Meet the turbocharged Ferrari 488 GTB

This is Ferrari’s replacement for the 458 Italia, the 488 GTB. And, in a move that will surprise no-one but still have armchair purists up in arms, it has a turbocharged engine.

The Ferrari 488 GTB is by no means the first turbocharged Ferrari; the legendary 288 GTO and F40 got there first 30 years ago, and the California T was launched last year. But, crucially, this is first mid-engined, V8 Ferrari with a turbo’d engine.

But what an engine it is. On paper, at least, it looks like a masterpiece. The 3,902cc, twin-turbo V8 unit produces 661bhp at 8,000rpm; not as high as the stratospheric 9,000rpm the 458 redlined at, but sky-high or a turbo motor. And yet, it twists out a stump-pulling 561lb/ft of torque from just 2,000rpm.

These are numbers that don’t usually go together. They do thanks to Variable Torque Management, a system in the gearbox that delivers as much torque as possible across the rev range and provides “incredibly progressive” acceleration when the throttle is floored is specific gears.

All this cleverness adds up to a 0-124mph time of 8.3 seconds and a lap of Ferrari’s Fiorano test track in 1 minute 23 seconds. Ferrari hasn’t quoted a 0-62mph time or a top speed, but expect the former to be less than three seconds, and the later to be around 210mph.

To keep all the power and speed in check, the 488 GTB uses electronic and driver control systems developed in the XX programme. Among them is the second-generation Side Slip Control 2, which actively aids the driver in performing monster powerslides. The aerodynamics have been retuned as well, the car generating 50 per cent more downforce and less drag.

That’s achieved with a double front spoiler, base bleed side intakes, active aero at the rear with a blown spoiler and an aerodynamic underbody with vortex generators. Ferrari promises track-level performance that can be properly enjoyed on the road, even by, shall we say, less experienced drivers.

Other styling changes draw a link to LaFerrari, particularly in the headlights and front intakes; the deeply scalloped side intakes hark back to the first mid-engined, V8 Ferrari, the 1975 308 GTB; the rear has been reprofiled with new lights and vents; and the interior has been facelifted.

We haven’t addressed the elephant in the room yet, the biggest objection a lot of people have to the very concept of a turbocharged, V8 Ferrari: noise. The 458 has one of the finest vocal ranges of any car, from a guttural bellow low down in the rev range, to an operatic shriek at the redline. Ferrari says its engineers have “Dedicated great attention to perfecting the sound, creating a new soundtrack that is full, clear and totally distinctive.” As you can hear in the video posted below, it has lost some of the top-end histrionics, replaced with a more bassy growl. It’s still glorious, though.

The 488 GTB looks like as big an improvement on the 458 as that was on the 430. It develops 100bhp more than the Italia and 60bhp more than the searing Speciale, widely regarded as one of the greatest Ferraris of recent years.

The Ferrari 488 GTB will make its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March. Full pricing and specs will be revealed nearer the launch in summer.

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