DRIVE ANY FERRARI and it is nigh-impossible not to gush performance. But when it’s the model that trumps other Ferrari road cars, then the gush becomes a downpour.
Such is the 488 GTB, with its mighty 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 that pumps out a record 126kW of specific power and 195Nm of specific torque per litre. Just days before our road test, the aforesaid power plant blitzed the prestigious International Engine of the Year Awards, winning overall as well as taking out several categories.
As with other new car reviews, we could talk about whole-of-ownership (practicality, warranty, servicing, equipment, fuel consumption, etc.),
but let’s cut to the chase – the drive experience.
It starts vividly the moment you slide behind the wheel and into the rib-wrapping driver’s seat, surrounded by a fusion of quality leather
(in virtually any colour you desire), state-of-the-art carbon fibre and gleaming aluminium.
Choose your drive mode with a twist of the Manettino switch; thumb the starter button and the flat plane crank V8 roars into life. Select first
in the seven-speed, dual clutch gearbox by tapping the right-hand paddle shift and the magic carpet ride begins.
With nil turbo lag, acceleration is phenomenal. Zero to 100km/h comes up in just 3.0 seconds and – should a runway or drag strip be handy – 0-200km/h flies
by in a staggering 8.3. Peak power and torque are 492kW @ 8000rpm and 760Nm @ 3000rpm (the latter vectored to peak in seventh gear only).
What speeds up must slow down, of course, and the six-caliper front and rear brakes provide linear bite and sustained stopping power.
Just 2.0 turns lock-to-lock makes for incisive steering. Grip and traction is prodigious – broad 20” rubber and quantum amounts of aero downforce see to that along with the F1-Trac (traction control), E-diff (electronic differential) and SSC2 (Side Slip Control 2) working in unison. The latter also controls the active dampers in delivering optimum cornering dynamics and the ride can be made agreeably compliant by enabling a Bumpy Road setting.
So, what we have here is the power – and the glory.
Paradoxically, this is a supercar that is as easy to drive slow as it is fast. Pootling around town while casting a sideways glance at your reflection in shop windows, the 488 surprises with its tractability and good manners.
The bad news? If you want a 488 GTB, you’re not alone – the waiting time for owner delivery stretches towards 2018.