” system that made its debut in the 458 Speciale. It provides better traction out of corners, and Ferrari says SSC2 is “less invasive” than the original setup.

MORE: Driving the 458 Speciale at Ferrari’s private test track

It controls the car’s E-Diff (a device that splits the power between the left and right rear wheels), the F1-Trac (the Formula One-derived traction control system) and for the first time, the active suspension dampers as well, to make cornering flatter and more stable.

All this adds up to a car that laps Ferrari’s private Fiorano test track in 1m 23s, the same as the flagship F12berlinetta and two seconds quicker than the legendary Enzo.

We’ll let you decide if you like the in-house design, which apparently pays tribute in places to the 308 GTB, the model that kicked off Ferrari’s mid-engined V8 lineage 40 years ago.

Inside, the 488 GTB makes use of the same driver-oriented control layout, but the graphics and interface of the infotainment screens have been completely redesigned. And there’s a new key whose design is inspired by the car’s cylinder banks. At last, it adds keyless operation, a function long missing from today’s Ferraris.

Still, that hasn’t hurt the brand’s performance here. Last year Ferrari was easily the top-selling supercar maker in Singapore. Lamborghini sold 10 cars here in 2014, and McLaren did better by a single unit.

Ferrari essentially wiped the floor with both, selling 31 cars here over the same period. After a global launch at the upcoming Geneva motor show, the 488 GTB should be available in Singapore by the latter half of 2015.. Would you bet against a repeat performance on the sales charts by Ferrari?

Ferrari 488 GTB – Technical specifications


Type                                                 V8 – 90° Turbo
Overall displacement            3902 cc
Maximum power *                       492 kW (670 CV) at 8000 rpm
Maximum torque *                           760 Nm at 3000 rpm in VII gear


Length                                         4568 mm
Width                                            1952 mm
Height                                           1213 mm
Dry weight**                                1370 kg
Weight distribution                   46.5% Front – 53.5% Rear


0-100 km/h                                       3.0 s
0 -200 km/h                                      8.3 s
Maximum speed                           > 330 km/h


11.4 l/100 km


260 g/km

* With  98 RON petrol
**With lightweight options
*** ECE+EUDC combined cycle with HELE system

about the author

Leow Ju-Len
Leow Ju-Len is a lot older than he behaves. He's been writing about cars for 23 years. Someday he might do it coherently. Ju-Len believes in world peace and V8s, but not necessarily in that order.