5 Technologies That Define the New Ferrari 488 GTB

5 Technologies That Define the New Ferrari 488 GTB
How Maranello's Latest Supercar Helps You Drive Like Sebastian Vettel

There's a lot of clever stuff going on under the sexy skin of the new Ferrari 488 GTB, a lot of smart science and thoughtful engineering devoted to helping you perfect the art of driving fast. Regardless of your skill level, the 488 makes you better. More important, it does so without you noticing how; everything works together intuitively to deliver responses that feel totally natural.
Here are five key technologies that make the 488 GTB one of Ferrari's all-time greats.


The Ferrari 488 GTB’s F154 engine shares its block with the California T, but little else. The turbochargers, made by IHI, are bigger than those in the Cali T, and feature 8mm larger twin-scroll turbines made from lightweight titanium-aluminum alloy instead of the usual Inconel. The TiAl turbines are lighter, reducing inertia 50 percent, though Ferrari has to carefully monitor exhaust gas temperature, as they need to be kept at about 1,720-1,740 degrees, while Inconel turbines can happily live at 1,800-plus degrees. The turbines also spin on ball bearings, reducing power lost to friction by 30 percent. The turbocharger housings are built with a microscopically thin abradable seal that wears and seats perfectly within moments of initial start, improving efficiency by 2 percent. Packaging is very compact: Turbos and all, the 488 engine is just 0.23 inch wider than the 458’s naturally aspirated powerplant, and rides 0.19 inch lower in the chassis.

Sound Tuning

A hefty segment of the 488 GTB product briefing was given over to detailed explanations of exhaust and inlet sound tuning, and diagrams showing the strength of sixth and eighth order harmonics, and everyone from Ferrari chief Amedeo Felisa on down solicitously asked those who’d driven the car what they thought of the engine sound. In truth, engine sound is largely window dressing — important window dressing, insists Felisa, as it directly influences a driver’s perception of a car’s performance.

Torque Management

Ferrari carefully manages the torque output of the 488 engine, not to preserve the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission carried over — apart from some ratio changes — from the 458, but to improve the car’s drivability. The engine management system produces a slightly different torque curve for each of the seven gears, with a baseline output increased by 25 percent in fourth gear, and a further 30 percent in fifth gear. The maximum 560 lb-ft is available from 3,000 rpm in seventh gear. Ferrari says the abundance of torque allows drivers to more easily access the engine’s 660 hp. Data tracking of testing at Fiorano shows drivers typically use less than 520 hp of the 458’s 557 hp because of the peakier power and torque curves, but all 660 hp in the 488, and that helps deliver a 2-second improvement in lap times.


Here’s where it’s evident that the 488 GTB is built by an automaker that also builds Formula 1 cars. The 488 features an aerodynamic underbody designed to induce low pressure at the front and rear of the car, and a dual splitter at the front to increase downforce. Ferrari’s patented blown rear spoiler, which channels air from the base of the rear window through a slot that exits just above the license plate, delivers downforce without a massive, drag-inducing wing tacked on to the rear of the car. The rear diffuser features a moveable flap that stalls airflow over it under certain conditions — it’s basically an F1-style drag-reduction system, and when it’s activated, a little DRS logo appears on the dash. It all adds up to a 50 percent increase in vertical load over the 458, with maximum downforce of 716 pounds generated at 155 mph.

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