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2016 Ferrari 488GTB - 458 Replacement




I know this isn't a video of a 488GTB but bear with me. This is a video by Motor Trend of a 2010 Ferrari 458 Italia. It shows a very brief review and hot lapping at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca during the 2011 Best Driver's Car (BDC) feature. Play the video, skip to 0:42 and listen. Once you get to about 1:00, you should rewind back to 0:42 and let it play again to 1:00. I did that a few times. That's what the Ferrari 458 Italia sounds like, with a screaming 4.5 litre V8 that revs all the way to 9,000 rpm, where it produces peak aural pleasure and power. Rev matching downshifts are awesome. What an engine. What a noise. Sadly, the replacement of the Ferrari 458 will almost certainly not sound like that. 




The 488 GTB will replace the 4.5 litre V8 with a 3.9 litre V8 that makes peak power at 8,000 rpm and will probably redline at the same point like the last one, which would mean a drop of 1,000 rpm. A pair of turbochargers ensure what's left of that high pitched noise is muffled and that F1-like noise is guaranteed to go the way of the actual F1 noise when they went turbo. What a shame. Check out a similar video above, this time showing a brief review of a 2012 McLaren MP4-12C and hot lapping at Laguna Seca during the 2012 BDC feature. Skip to about 0:48. That engine is very similar to what Ferrari is doing; almost the exact same size (3.8 litre), V8, twin turbocharged, with a flat-plane crankshaft and revs to over 8,000 rpm. If you want to know what the next Ferrari will sound like, this will probably give you a very good (but disappointing) idea.




It isn't all gloomy, though. The turbos, as always, bring a nice dose of torque. While horsepower gets a healthy 64 hp bump from 597 hp in the 458 Speciale to 661 hp, torque gets a huge 163 lb-ft jump from 398 lb-ft to 561 lb-ft. That torque is available at a low 3,000 rpm as opposed to 6,000 rpm in the 458, once again courtesy of the turbos.




Ferrari quotes a lap time around Fiorano of 1:23.0 which is only 0.5 seconds quicker than the 458 Speciale A. I'm surprised it's that small a difference with more peak power and a lot more power throughout the rpm range but it should also translate to a much wider gap on a longer track. Both cars will get to 62 mph in 3.0 seconds but that's mostly traction limited. As speeds increase, the newfound power starts to show, though, as the 488GTB gets to 124 mph in only 8.3 seconds and eventually tops out at 205 mph vs 9.5 seconds for the 458 with a top speed of "only" 202 mph.




Outside, the car looks like an evolution of the 458. The new car boasts 50% more downforce while reducing drag. Weight distribution stands at 46.5%/53.5% front-to-rear which seems to come closer to the neutral 50%/50% than typical mid engine cars. Ferrari quotes a dry weight of 3,020 lbs which is 22 lbs lighter than they quote for the standard 458 Italia. As is typical of European dry weight stats, though, they are far from street trim. The lightest 458 Italia Car and Driver tested came in at 3,325 lbs in road-ready trim and I suspect the 22 lbs "dry" weight advantage of the 488GTB would disappear is street ready trip after the intercooler is filled and (probably) larger radiator.




Inside, the 488GTB looks very similar to the 458 and stays true to Ferrari's minimalistic and driver-focused styling. There's still no touch screen or column stalks. The steering wheel handles just about everything you would expect column stalks to do, such as lights, wipers, and turn signals, in addition to the damper setting, engine start, and Ferrari’s manettino chassis-control switch.




I'm sure this will still wow reviewers and will probably be an excellent example of the turbocharged breed, delivering linear power delivery and smooth throttle response. Still, when the most track capable Mustang got replaced, (i.e. the Boss 302 getting replaced by the GT350), the new car stayed naturally aspirated and even increased capacity going from a 5.0 litre V8 to a 5.2 litre so there's something to be said for that. But then again, Ford went with a twin-turbo V6 on the halo car, the Ford GT, so maybe we can't blame Ferrari. Either way, I'm looking forward to how well this is received. I suspect the 458 Italia will, one day, become incredibly sought after, being the last screaming, naturally aspirated, mid-engined and non-hybrid Ferrari.


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