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‘Overwhelming demand’ for Ferrari 488 GTB

Ferrari Australia already holding full order book for faster, cheaper 488 GTB

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Ferrari logo29 Jul 2015

By TIM ROBSON

IT IS faster, stronger, slipperier and lighter… and it’s already sold out for two years.

The new Ferrari 488 GTB – the successor to the six-year-old 458 series – brings a turbocharged V8 to the berlinetta (coupe) body style for the first time in Australia, and it has not deterred customers in the least.

Priced at $469,888 plus on-road costs, the 488 comes in at some $55,000 less than the outgoing 458 Italia, which Ferrari Australasia president and CEO Herbert Appleroth puts down to currency and specification adjustments.

“Where we have the chance to give value back to a client, be it at mid-life or with a new model, of course that’s what we want to do,” he said.

“What we did with the 458 Italia was when there was a movement in the Australian dollar, it allowed us to add some value back to the client, and that’s exactly what we did we added $56,000 worth of options to the car.

“All we’ve done with the 488 GTB is give that back to the customer to go back and spend on the options that they want.”

Mr Appleroth said that the Australian version of the 488 is the highest-specced of any market in the world. It comes with electric front seats, satellite navigation, iPod connectivity, rear parking sensors, rearview camera and more.

Australian customers spend on average $65,000 extra to customise their cars, according to Mr Appleroth.

“The number one option take-up at this stage is probably the carbon steering wheel with the LED shift lights, as well as the Scuderia shields (badges) on the side of the car,” he said. “Every customer should have that unique experience and the chance to build their very own Ferrari.”

There is also a three-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, along with seven years of free scheduled servicing, offered with the 488.

A two-year waiting list already exists for the 488, with the first customer cars expected to arrive mid-way through 2016. More than 100 orders have been taken for the car, according to Mr Appleroth.

He acknowledged that there was some concern from the brand’s more loyal fans about the move to turbo power, but those fears would prove unfounded.

“Clients have said ‘oooh, I’m not so sure about a turbo’, but I think that’s about nostalgia, and that will certainly be removed the first time they drive the car,” Mr Appleroth told journalists at the 488’s unveiling in Sydney. “And we’ve still got two year’s worth of orders, and that’s before anyone has even driven the car.

“Whether it’s a turbo or whether it’s naturally aspirated, that isn’t the core message. Our engineers have been able to create a car that feels like a Ferrari. And it actually feels like a naturally aspirated car, with a very linear power band, while you don’t get maximum torque until the top of seventh gear.”

The 488 GTB (or Gran Turismo Berlinetta) is 85 per cent new, and follows in the wheeltracks of its mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive siblings.

A hotted-up version of the twin-turbo 3.9-litre V8 that powers the California T sportster is rated at 492Kw at 8000rpm, while 760Nm of torque is available at 3000rpm to push the 1475kg two-seater to 100km/h in three seconds flat, onto 200km/h in 8.3s and out to a top speed of 330km/h.

It is backed by a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox that’s operated via steering wheel paddles. Adaptive dampers and an electronic rear differential combine with uprated versions of Ferrari’s F1-Trac stability control and Side Slip Control systems, while its brakes are modelled off the items on the multi-million dollar LaFerrari.

“Everyone is aware of the advantages of turbocharging we’ve got 20 per cent more power and 15 per cent better economy over the class-leading 458 Italia, the most awarded Ferrari of all time,” said Mr Appleroth.

“(The reaction) is similar to what happened to Porsche when they went from air-cooled to water-cooled engines. It also means that the values of the 458 Italia and Speciale will be phenomenal, because there will be people that will say that is the last naturally aspirated V8 from Ferrari.”

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