The New Ferrari 488 GTB is King of the Turbo V8s

The latest forced-induction monster is riding into town on a prancing horse.
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The latest forced-induction monster is riding into town on a prancing horse.

A few years ago, the world said a sad goodbye to Ferrari’s last manual transmission; today, with the release of the 488 GTB, it’s the naturally-aspirated V8 to which we bid adieu.

The 488 GTB—the newest mid-engine V8 Ferrari in a line going all the way back to 1975 308—replaces the 458’s 4.5-liter naturally aspirated V8 with a 3.8-liter turbocharged block making 65 more horsepower and over 160 more lb-ft of torque for a 0-60 time of 3 seconds, flat. The reason for the switch? Economy. Ever-increasing fuel-economy standards means even the highest-end niche automakers (like Ferrari) are forced to downsize engines. (Mclaren has offered a turbocharged 3.8-liter V8 on the 650S for years.)

The thing is with turbochargers, oftentimes, automakers do more than “make-up” the power lost from down-sizing. The gains Ferrari found through turbocharging are similar to those AMG found when it turbocharged its V8s, as did Audi, as did BMW. If turbocharging is a compromise, then at least it’s a rip-roaringly fast one. We live in the age of the high-performance turbocharged V8, and though purists may never accept the slightly muffled exhaust note or touch of lag that comes with forced-induction, we accept our torquey overlords, because say what you will, but a gorgeous, 660-horsepower “entry-level” Ferrari is not something we can say a word against.

Check out the slideshow for shots of the Ferrari’s vintage turbocharged machines like the F40 and 288 GTO, plus the hottest ‘charged V8’s you can buy today. 

Photos by Ferrari