They just go together. And they went together exceptionally well in downtown Manhattan on Wednesday night when Ferrari threw a party and pulled the cover off its new 488 GTB supercar for the first time in North America.
The 488 is the successor to the 458, considered by many to be … well, the best damn car $US300,000 can buy.
The new car is the latest in a line of mid-engine machines from Maranello, dating back to the 308 GTB in the 1970s. In fact, Ferrari brought members of the GTB family to NYC for the event.
Like the 458, the 488 has a screaming V8 ensconced behind the driver’s head. But unlike the 458, the 488 is turbocharged. Not a first for Ferrari, but controversial. Even though, as North American President Edward Fenech noted, Ferrari has tons of turbo experience from Formula One racing, the 458 defined the state of the art for naturally aspirated V8s. It’s a big deal that Ferrari is moving on to new engineering — but better fuel economy.
But whatever. The new engine, developed in-house by Ferrari, generates 100 more horsepower than the 458’s V8. The 488 is lighter than its older brother, and with the extra power, can do 0-60 in 3.0 seconds. Critics of turbos who argue that you have to wait on the power are countered by Ferrari’s insistance that the 488 has “zero turbo lag.”
Frankly, with 660 horsepower and even more luscious torque than the 458 served up, the 488 is, frankly, insane. We haven’t heard it for real yet, but Ferrari made a video for the event, and the soundtrack was mainly screaming twin-turbo V8, a noise simultaneously sacred yet unholy. The 458’s V8 sounded like it had been ripped from an ancient place and barely domesticated. The new V8 sounds the same, but with a dose of the future thrown in.
The car also looks more futuristic, although it isn’t a massive departure from the 458. Essentially, it displays a bit more sculptural muscle, and has been designed to manage airflow better than the 458 (note the massive air ducts on the rear haunches). But its doesn’t look outlandishly exotic. The exquisite proportions of the 458 haven’t been messed with. When I first saw the 488 rendering, I thought it seemed kind of sci-fi. But in the flesh, that effect is less pronounced.
And yes, it looks magnificent in rosso corsa.
Let’s face it: these folks really know how to build a red car.
Ferrari also knows how to do drama. The automaker brought a musician playing a gigantic harp to the party and asked a quartet of extremely tall women in sinuous red gowns to do the honours of pulling the red cover off the new car.
It was basically fantastic. And now the real business begins: determining whether the 488 truly advances the lineage of brilliant mid-engine V8 Ferraris.