Extra muscle power for Italian stallion
Ferrari has unveiled a more extreme version of its 458 in the form of the 488 GTB
FOLLOWING a fourdecade legacy of Ferrari’s first mid-engine V8 model, the 308 GTB, the latest model to wear the fabled GTB moniker is the 458-based 488 GTB.
It takes the 458-based model to a whole new level as it promises to provide track-level performance that can be fully exploited by most drivers. The new model also exploits the know-how gleaned by Ferrari technicians over the past decade through the XX programme which makes extreme track-only cars available to test drivers. The data yielded has made it possible for the electronics and driver aids to be adapted for maximum control in most hands as opposed to only being accessible to more professional drivers.
The design may not have the universal appeal of the gorgeous 458, but is still purposeful with just the right quotas of style and panache to make it stand out from the crowd.
Designed by the Ferrari Styling Centre, the new car features sculpted flanks which are the key to its character. Its large signature air intake edging is a 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 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 solutions, including an innovative blown spoiler which generates 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.
Moving inwards, the new remote control clusters, angled air vents and instrument panel are all tailored around the driver. Useability is said to have been the key brief in the design, yet it all has a sporty ambience without compromising on comfort. There are plenty of classic Ferrari styling elements too, such as the clear separation between the dashboard and tunnel, the multifunction steering wheel, the control switch and wraparound seats. The graphics and interface of the infotainment screen have also been redesigned while the design of the car’s new key takes its inspiration from the vehicle’s cylinder banks and allows keyless starts.
While the model is loosely based on the 458, the 488 GTB will feature a new turbocharged 3.9l V8 engine instead of the normally aspirated V8. The new engine will muster 492kW at 8,000r/min and 760Nm at 3,000r/min. All that power is shuffled to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. Performance, as you will expect, is impressive with a claimed 0100km/h time of 3.0 seconds and 200km/h dispatched in 8.3 sec- onds. A top speed of 330km/h puts it right up there with the best of them. It is also said to lap the company’s proving ground that is the Fiorano track in Maranello, Italy in one minute 23 seconds.
Being turbocharged, the engineers have factored into the gearbox something called Variable Torque Management, which is said to aid in delivering torque in a more progressive manner right across the rev range. In addition they have paid attention to perfecting the model’s engine sound, one that is clear and distinctive, as expected from the marque.
The car’s aerodynamics have also made a pivotal contribution to performance. As a result 50% more downforce has been added to the vehicle, all the while reducing the drag coefficient. The greatest challenge was achieving these two goals simultaneously. Several innovative 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, which incorporates vortex generators, was also incorporated to the design.
As mentioned, many of the driver aids have been tailored to assist the driver in extracting the best performance. For instance, The rear is all about aerodynamics and downforce. the side slip angle control system (Side Slip Control 2 — SSC2) is said to be more precise and less invasive, providing greater longitudinal acceleration out of corners. Aside from integrating with the car’s F1-Trac and E-Diff, the SSC2 now also controls the active dampers which assists the car’s dynamic behaviour during cornering, giving a feeling of a flatter and more stable vehicle.
While the model is yet another modern turbocharged model following the California T, there is a great deal of promise in the onpaper credentials of the higher and more accessible performance on offer, not to mention the efficiency, too. The model will make its world debut at the International Geneva International Motor Show next month where more details and production run figures will likely be divulged.
The 488 GTB has more extreme styling than the beautiful 458 on which it is based.
The interior, left, has a number of changes in the 488.