The 488 GTB is a big deal for Ferrari. Not only because the 458 Italia and Speciale have been so successful – and the latter a former eCoty winner – but because it marks a change of philosophy for the company’s mid-engined supercar. Gone is the naturally aspirated 4.5-litre V8 and in its place is a downsized, direct-injection 3902cc twin-turbocharged flat-plane-crank V8. It’s more efficient, but also massively more potent.
Ferrari could have dropped the ball by turbocharging the 488 GTB, but it has achieved the complete opposite and produced an automotive masterpiece. What the engine lacks in character compared with the outgoing V8 it makes up for with outrageous performance and such drivability that, no matter the gear you find yourself in or the speed you’re travelling, at no point does the 488 GTB make you wait even a nanosecond when you decide to call on all 661bhp and as much as 560lb ft of torque.
Its chassis is sublime, melding unexpected levels of comfort with unflappable control and crystal-clear communication as the pace quickens and you start to build up to exploiting the phenomenal performance on offer.
The 458 went out on a high with the Speciale, but in the new 488 GTB Ferrari has produced another hit straight out of the box, one that also provides huge promise and anticipation as to how the latest mid-engined Ferrari will evolve.
Buy one. Just buy one. The lure of Ferrari’s mid-engined supercar is as strong today as it was when the 355 was introduced nearly 20 years ago. Even in a world of magnificent McLarens, ludicrous Lamborghinis and potent Porsches, the fascination of Ferrari is more powerful than ever.
Whatever you think about Ferrari's move to turbocharging – and after experiencing the 3.9-litre V8, we can't complain that much – the company has undoubtedly done a fantastic job, with imperceptible lag and mighty performance. In fact, it's just won the overall International Engine of the Year award at Engine Expo 2016, along with victories in the Performance Engine, New Engine and 3-litre to 4-litre displacement categories. Make no mistake: It's a staggering bit of engineering.
‘There are moments of pure genius and I think the steering and chassis are simply fabulous. There is a shade more understeer than you’d find in a Speciale and such is the torque that oversteer can come in spikes if you don’t finesse your throttle inputs, but it’s still the adjustability that sets the Ferrari apart from the 650S and Huracán. Each of these supercars offers its own thrill, but the super-fluid, super-clinical McLaren and the locked-down Lamborghini never allow the driver into the experience as fully as the 488 GTB does.’ – Jethro Bovingdon, contributing editor (evo 211)