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Driven: Turbo panic over, says Ferrari

V8 mates: Ferrari’s force-fed V8 is rolling out to more models and gaining fans along the way.

Ferrari’s proliferating turbocharged engine range winning over the skeptics


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26 Sep 2016

FERRARI Australasia is confident that the initial concern caused by the arrival of turbocharged engines in its ranks has been quashed, with naysayers appeased by the mighty twin-turbo V8’s performance, versatility and, crucially, sound.

Prancing horse aficionados first raised concerns that forced induction applied to the company’s downsized V8 would soften its responsiveness and noise when the California T introduced the new engine, but with the arrival of the third V8 turbo model, the car-maker says the panic has passed.

Speaking at the first Australian drive of the new 488 Spider, Ferrari Australasia president and CEO Herbert Appleroth told GoAuto that the 3.9-litre V8 had earned respect among fans with 492kW, 760Nm and a soundtrack that honours the prancing horse.

“I think that’s over now,” he said. “That was the initial reaction when we made the announcement firstly with California T. There was an initial ‘wow okay Ferrari is going that way what’s going to happen?’ And we proved everyone wrong.

“We’ve turned the turbo world on its head and produced the world’s best turbo.

The 488 has gone beyond that and what people think of turbocharging and set a new benchmark.”

When it launched under the bonnet of the California T in 2014, the F154 BB engine brought 412kW but that output has increased for the mid-engined 488 twins, and Mr Appleroth explained that induction was of little importance to customers as long as the power and experience are true to the brand.

“It doesn’t matter how we get our power, how we get our torque delivery or what technology we use. It’s a Ferrari engine turbo or non-turbo, it doesn’t really matter.”

In addition to the California T, 488 GTB and 488 Spider, the twin-turbocharged V8 has also been announced for a second version of the GTC4Lusso alongside the existing V12 version.

The order books would appear to support Mr Appleroth’s theory with potential customers faced with a two year wait for a 488 GTB or Spider and greater demand for the company’s mid-engined model than ever before.

For now, the 488 range will be limited to the GTB coupe and Spider, but if the model follows the evolution of previous midship V8 Ferrari’s then even sharper versions are on the way.

In the case of the 488’s predecessor, the 458 was offered as a limited Speciale, while the 430 before that was offered in Scuderia trim and Mr Appleroth highlighted the absence of such a variant in the relatively new 488 stable.

“Who knows? We are always trying to excite our clients. That’s not a product in our current range. We have 488 GTB and 488 Spider, we can’t keep up with demand there so let’s see. We are always looking forward to exciting the fans and the owners of the future”.

Powertrains for both 488 variants are identical with grunt sent to the road via the rear wheels and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The company’s Variable Torque Management limits peak torque in lower gears but progressively opens the taps in higher cogs for a more linear acceleration.

Acceleration to 100km/h from zero takes 3.0 seconds for both variants, but the lighter coupe manages 200km/h faster than the Spider in 8.3s versus 8.7s, and is also the top speed champion of the pair with a v-max of 330km/h compared with the convertible’s 325km/h best effort.

Ferrari has provided a digital turbo information display which enables drivers to monitor performance such as boost pressure and turbo response time. Throttle response time is 0.8 seconds according to the car-maker.

Pricing for the 488 GTB coupe starts at $469,988 before on-road costs but customers willing to stump the extra $56,900 to step up to the $526,888 get a Retractable Hard Top (RHT) that can be opened or closed in 14 seconds for alfresco motoring.

Despite its stowable roof, Ferrari says the Spider has lost none of the coupe’s stiffness and is 23 per cent stiffer than the 458 Spider that it succeeds.

Ferrari says its solution is 25kg lighter than a more conventional fabric roof.

An electrically retractable rear window can be set at three different heights for boosting ventilation when the roof is closed, reducing cabin wind when the top is up and a better appreciation of the V8 soundtrack under all circumstances.

Eleven different types of aluminium have been used to develop the 488’s spaceframe construction which supports an all-new body with up to a 50 per cent increase in downforce and a kerb weight of 1525kg.

Weight distribution is toward the tail-happy with a 42:58 front to rear split, while magnetorheological dampers and the latest version of the Side Slip Angle Control (SSC2) enable drivers to to enjoy the 488’s handling close to the limit of traction.

Wheels are 20-inch as standard and wear 305/30 Pirelli P Zero rubber at the rear, while the bespoke tyres measure 245/35 at the front end.

Like all Ferraris, the 488 Spider is equipped with carbon-ceramic brakes measuring 398mm at the front and 360mm at the rear, and are a direct transplant from the mighty LaFerrari hyper hybrid.

Fuel consumption is rated at 11.4 litres per 100km while producing 260g of CO2 per kilometre.

Standard equipment includes black leather upholstery, electric seats with memory, dual climate control, reversing camera, cruise control, navgation, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, Jukebox hard drive music storage, Apple CarPlay and voice-activated controls. Ferrari’s unrivalled seven year servicing plan is also included in the asking price.

Customers wanting to customise their 488 Spider have access to Ferrari’s sky’s-the-limit options list and extras such as extensive carbon-fibre components, sport exhaust, bespoke paint and leather choices to name a handful. Optional Blu Corsa paint is unique to the Spider.

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