When Maranello calls and you are told to find yourself in a few days at Ferrari in order to drive the 488 GTB, you are practically caught up by half a dozen electric shocks. I use a few minutes to rearrange my mind and realize that I’m not dreaming and start in the hectic stage of preparation. It is not necessary to document me further, since I have memorized each and every single specific of the new Prancing horse’s supercar, so I’m right on Google Maps looking for a road that will be able to make the most of the driving day that I am about to experience and also represents the joy for the photographer who will accompany me in this new and exciting adventure.
The days before the ultimate test drive goal are like those before an exam, endless and nights pass by with eyes wide open – the only difference is the smile printed on my face.
When the big day arrives we are in front of one of the most iconic and famous gates in the world, we get accommodated and in a matter of minutes I’m with the key of a 488 GTB in my hand. If watching a Ferrari cruise in Maranello is a common thing, I assure you that driving one is a feeling you can’t get used to – just like watching that horse in beautiful display on the steering wheel, those wide red hips filling the rearview mirrors and the roar of the new twin-turbo V8, which despite having a few decibels less, knows how to grow some hair on your chest.
Driving a Ferrari is something transcendental, doing it on some winding roads where Ferrari test drivers put prototypes to the limits, is something next level – you live it once and it will never go away.
After the briefing, I go headlong into my personal Wonderland, in which there is only a winding road and a latest generation supercar ready to throw both of us in the brawl – my hands impatiently rub on the leather that covers part of the steering wheel, alternating the carbon fiber spots and after moving the “manettino” into Race mode I press the button that gives life to the ode to joy according to Maranello.
The twin-turbo V8 is the natural evolution of last years drive with the California T, located behind my shoulders in the center back and with a lower center of gravity. The differences with the 458 Italia are so many and they do not just make the new model more powerful, faster and more efficient, but they transform the feedbacks the driver gets, sharpening an experience that was already borderline and now became supernatural, thanks to an absurd power output for a street legal car.
The engine is smaller, becoming a 4-liter (instead of 4.5cc), the horses are 670 (+100 compared to the 458) and the maximum torque is 760Nm (+220) already available at just 3,000 rpm (instead of 6,000) – numbers, so many numbers that make it clear that I have to be very careful when I’ll try to abuse the throttle, numbers accompanying me on the stage of the phenomenal hills surrounding the Motor Valley, at the wheel of the latest supercar of the most iconic brand in the world. Keep comparing the 488 GTB and the 458 Italia makes no sense, because the turbocharged evolution differentiates the two cars to such an extent as to give everlasting glory to the model that has just come out of production.
The V8 boom behind me enters into the cabin and, with the windows down, I move the right foot on the gas to move the first meters towards the Maranello Village. It is time for some photos and despite hating the photographer for al lowing me to drive only a handful of miles, I take the opportunity to observe the voluptuous lines and above all the aerodynamic details of the 488; each edge has a well-defined function, every little line has been methodically modeled for being kissed by turbulence and grounding the 1.445kg of its body – a really small weight for a car with such power and performance.