Check out all these cool features on the Ferrari 488 GTB

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Such beauty as hurts to behold.
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Hollis Johnson

Ferrari builds three types of cars: sports cars, Grand Touring or “GT” cars, and of course rare and exotic hypercars, such as the current LaFerrari, which sells for more than a million bucks.

Of these three, without question the most important for Ferrari’s reputation are the sports cars. The only things more important are Ferrari’s Formula One race cars, but they are squarely beasts of the track. The road cars define the critical fantasies that animate the brand, that evoke its deep history, and that provoke sane people to part with hundreds of thousands of dollars for the privilege of being what Ferrari calls a “client.”

And among the road cars, the sports cars rule.

But while Ferrari calls them sports cars, nobody else does. We call them supercars, for good reason.

Until 2015, Ferrari could claim that its core supercar, the 458 Italia, was indeed the finest car ever made by human hands.

“What a machine!” enthused former “Top Gear” host Jeremy Clarkson when he hooned a 458 around the track.

The late, great 458

The 458 was the peak achievement of Ferrari’s commitment, decades old, to the mid-engine, naturally aspirated V8 sports cars. It began, effectively, with the 308 in the mid-1970s (the “Magnum, P.I.” Ferrari) and extended to the 458 in the second decade of the 21st century.

And it was served on a rosso corsa platter that the Ferrari lover craves beyond sexiness and speed: sound. The flat-crank V8 produced and otherworldly scream at its redline, like a wild thing torn from a wild place and barely domesticated behind the driver’s head. The sound was the sound of fear and pleasure and raw life raised to type of brutal art. The sort of thing that Ferrari does so, so well.

The 458 was also gorgeous, sleek, and fine-boned but intensely purposeful. I’ve had my eardrums blown out by them at pit stops on racetracks, and I have still always, always been in love with those lines. You have your drive-for-your-life cars and your die-behind-the-wheel cars, and, given a choice, I would perish dashingly and with a smile in a 458.

Enter the 488 GTB (it stands for “Gran Turismo Berlinetta”) and the dawn of a new age in Maranello, Ferrari’s home in Italy. It was necessary. A 570-horsepower V8 that sucks in air and uses that process of transforming gasoline into velocity is a politically unpalatable dinosaur, so the 458 had to be retired.

And so Ferrari replaced it with a 661-horsepower turbocharged V8.

Ferrari hasn’t done turbos in this type of car since the 1980s with the F40, so there was concern, possibly even overt panic, among the Ferraristi.

You might be wondering how the Great Shift is going. Well, Ferrari kindly let us borrow a $360,000 488 GTB for a few days. We adored the car – it was a runner-up in fact for our 2016 Business Insider Car of the Year.

Here are its coolest features.

Photos by Hollis Johnson, unless otherwise credited.


THE COLOR: The color is new: “Rosso Corsa Metallizzato,” which is Ferrari red with what appears to be a touch of orange. It’s a $12,500 option.

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Hollis Johnson

The 488 isn’t a major departure from the 458, seen here. But Ferrari’s in-house designers made a few tweaks.

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Matthew DeBord/Business Insider

The family of mid-engine Ferrari sports cars, starting with the 308 GTB on the far left and moving through the 348, the 360, and the 458.

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Ferrari

Ferrari debuted the 488 for North America in New York last year.

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Ferrari

The main design challenge related to the new 3.9-liter turbocharged V8, which required some additional ducting and space for the twin turbos.

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Hollis Johnson

This altered the back end, making it more bulbous than the 458. And yes, that is a carbon-fiber diffuser under the tailpipes. You won’t need it on the road, but it’s nice to have if you ever get an itch for the track.

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Hollis Johnson

The front end was also slightly made over to be a bit less fine-lined than the 458 and a bit more in tune with the fascia on the LaFerrari.

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Hollis Johnson

THE FRONT END: The front aligns the 488 visually with Ferrari’s LaFerrari hypercar.

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Hollis Johnson

HOOD SCOOPS: A pair of modest scoops was added to the hood, which conceals not an engine, but rather the 488’s “frunk.” There’s enough room in there for an overnight bag and maybe a cooler of Campari.

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Hollis Johnson

THE REAR END: The biggest new detail is on the rear haunch. The deep cut-in that extends through the door-line has been called an homage to the 308. A nice wedge of carbon fiber bisects a gridded intake scallop.

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Hollis Johnson

Here’s the feature up close.

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Hollis Johnson

THE GLORIOUS NEW ENGINE: The engine has eight cylinders, each displacing 488 cubic centimeters — hence the “488” designation. Add that up and you get 3.9 liters. It’s all housed beneath a transparent hatch, so you can gaze upon the glory of what Ferrari can do with a motor whenever the urge strikes, which should be often.

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Hollis Johnson

Just look at it!

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Hollis Johnson

The twin-turbo V8 cranks out 661 horsepower, a huge increase over the 458’s 570. But the 488 doesn’t substantially better the 458’s zero-to-60-mph time. Both cars can do a Ferrari-claimed three seconds.

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Hollis Johnson

A Ferrari is supposed to be automotive sculpture — as is a Ferrari engine.

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Hollis Johnson

The hatch lifts for pure viewing of the 488’s throbbing heart.

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Hollis Johnson

THE BRAKES: Big Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes all the way around keep a car with a 205-mph top speed under control. They are astonishingly effective.

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Hollis Johnson

THE DETAILS: The car knows its name, and there’s no lack of carbon fiber, topstitching, and supple red and black leather.

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Hollis Johnson

THE INSTRUMENT PANEL: It combines analog and digital features. The two small screens on the left and right can be reconfigured, but front and center is the tachometer — because on a car like this, you want to know exactly what your engine is doing.

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Hollis Johnson

THE STEERING WHEEL: The Ferrari “Prancing Stallion” is front and center on the famous Ferrari steering wheel with its Formula One-derived features. The engine start-stop button can’t be missed. And the turn signals do take a get a bit of getting used to.

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Hollis Johnson

THE MANETTINO: This little red switch controls all the driving modes.

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Hollis Johnson

THE TRANSMISSION: “R” for reverse, “Auto” to switch off the full manual mode on the dual-clutch gearbox, and “PS” (“Partenza Sportiva”), a performance-start mode that prevents wheelspin on quick launches.

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Hollis Johnson

THE SLOT FOR THE KEY FOB!

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Hollis Johnson

THE SEATS: Ferrari-branded and racing-derived — but exceptionally comfortable! They were a real standout feature of the 488.

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Hollis Johnson

THE PADDLE SHIFTERS: In carbon fiber, natch — are impeccable. You can rip through the gears with ease.

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Hollis Johnson

What a machine!

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Hollis Johnson

Check out the video below to learn more about how the car drives.