by John Tallodi
The 488GTB may look like a subtle upgrade from its admittedly already very accomplished predecessor, but beneath that swoopy bodywork are significant changes that make the 488GTB one of the very best mid-engined supercars currently on the market.
You sit low in the 488, the standard seats offer good lateral support and while there are a whole host of available options to customize the interior, even the base materials used are of a high quality.
Gone are the days of plasticky dashboards and minor controls and switches raided from the Fiat parts-bin, the buttons and switchgear all feel like quality items too. The steering wheel mounted indicator buttons are a bit fiddly to work but the rest of the controls are intuitively placed.
Visibility is good when looking forward but as is common with this engine layout, rearward visibility is very compromised. Cargo space too is not overly generous but there is space in the front trunk for a couple of smaller soft bags, the space is utilized best if combined with Ferrari’s own luggage set.
Having such a single-minded reason for being the 488GTB would be excused if it performed poorly outside the confines of a race track. In fact, the advanced suspension setup and adaptive dampers make for a firm riding yet compliant ride in the city while still being capable of transforming it into an uncompromising sportscar on the right roads.
The quick steering rack takes some getting used to but provides razor-sharp responses once you do get acclimatized to it. The traction control systems are essential to reign in all of the available power and they intervene in a very unobtrusive manner. In all, the 488GTB is a masterclass in handling dynamics.
The 488GTB comes fitted with a 3.9-liter twin-turbocharged V8 which delivers 661 horse power and 561 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels. A 7-speed dual-clutch transmission is standard and provides almost seamless acceleration, 0-60 mph is claimed to take 3.0-seconds but it is the quarter mile time of 10.45-seconds that really demonstrates how powerful this car is.
The electronics have been tuned to minimize turbo-lag and while this new motor does not rev to the redline with the same sort of alacrity as the old 4.5-liter naturally aspirated unit did, it is a big step up in every other measurable performance metric. The mid-range acceleration in particular is instantaneous and it matches or eclipses just about any other mid-engined rival around.
The 488GTB comes in one well equipped trim level. Standard items include cruise control, keyless ignition, rear parking sensors, climate control, leather sport seats, heated exterior mirrors, Audio system with satellite radio compatibility and USB connection and 20-inch alloy wheels with Carbon ceramic brakes.
The range of available customization options is vast, there is a selection of 21 exterior and 15 interior colors as well as Carbon fiber inlays, sill covers, powered racing seats, diamond pattern leather trim or Alcantara interior details. Bespoke color and trim options can also be requested.
A Carbon fiber Racing Package includes a number of aero-changes such as splitters, sills and air ducts all finished in Carbon fiber.
There are also some more conventional options such as Apple CarPlay connectivity, premium audio system, electrochromatic rearview mirror, Titanium sport exhaust pipes, and a Ferrari telemetry system to choose from.
The 2017 Ferrari 488 GTB remains the benchmark in an increasingly talented field of competitors, it offers immense thrust from its turbocharged engine and combines this with superb chassis control and effortless braking ability. A very quick steering rack takes some acclimatization and the ride is firm but still commendable for such a performance machine.
Few competitors can offer such a range of talents while still making the driver feel totally in control, even when pushing the very high limits that the 488 is capable of.