2016 Ferrari 488 GTB: Turbo thriller Geneva-bound
Set to appear at the Geneva Auto Show, the 2016 Ferrari 488 GTB is the de facto replacement for the 458 Italia which is being phased out later this year. The striking Gran Turismo Berlinetta rolls onto the scene 40 years after the automaker's first mid-engine V-8, the iconic Ferrari 308 GTB. A major remake of the naturally aspirated mid-engine 458 Italia, the new 488 GTB matches dramatic styling and enhanced dynamic capability with a new twin-turbocharged V8.
While the same 3.9-liter size as the force-fed engine in Ferrari's front-engine California T model, the 488 GTB's V8 - in which each cylinder displaces 488 cubic centimeters - is a new design that reportedly shares few common components. Although smaller than the 4.5-liter in the 458 Italia, it's more potent, making 660 horsepower and 561 lb-ft of peak torque in top gear compared to the 597/398 output of the top 458 Speciale variant. Motive force for this rival of the new McLaren 675LT heads to the rear wheels via paddle-shifted 7-speed dual-clutch automatic that gains Variable Torque Management, similar to the setup in the California T. Weighing 45 pounds less than a 458 Italia, the 3,020-pound 488 GTB streaks from 0-62 mph in 3.0 seconds and can hit 125 mph in just 8.3 ticks en route to a 205 mph top speed.
Ferrari used data culled from its Formula One, World Endurance Championship and exclusive "XX" limited-production track-only test model programs to fine-tune the aerodynamic, electronic and suspension systems of the new 488 GTB. Penned at the Ferrari Styling Center, the 488 GTB's aero-optimized exterior is specifically contoured to efficiently channel air around and under the body. In addition to a double-profile front spoiler that helps improve thermal efficiency of the radiators and full underbody fairings, the car sports large functional side scoops that pay homage to those found on the original 308. The tail also features some clever design flourishes, including a spoiler that generates downforce without increasing drag and a more efficient rear diffuser with active flaps. Collectively, the efforts yield a 50-percent increase in downforce compared to the 458. Chassis revamps on the 488 GTB are highlighted by a new version of Ferrari's Side Slip Control system. Called SSC2, the setup is more precise and less invasive than the Gen I package and allows greater longitudinal acceleration out of corners. Still teamed with the car's F1-Trac and E-Diff systems, the SSC2 now also integrates with the 488 GTB's active damping system to ensure better body control and greater stability in transitions.
The 488 GTB's performance-focused cabin shares basic themes with the 458 Italia, including separate dash and console elements, flat-bottom multifunction steering wheel with Manettino rotary controller and torso-hugging bucket seats. Changes include recast air vents, new satellite control clusters and a more legible, user-friendly interface on the infotainment display. Even the ignition key, which features a design inspired by the engine's cylinder banks, has been redone to allow for keyless starting.
Heading into production in late summer, the 2016 Ferrari 488 GTB is expected to arrive in showrooms here shortly thereafter. Pricing will be announced near its official on-sale date. Also expect Ferrari to introduce an open-air GTS Spider version as well.
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