CHIANG RAI – Naza Italia Sdn Bhd, the official and sole importer of the Ferrari brand in Malaysia, recently organised an Esperienza Ferrari event to Chiang Rai, Thailand, to experience the 488 GTB and 488 Spider.
The Ferrari 488 Gran Turismo Berlinetta (GTB) was introduced globally in 2015 to replace the 458 Italia and last year, the 488 GTB won many awards from renowned automotive magazine worldwide.
The awards include Best Supercar, Supercar of the Year, Best Luxury Sports Car, China Performance Car of the Year, Over 150,000 Euro Imported Sports Car and the Middle-East Car of the Year awards for Supercar Category.
The supercar is powered by a 3.9-litre V8 twin-turbo engine, which replaces its predecessor’s direct injection 4.5-litre V8 engine. The powerplant sends power to the wheels via an improved seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission which is smoother and quicker than the previous 458 Italia.
The rear-wheel drive 488 GTB produces 661hp at 8,000rpm and 760Nm of torque from 3,000rpm, while the predecessor had 562hp at 9,000rpm and 540Nm of torque from 6,000rpm. It is more powerful and fuel efficient than the 458 Italia.
At a glance, the exterior of the Ferrari 488 GTB looks like the 458 Italia. However, aside from the roof, and the trademark prancing horse emblems, it is basically an all-new supercar. Most of the components have been upgraded.
The famous Ferrari red colour or the racing red, has been replaced with a new colour called Rosso Corsa Metallizzato. Don’t get us wrong, it is still the traditional red, but added with a metallic glittering orange coat which only can be seen under certain lighting conditions.
The signature air intakes are slightly larger as well. It comes with a double front spoiler, the top section gets air into the radiator, while the lower section generates downforce under the front of the car.
There is an active DRS (Drag Reduction System) that activates above 140km/h, and moves a flap in the rear diffuser to allow air to escape more cleanly. The only indication that this is going on is a light on the dashboard that switches off automatically when you slow down to 60km/h.
We were told that some of the active flaps are not mechanically activated, but were instead activated by air pressure. Driving the 488 GTB at high speed will cause the air pressure to activate the flaps and give the car more downforce, making it feel like it is glued to the ground.
The Ferrari 488 GTB has 50 per cent more downforce than its predecessor, with less drag as well. The improvements are mainly credited to the results of the new aerodynamic designs and features.
488 GTB’s carbon-ceramic brakes are adopted from the LaFerrari model. The stopping distance is reduced by nine per cent compared to the 458 Italia. It comes with 20-inch wheels, with a tyre size of 245/35 up front and 305/30 on the rear.
Ferrari claims that the 488 GTB can sprint from standstill to 100kph in three seconds, while zero to 200kph will take about 8.3 seconds. The Ferrari has a top speed of 330kph.
The 488 GTB has about 230 litres of front boot capacity, with about 78 litres of fuel tank capacity.
Some of the 488 GTB key features include driver control ride control adaptive suspension, magnetic fluid-filled shock absorber, front and rear anti-roll bars, electro-hydraulic power assist speed-sensing steering, dual stainless steel exhaust, polished tailpipe finisher, sport leather bucket seats and remote keyless entry with push start button.
As for the safety aspects of the Ferrari 488 GTB, it comes with electronic stability control, F1-Trac, anti-lock braking system, driveline traction control, E-Diff, side impact beams, rear parking sensors with reverse camera, tyre specific low tyre pressure warning, front and side airbags.
THE DRIVE IN CHIANG RAI
The convoy headed out to Doi Mae Salong about an hour’s drive from the hotel.
The first thing we realised when we stepped into the Ferrari 488 GTB was how luxurious it is. The sporty interior has carbon fiber finishing coupled with leather to add to its exclusivity.
Visibility in the 488 GTB is very good. The sitting position, side mirror and rear view mirror design gives the driver good line-of-sight, especially when switching lanes.
We were also surprised that the Ferrari 488 GTB also had generous shoulder room, legroom, and sufficient headroom to fit in a large framed six-footer.
The suspension and absorber settings are also comfortable as well. When the road started to roughen up, all we had to do was switch the magnetorheological dampers system to ‘bumpy road mode’ and the 488 GTB will do a wonderful job of absorbing rough and damaged roads to give driver and passenger optimum comfort.
Most of the button switches are cleverly located at the tip of the sporty steering wheel, it feels like a ‘Playstation’ gaming controller or a F1 steering wheel, where there are buttons and switches all over the steering wheel.
Having such level of comforts didn’t compromise the 488 GTB’s performance though, as we discovered during the drive up the mountain in Doi Mae Salong.
While cruising up to Doi Mae Salong, the 488 GTB was in 6th gear most of the time, with the rpm below 2,000, while the engine was so quiet to the extent that we forgot we were driving a sports car.
Power kicks in with a slight tap on the accelerator pedal. We could hear the engine start roaring loudly, with the turbo system working directly with not a trace of turbo lag at all. We have to admit the Italian engineers did a superb job with the calibration of the throttle, as the Ferrari never lurches.
Tackling corners is extremely simple and direct when only minimal effort is needed to steer, as the response of the lightweight steering gives clear, sharp and direct feedback to the driver. There was so much downforce generated by the 488 GTB that it felt like it was glued to the ground.
Technology such as electronic stability control, F1-Trac, E-Diff and the Driveline Traction Control available in the 488 GTB makes an Average Joe feel like an F1 driver.
After a short luncheon at Doi Mae Salong, the convoy made its way to Choui Fong Tea plantation, where we had a tea break and a photoshoot session with the car.
The convoy then headed to Wat Hyua Pla Kang and Wat Rong Khun for more photos. The Esperienza Ferrari ended with a dinner at Singha Park, before heading back to the hotel.
All the while, the eye-catching Ferrari 488 GTB and 488 Spider attracted many tourists and locals to take photos with the two beauties.
Most supercars are best suited to be just weekend fun cars.
Surprisingly, we found the Ferrari 488 GTB to be comfortable and practical enough for daily driving.
While Ferrari claims that it consumed an average of 11.4 litres per 100km, for the day, it showed that we consumed about 15 to 17.2 litres per 100km. But then again, if one can afford to buy it, one will have no issues running it.
2016 Ferrari 488 GTB Review