When Ferrari engineers were tasked with creating a new mid-engine supercar to replace the already incredible Ferrari 458 Italia, they had to make the successor better than the Ferrari 458 Italia in every possible way, an almost impossible task considering the fact that the Ferrari 458 Italia is undoubtedly one of the best supercars of all time.
Outperforming the supernatural Ferrari 458 Speciale was also a priority of the project, and this meant that the Ferrari engineers needed better weight-saving techniques and a powerplant better than the naturally aspirated 4.5-liter V8. Despite having the goal of outperforming the Ferrari 458 Speciale, the new Ferrari 488 GTB was supposed to be a road-focused car instead of being a track-focused stripped-out variant.
The Ferrari 488 GTB was 1/2 a second faster than the Ferrari 458 Special around the Fiorano according to Ferrari, an uncompromised road-focused car as Ferrari wanted it to be. It was given Michelin Super Sport tires instead of the Cup 2 tires used for the Ferrari 458 Speciale. Cup 2 tires were specially developed to provide grip on dry weather conditions and the Michelin Super Sport tires are also on par with the Cup 2 tires and provides more traction in comparison.
The Ferrari 488 GTB is equipped with a new dry-sump 3.9-liter flat-plane-crank V8 with two IHI twin-scroll turbochargers with ball-bearing shafts that reduce friction by 30%. Despite the lower capacity of the engine compared to the 4.5-liter V8 of the Ferrari 458 Speciale, this engine delivers more power and more torque.
It also has a compression ratio of 9.4:1. The compressor wheels are made out of titanium aluminide, a material that has strong heat resistance capabilities, and it is lightweight, ensuring a faster turbo spool-up speed by 50% compared to Inconel and zero turbo lag according to Ferrari. This also rates the engine response time at 0.8 seconds at 2000rpm in third gear compared to the 0.6 second response time of the naturally aspirated V8 in the Ferrari 458 Speciale.
Despite slightly slower response time, the new engine delivers more longitudinal acceleration, 20% to 25% more in the lower gears, 30% more in the fifth and sixth, and 40% more in seventh. According to these calculations, the Ferrari 488 GTB’s engine would rev up to the 9000rpm rev limiter before most of the other cars responds.
Ferrari 458 Italia delivered 562 horsepower at 9000rpm and 398 lb-ft of maximum torque at 6000rpm. The Ferrari 458 Speciale delivered 597 horsepower at 9000rpm and 398 lb-ft of torque at 6000rpm.
Ferrari 488 GTB in comparison delivers a maximum power output of 661 horsepower at 8000rpm and 560 lb-ft of torque at 3000rpm. Not only the new engine is producing more torque and more horsepower, the maximum power, and maximum torque is delivered at relatively lower rpm levels.
The curb weight of the Ferrari 488 GTB is measured at 1475 kg, 10 kg lighter than the Ferrari 458 Italia, but 80 kg heavier than the Ferrari 458 Speciale. This weight gain is totally acceptable when considering the fact that the Ferrari 488 GTB is supposed to be a road-focused car instead of being a track-focused stripped-out variant like the Ferrari 458 Speciale.
The seven-speed F1 dual-clutch transmission downshifts and up-shifts faster than ever before with silky smooth precision. When the Sport mode is selected using the manettino, the gear ratio and response time become quicker and this allows the gear shifting experience smoother.
Just like the system in Ferrari California T, the Ferrari 488 GTB also uses variable torque maps, so the maximum torque of 560 lb-ft is available in seventh gear. There are individual maps for gears four to seven and only one map for the first three gears. This system is designed to provide lower and mid-range performance.
This variable torque vectoring system is capable of achieving astonishing results and according to Ferrari, the 0-62mph is achieved in just three seconds and the 0-124mph takes only 8.3 seconds. The top speed is over 205mph.
Lamborghini Aventador LP750-4 SV takes three-tenths of a second more to reach 0-124mph. It takes the last turbocharged Ferrari, the Ferrari F40 over two seconds.
Ferrari 488 GTB ran the Fiorano with a lap time of 1 minute and 23 seconds when compared to the 1 minute and 23.5 seconds of the Ferrari 458 Speciale. The Ferrari Enzo took 1 minute and 19.7 seconds. The Ferrari F40 took 1 minute and 29.6 seconds.
