The electronic slip angle system used for slides around a racetrack has been improved. In addition to controlling the locking rate of the diff, it now also instantly adjusts the shock rates to help the driver keep it in a power-induced oversteer drift. In such a slide, the front shocks stiffen and the rears loosen themselves off. When setting up a race car, stiffening the front end will normally create understeer, but if the rear of the car is sliding, changing the front to be more rigid will move the balance to the rear to give better grip. The really clever new system from the engineers at Ferrari means their system can change and adapt while the car is sliding about.
Those same engineers resisted changing the steering from hydraulic to electric, despite the efficiencies that could be made. It is still alive and has exquisite feel while giving a most immediate connection to the road.
We haven’t even mentioned the styling of the car yet, because it’s so subjective. Viewed directly from the front, or from a distance, the 488 looks remarkably similar to the 458 it’s replacing, especially as the distinctive headlights look so familiar. But walk around it slowly and the differences become more obvious. Personally, I like the extra edginess compared with the 458. The huge side scoops give it added menace, and help move it away from the delicate and pretty car that it replaces. The extra creases and detailing ABOVE - Each 488 comes with its own build plate detailing the options added. RIGHT - Stu Owers, raising the sartorial standards of the magazine. BELOW - Subtle creases on the bonnet help manage the air flow.