The beautiful 308 GTB was first introduced in 1975, and represented the first mid-engined Ferrari with V8 power, a successful formula that has continued to the present day. The GTB was an acronym for Gran Turismo Berlinetta.
40 years later, Ferrari announces the 488 GTB as a replacement for the 458 Italia. The design is more evolutionary than revolutionary, but is also more sculpted and aggressive than the outgoing model. The most immediately noticeable change are the rather massive side rear quarter intakes, but the new car also features a a double front spoiler and an active aerodynamic rear spoiler. The underbody incorporates vortex generators and the diffuser features active flaps.
The most interesting technical aspect of the changes is that Ferrari has increased downforce by 50% while simultaneously reducing drag. Damn.
The mechanical changes are if anything more dramatic. Power now comes from a turbocharged 3.9 liter V8. The move from natural aspiration to turbocharging is not unexpected, and was already seen with the California T. What was perhaps less expected was such a dramatic power increase for the 458 successor. At 661 hp, it produces 99 more horses than its predecessor. 0-62 mph happens in a mere 3 seconds. Top speed is over 205 mph.
Even this doesn’t tell the full story. The weight of the car has been reduced an impressive 254 lbs to a svelte curb weight of 3020 lbs. Power to weight ratio is now about 4.6 lbs per hp, or a 22% improvement over the Italia, which is about 5.8 lbs per hp. Many manufacturers have slowed down on the horsepower wars of the last decade, but Ferrari doesn’t seem to be one of them.