NEW 488 SEALS FERRARI’S SUPERCAR REPUTATION
Ferrari’s new 488 GTB has replaced the 458 Italia in the middle of the line-up, but is it a better car? Jack Evans finds out...
WHAT IS IT? A new Ferrari is a pretty big deal. This is the 488 GTB, the latest high-performance offering from Maranello and a car designed to try and eclipse the awe-inspiring 458 Italia.
That car was powered by a 4.5-litre naturally-aspirated V8. A true firecracker of an engine, it gave the 458 all the frenetic, tip-toe energy that you could want from an Italian supercar. The 488 GTB, in comparison, is powered by a 3.9-litre twin-turbocharged V8.
Moving to forced induction was a big move for Ferrari, especially given the reputation set by the 458. However, with 661bhp and 760Nm on tap, the 488 isn’t lacking in power.
LOOKS AND IMAGE Make no mistake, the 488 GTB is a pretty looking car. With air intakes sitting in just the right places and a supremely low ride height, it looks just as you would want a supercar to look. Granted, it lacks the out-there styling you’d find on a Lamborghini, but there’s little chance people won’t notice you in the 488.
Ferrari’s image remains impressively strong, with good residuals and reputation meaning that wherever you go, people will stop and stare. That’s no bad thing, but if you’re looking for a car that’ll take you under the radar, the 488 may not be the one for you.
SPACE AND PRACTICALITY Despite being a low, two-seater sports car, the 488 GTB offers a decent amount of practicality. There’s a boot in the nose of the car with a 230-litre capacity. It certainly provides enough room for two weekend bags, or a week’s worth of shopping – if you’re planning on taking your 488 to the supermarket.
Inside, there’s a cupholder and a tray for your keys and phone. There’s also a small glovebox, which gives you a little bit of space for smaller items. A Ferrari supercar is never going to be practical, but the 488 is easier to get along with than you’d expect.
BEHIND THE WHEEL Here’s where things get really interesting. In the low-slung driving position you feel perfectly set up. It isn’t often you get into a car and find yourself in the right place immediately, but that’s just what you get in the 488. With a large windscreen and slim pillars there’s an excellent view of the road ahead too, which makes it a little more comfortable to drive around – especially in towns.
Up and running, you immediately notice just how easy the 488 is to drive. Yes, the steering wheel mounted buttons are a little complicated – the lights, indicators and washers are operated here – but after you work that
out, it feels quite simple to whisk along. You could almost be fooled into thinking it normal – until you press the accelerator, that is.
The way the 488 gains pace is nothing short of ferocious, with each gear bringing with it another fierce wave of speed. Keep your foot in it, and you’ll sail past licence-worrying speeds without even realising.
Gearshifts are supremely quick, while the car’s throttle response puts any idea that turbocharging negatively affects performance out of your mind.
In figure terms, the 488 GTB will reach 60 in three seconds, and will carry on accelerating to a top speed of 205mph, which is fast in anyone’s book.
That incredible pace is well matched to a chassis that offers all the agility you could want and while the steering is quick, it makes for a car that eats up corner after corner.
You still need to be on your toes however, as the large rear tyres fitted to the 488 have a tendency to break traction quite easily.
Although fitted with cutting-edge traction control systems, the 488 still likes to remind you that it’s a Ferrari – and should be treated with respect.
VALUE FOR MONEY The 488 GTB retails for just under £185,000. However, few cars will actually cost this, as the options list is almost as impressive as the car’s performance. Even the trademark Ross Corsa paint, which our test car came in, costs a frankly remarkable £7,104.
However, when you contrast the car’s price with its exceptional engine, controls and looks, it very quickly starts to look worth the money. Certainly, if you found yourself driving a Ferrari 488 GTB, you wouldn’t worry about how much it cost – just how far you could drive it.
WHO WOULD BUY ONE? The 488 GTB is ideal for those who want a supercar with poise, pinpoint handling and addictive performance all wrapped up in a double-take body.
There’s no arguing that it’s expensive, but then cars in this category are. Ferraris have been held with high esteem throughout history, and it’s cars like the 488 GTB that keep this reputation going.
“THE WAY THE 488 GAINS PACE IS NOTHING SHORT OF FEROCIOUS, WITH EACH GEAR BRINGING WITH IT ANOTHER FIERCE WAVE OF SPEED. KEEP YOUR FOOT IN IT, AND YOU’LL SAIL PAST LICENCE-WORRYING SPEEDS WITHOUT EVEN REALISING.”