All these performance figures point out that the Ferrari 488 GTB is incredibly faster than the Ferrari 458 Italia and Speciale.
The acceleration rate and the way power delivered to achieve that acceleration is largely due to the turbocharger system. Despite the presence of turbochargers, there’s no turbo lag, and the torque swells very quickly and then the engine lets out a loud shrieking noise when revving in the last 2000rpm onwards. The throttle response of the car is also perfect but is considered a little softer when compared to the 4.5-liter V8 of the Ferrari 458 Speciale.
The CT-off mode disables the traction control and allows the Side Slip Control 2 to work as is optimum for better performance. The Side Slip Control 2 system is an evolution of the Side Slip Control system of the Ferrari 458 Speciale.
Just like the SSC system in the Ferrari 458 Speciale, the SSC 2 system in the Ferrari 488 GTB, the speed, steering angle, and various other factors are recorded and used to calculate a target slip angle that will balance the car in a lateral grip and forward thrust. This is done by manipulating the electronic differential or the E-Diff and stability control to provide better stability or agility as it is required to stay online. In case the driver is under-steering into a corner, the E-Diff will unlock to create some yaw to rebalance the car. When the driver over-steers too much the E-Diff will lock tight and the electronic stability control will gradually restrict the power output of the engine.
The SSC 2 system also utilizes magnetic dampers to help overcome under-steer and over-steer. In case the driver is wildly over-steering, the dampers will loosen off at the rear to enhance traction and stiffen the front to reduce the front-end grip. Even when the electronic stability control is disabled, the E-Diff and magnetic dampers still have the target side-slip in their vision and are calculated to keep the driver close to it. The SSC 2 system is astonishingly good.
The Ferrari 488 GTB is having perfect balance despite its terrifying deliverance of power. The engine revs up to 8000rpm redline and due to the torque management techniques, the power seems to grow in intensity rather than back away as the driver clicks the paddles for another gear. This is something that the Ferrari 458 Italia or Ferrari 458 Speciale couldn’t achieve despite being perfect in every possible way. This torque management system also allows the driver to drive the car more sensibly and to get most of the torque down cleanly without much aggression despite having much more torque at its disposal to cope with. The driver can show more aggression to get the car to act aggressively, so the driver can always have the upper hand in terms of power to grip ratio if he/she wants to.
Turning on the CT Off mode allows the driver to experience the car and to trust the car and feel what happens when he/she delivers all the power to the rear wheels. This allows the driver to feel the edge of the grip as the electronic stability control is also off, and they can play around that edge.
Ferrari claims that the Ferrari 488 GTB’s aero efficiency is way ahead of its time that if you plot where it parks on the previous trend line which joins Ferrari 360 Modena, Ferrari F430, and Ferrari 458 Italia, the Ferrari 400 GTB shouldn’t have arrived until 2021.
The Ferrari 488 GTB features new under-body curved vortex generators, active flaps on the rear diffuser that stall the air to reduce aerodynamic drag in a straight line, a blown rear spoiler, and a base bleed to ingest air through the top section of the huge side intakes and then blows it out through the vortex clinging to the rear of the car, also to make it more slippery. The end result of all these aerodynamic tricks is 50% more downforce when compared to the Ferrari 458 Italia, but less drag.
The active torque management gives the engine an exciting delivery that builds rapidly towards the maximum power rather than delivering a large amount of low-end torque. This also improves traction and allows for shorter gear ratios which result in improved acceleration.
The front suspension system consists of double wishbones, coil springs, adaptive dampers, and an anti-roll bar. The rear suspension system consists of multi-link, coil springs, adaptive dampers, and an anti-roll bar.
The brakes are carbon-ceramic discs, 398 mm in the front and 360 mm in the rear. ABS and EBD are also standard.
The wheels are forged alloy ones, 9×20 inch in the front and 11×20 in the rear. Michelin Super Sport 245/35 ZR20 in the front and 305/30 ZR20 in the rear.
With a curb weight of just 1475 kg, the power to weight ratio is now 455 horsepower per ton.