Supercar Experience, The Ferrari 488 GTB

It was in 1965 when Ferrari launched its first mid-rear-engined V8 model. Forty years on from the 308 GTB, the Prancing Horse is ready to unveil its latest 8-cylinder creation. “The 488 GTB provides track-level performance that can be enjoyed to the full even by non-professional drivers” says Ferrari, which has promised a high performance supercar.

The 488 GTB’s 3.9 litre V8 engine and two turbochargers is a significant improvement on its predecessor, the Ferrari 458 Speciale. Despite being over half a liter smaller than the unit of the 458, the 488 GTB nonetheless produces an enormous 661bhp, representing an increase of nearly 100bhp all the while reducing carbon emissions by 15% on its forebear.

Such impressive results are the fruits of a decade’s research by Ferrari technicians working on the XX programme. Data yielded on the famous Fiorano test track have significantly contributed to the kind of refined electronic and vehicle control systems that have seen Ferrari win the last two editions of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

This is hardly surprising given that their efforts have yielded such vastly improved results including the 488 GTBs acceleration of 0-124mph in 8.3 seconds, nearly a second quicker than the 458 Speciale. With its new 3902 cc V8 turbo engine breaking all previous company records for power output, torque and response times, the 488 GTB is capable of lapping the Fiorano track in just one minute 23 seconds, hitting top speeds of more than 205mph.

It is no coincidence that this is Ferrari’s highest performing car yet. Careful attention to detail has paid dividends: from the car’s second generation Side Slip Angle Control and active dampers for extra driving precision to its gearbox fitted with Variable Torque Management for a smoother drive, Ferrari have not left a single stone un-turned.

The car’s aerodynamics are equally important in the Ferrari 488 GTBs performance. The 488 GTB enjoys greater airflow due to its flat under-body which works in conjunction with an array of active flaps and spoilers to produce 50 per cent more down-force than the previous model while reducing drag.

The 488 GTB is also 10kg lighter than the 458 Italia, with an overall dry weight of 1370kg, yet its frame is fractionally longer and wider, allowing for a more spacious interior complete with new satellite control clusters, angled air vents and instrument panel. The cockpit is carefully tailored around the driver for optimum user experience.

The 488 GTB will be officially unveiled to eager members of press and factions of automotive enthusiasts at next month’s Geneva Motor Show. At present, it performs well against its internal predecessors but the real test will come from its external competitors in the shape of the McLaren 675 LT across the exhibition hall.