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...

Belfast Telegraph - NI Carfinder - - Front Page - BY JACK EVANS

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.


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