Ferrari 488 GTB – a sign of the turbo future

As the new Ferrari model goes on sale in the UAE, why does it matter so much? 

Neil Churchill August 16, 2015

As we’ve said before on these pages, in some parts of Dubai you can’t go from one traffic light to the next without seeing a Ferrari.

Well, the ratio of prancing horse per capita is about to rise as the Italian company’s latest model, the 488 GTB, has arrived in the UAE. 

The Gran Turismo Berlinetta is available now at the Al Tayer Motors showroom in Dubai. Although, like with all Ferraris, you better be on the waiting list or invited to buy one.  

A successor to the 458 model – hugely popular and a great seller in the UAE – the 488 GTB uses a smaller 3.9-litre V8 turbo engine that produces 660 horsepower and 561 lb feet of torque. 

With a 0-100 km/h time of three seconds, and a top speed of 330 km/h, the 488 GTB is 30 per cent faster than the top of the line 458, and has 41 per cent stronger torque. As you can see in the above video, it is an astounding car. 

So will this make the 458 obsolete? Almost certainly not. The Ferrari purists traditionally turn their noses up at a turbo engine, preferring a naturally aspirated beast. The 458 may even become a collector’s item, as it looks likely to be the last ever Pininfarina-designed Ferrari. 

But the 488 GTB could be a threat elsewhere, most obviously the Lamborghini Huracan as it is the faster of the two. It will certainly be sniffing around the McLaren 650S as well, but that will probably hold its sway with fans of the British brand, plus its performance figures match the 488’s. 

Why does the 488 matter?

More importantly for the supercar industry though, the 488 GTB is proof that Ferrari is aiming to cut 20 per cent from its CO2 emissions by 2021. Turbochargers of course get more power from an engine, allowing a car to maintain performance while reducing its engine size.

Ferrari actually claims that the GTB’s efficiency numbers set a new record for a production model from the company, using 11.4 litres of fuel per 100 km – important to know with the UAE’s fuel prices no longer regulated

Increasing emissions restrictions in Europe and across the globe are forcing supercars to rethink their decades old ‘big engine equals more power’ strategies.

We've already seen signs of the transformation with the trinity of recent hypercars, the Ferrari LaFerrari, Porsche 918 and McLaren P1, all using electric motors. And Ferrari of course already uses a turbo engine in the brilliant California T

But given that some who have already driven the 488 GTB are calling it one of the best supercars of all time – and it is faster than the worshiped Ferrari Enzo – this could well be the turning point of turbo engines setting the performance benchmarks for future supercars.