Forty years on from the unveiling of Ferrari’s first ever mid-rear-engined V8 Berlinetta, the 308 GTB, the Prancing Horse opens a new chapter in its 8-cylinder history. The Ferrari 488 GTB’s name marks a return to the classic Ferrari model designation with the 488 in its moniker indicating the engine’s unitary displacement, while the GTB stands for Gran Turismo Berlinetta.
The new Ferrari 488 GTB not only delivers unparalleled performance, it also makes that extreme power exploitable and controllable to an unprecedented level even by less expert drivers. An exceptional engine and sophisticated aerodynamics combined with refined vehicle dynamic controls radically improve the already razor-sharp responsiveness of Ferrari’s road cars to near-track level.
Power (670Cv), engine and vehicle response times (0.8 s and 0.06 s respectively) give the Ferrari 488 GTB a unique character and guarantee unmatched driving pleasure to drivers of all abilities.
To achieve this result, Ferrari drew on its experience in both F1 and GT racing, in which the 458 holds the WEC title and has won its category in two editions of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Ferrari 488 GTB’s all-new 3902cc V8 turbo is at the top of its class in terms of power output, torque and response times. It delivers 670Cv at 8,000rpm and a response time to the accelerator of just 0.8 seconds (at 2,000rpm in third gear), making it the new benchmark for this kind of architecture, thanks in part to innovative work carried out on the turbine to reduce friction and inertia. Ferrari’s engineers dedicated great attention and resources to perfecting the car’s sound too, creating a new soundtrack that is full, clear, progressive and totally distinctive, as expected from any Prancing Horse engine.
Aerodynamics made a pivotal contribution to performance: The car’s 1.67 E index figure is a new record for a production Ferrari, and is the fruit of 50 per cent more downforce than the previous model along with lower drag. The greatest challenge was achieving these two goals simultaneously. Several innovative elements were specifically developed for this purpose, not least a double front spoiler, base bleed side intakes and, at the rear, active aerodynamics coupled with a revolutionary, Ferrari-patented blown spoiler design. The design of the sophisticated aerodynamic underbody is derived from the 458 GT and incorporates vortex generators.
Thanks to subsystems and electronic controls that make its power and performance instantly available and controllable, the Ferrari 488 GTB is the most responsive production model there is, with blisteringly-fast response times comparable to those of a track car. Specific gear ratios combined with Variable Torque Management deliver incredibly fast shifts and acceleration, with progressively greater torque values in higher gears. The evolved version of Ferrari’s side slip angle control system (Side Slip Control 2 - SSC2) is 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 renders the car’s dynamic behaviour during complex manoeuvres even flatter and more stable.
These cutting-edge solutions are reflected in the car’s styling which accentuates its sporty character yet retains the pure, elegant lines typical of Ferrari tradition. The cockpit-style cabin design is inspired by Formula 1 and focuses on fully immersing the driver in the driving experience.
Regardless of the model or its mission, the heart of every Ferrari is its engine which must, of course, deliver the classic Ferrari power unit qualities: blistering performance combined with high revs, razor-sharp responsiveness, powerful acceleration at all speeds and an exhilarating soundtrack. The new V8 sported by the Ferrari 488 GTB is the Maranello engineers’ latest response to the challenge to constantly set new benchmarks of excellence.
Mechanical efficiency is guaranteed by an oil pump that supplies oil either at high pressure or low pressure, reducing hydraulic power requirements by up to 30 per cent compared to a conventional pump. Cylinder heads with roller finger followers reduce the power absorbed by the valvetrain by 10 per cent at low revs thanks to the reduction of friction between the valve stems and the tappets and the aerodynamic solutions derived from Maranello’s experience on the track augment downforce without increasing drag, resulting in an efficiency figure of 1.67, a record for a road-homologated Ferrari. Downforce is 50 per cent higher than on the previous model despite drag being reduced.
The front of the car is dominated by the central Aero Pillar and an F1-inspired double spoiler. The latter consists of two sections: the top element is designed to work in conjunction with the duct to manage the flow of air going into the radiator, thereby improving its efficiency. The larger, lower section generates suction which pulls the air flow towards the lower part of the underbody, generating downforce.
To turn the Ferrari 488 GTB’s extreme power into unadulterated driving pleasure regardless of conditions, Ferrari drew on the vehicle dynamics experience it has built up in competition and through its laboratory cars on the various circuits worldwide.
The gearbox features specific ratios to make the most of the engine’s incredible torque. Variable Torque Management delivers increasing amounts of torque up through the gearbox to optimise acceleration and give the driver a feeling of never-ending power. As a direct result of these solutions, the 488 delivers track-style gear-shifting: it takes just 6 seconds to go from standstill in first to the limiter in fourth gear.
The Ferrari 488 GTB’s exceptional sportiness and performance are underscored by particularly aggressive styling. The design is aerodynamically highly efficient yet retains the classically clean, pure lines typical of Ferrari’s legendary styling.
Designed by the Ferrari Styling Centre, the Ferrari 488 GTB features very sculptural flanks which are the key to its character. Its large signature air intake scallop is a nod to the original 308 GTB and is divided into two sections by a splitter.
The Ferrari 488 GTB’s cabin was designed to exude extreme sportiness without sacrificing occupant comfort. This heightens the impression of a cockpit tailored around the driver’s needs: the commands not clustered on the steering wheel are on the wraparound satellite pods which are angled directly towards the driver. The new lighter, horizontally more compact dashboard features ultra-sporty air vents inspired by military jet air intakes.
The central tunnel is sleek, dynamic and functional at once. The characteristic longitudinal F1 bridge has become a Prancing Horse icon and, in practical terms, frees up plenty of storage space for small items while the main function buttons are now in a more ergonomic position. Meticulous attention was lavished on the various odds and ends compartments which provide generous storage space. The Ferrari 488 GTB’s new door panels are the fruit of meticulous work that centred around quality and attention to detail. They are now more comfortable to the touch and the armrest is more ergonomic. The design is very clean and sporty while the buttons are very easy to reach.
Great thought also went into the new seats which have fixed headrests. They are even lighter and offer extremely high containment while being very comfortable, thanks to new profiles and padding designed for long journeys.
The Ferrari 488 GTB also boasts a new Sport infotainment system with the display still part of the instrument cluster in the driver’s line of sight, following the cockpit’s philosophy of ergonomic and aesthetic integration with the various functionalities immediately to hand.
The Ferrari 488 GTB’s new key was inspired by the shape of the V8’s intake plenums and features keyless start. The key incorporates a chip which communicates wirelessly with the car’s ECU, allowing the car to be started or turned off simply by pressing the “Start/Stop Engine” button on the steering wheel with the key still in the driver’s pocket or in the special storage area on the tunnel.
Ferrari’s unparalleled quality standards and increasing focus on client service underpin the extended seven-year maintenance programme offered with the Ferrari 488 GTB. Available across the entire range, it covers all regular maintenance for the first seven years of the car’s life. —[email protected]
Type V8 - 90° Turbo
492 kW (670 CV)
at 8000 rpm
760 Nm at 3000 rpm
in VII gear
0-100 km/h 3.0 s
0 -200 km/h 8.3 s
> 330 km/h