With rivals like McLaren and Aston Martin creating superfast variants of existing cars, it obviously wasn’t going to be long before Ferrari entered the fray. Coming very soon is the F8 Tributo, a replacement for the much-praised 488GTB, and it’s good enough to have competitors heading back to their design offices.

Although the Tributo looks a lot like the 488GTB, it actually has a fair number of aerodynamic enhancements around the exterior and one of two other subtle elements to give it a character of its own. Some aspects of the bodywork prompt memories of past Ferraris, especially the four round rear lights that evoke the beautiful Dino of 1968. The bodyshell is also a fair bit lighter than that of the GTB and this counts for a lot when performance is at stake. Several surface components are fabricated from carbon fibre and the rear window is made from Lexan thermoplastic.

The svelte profile with its strategically placed air ducts and spoilers draws on Ferrari’s extensive experience in the racing sphere. Even the underside of the new car plays a critical part in overall performance. The company takes more trouble than most rivals when it comes to aerodynamics, as witnessed by the huge wind tunnel that dominates the factory in Maranello. Visit Ferrari and it’s the first thing you’ll see!

The Tributo boasts a most impressive engine – a 710-horsepower mid-mounted V-8 with a pair of turbochargers, the most powerful eight-cylinder ever to be mounted in a production (non-special series) Ferrari. This powerhouse has found its way into other models from Maranello with various output levels and Ferrari has described it as “the best 8-cylinder in the world,” which may not be far from the truth. In other guises, the same engine won a wide range of awards, including accolades from International Engine of the Year. Transmission is a 7-speed automatic that can shift faster than any human operating a manual box. Very few supercar manufacturers offer manual transmissions these days.

Expectedly, handling has been refined to match the output of this new Ferrari and, again, the company draws on racing knowhow to get the right combination of performance and comfort. As with most cars now, the Tributo uses electronics to enhance dynamic safety and if things do get a little out of hand, big Brembo brakes take care of business in that department.
The interior is typically Ferrari with a driver-oriented layout and exceptionally snug seats. Like all cars in this class, occupants have to thread themselves in, but once in place, it’s a very comfortable and safe driving environment. Anyone with Ferrari experience will feel right at home in it first time out.
The instrument panel is a very attractive classic design but also, of course, electronic. A 7-inch touchscreen takes care of infotainment duties, but most occupants will get all the fun they need simply from riding in this outstanding and welcome new Ferrari.

ENGINE: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V-8 710-horsepower.

TRANSMISSION: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic.

ACCELERATION: Zero to 100 km/h in 2.9-seconds.

TOP SPEED: 340 km/h.

I LIKED: Subtle bodywork changes compared to the 488GTB add up to very fresh and characterful styling. Awesome power unit and a major accomplishment for a V-8. Excellent quality and cockpit ambiance.

I DIDN’T LIKE: Lack of an all-wheel drive system for maximum traction may divert some buyers to the Lamborghini Aventador.

MARKET ALTERNATIVES: McLaren 720S, Porsche 911 GT2 RS, Aston Martin DBS Superleggera, Lamborghini Aventador.

WHO DRIVES ONE? Ferrari faithful will be first in line for this one, but the horsepower and dynamics technology might well coax buyers away from other supercar nameplates.

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY: Available soon. No price yet, but the model it replaces (488 GTB) cost €210.000.


Available from: www.cdesalamancamarbella.com