The Ferrari 488 GTB appears to check all the boxes for supercar fans: beauty, speed and exclusivity. But what about sound? The red-painted heart of a Ferrari has always been its engine, and its high-revving beat has been integral to its primal appeal. But between power-hungry rivals and emissions regulations, Ferrari is being nudged toward modern trends: The 488 GTB ditches the traditional free-breathing engine for a twin-turbocharged version that’s more powerful than ever—but also threatens to muffle those glorious lungs. Not to fear, Ferrari insists: Engineers in Maranello, Italy, where the company is headquartered, worked overtime to make the engine rev to decibels unexpected in a turbo. Base price: $242,737. Contact: ferrari.com
The turbo engine can’t match the shrieking 9,000-rpm heights of its predecessor, but 8,000 rpm is still lofty territory for a turbocharged engine. Most drivers won’t mind—not when a squeeze of the throttle launches their Ferrari to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds, to 124 mph in 8.3 seconds and to a peak beyond 205 mph.
An artful flat-bottomed steering wheel incorporates carbon-fiber shift paddles, a red start button and the signature yellow prancing pony. It also features the car’s nerve center: the Manettino, a red toggle switch that controls settings for the engine, F1 dual-clutch transmission, suspension and more.
Cast in the same foundry as the company’s Formula One engines, the 3.9-liter twin-turbo V8 generates a boggling 660 horsepower and a mammoth 560 pound-feet of torque at just 3,000 rpm. That’s 98 more horses and 40 percent more torque than the 458 Italia’s much-larger V8, yet the engine consumes 14 percent less fuel.
The 488 GTB’s curves flow organically from the car’s hyper-functional design: A smoothly integrated “blown spoiler” eliminates the need for a clumsy-looking rear wing by directing air through a central channel. Microchip-controlled veins in the rear diffuser adjust to reduce drag and increase downforce.
The stability systems derived from Formula One crunch data like a roomful of MIT whiz kids. They calculate precisely how much power the Ferrari can apply to the road and dial things back when a driver gets in over his head. Magnetic shock absorbers add “side-slip control” from the LaFerrari supercar, measuring the 488 GTB’s angle of attack in real time and adjusting it based on a database of its driver’s habits and behavior.