How can you walk towards a Ferrari and not be just a little bit in love? The unmistakable, gleaming red, the exquisitely-contoured door and the headlights that could almost have you spouting poetry. At the Ferrari dealer’s in Muscat, Al Fardan Motors, to pick up the 488 GTB for a test drive, the only complaint that came instantly to mind was “I wish I was not in the middle of Azaiba on a weekday.”
Adjusting the seat, which is typically low-slung, was easy enough and while the rear view was expectedly not ideal, the front viewing clearance was good enough to offer an instant level of comfort on tight turns or parking. But what surprised me as I drove out on the narrow side lane before joining the Sultan Qaboos highway was that the car was actually a comfortable drive. Exactly as the manufacturers claim: “The new Ferrari 488 GTB not only delivers unparalleled performance, it also makes that extreme power exploitable and controllable to an unprecedented level even by less expert drivers.”
But even as a less expert driver, climbing to a maximum of 100km/h in the noontime traffic was hardly challenging but as the road opened up, you knew that this was not a car that you would want to waste time driving at low speeds. The satisfying roar of the engine as I had started the car now resurfaced as an increasing growl as we moved at 120.
Even at low speeds, the 488 GTB garnered a lot more attention than I would have thought, in a city that has more than its fair share of supercars.
A keyless start, my first in a Ferrari, the steering was far easier to get used to than the indicator buttons which ended up confusing me on more than one occasion during the drive. While
the steering wheel is extremely responsive, what contributes to the feeling of comfort as many have pointed out is the state-of-the-art traction control that provides a subtle intervention in the rampant power running through the car.
This is a car that you could actually think of driving everyday, if you can afford it of course, without the flicker of panic that comes with cars as powerful as this one. The handling lulls you into a sense of wellbeing but leaves you in no doubt as to who’s the boss if you decided to test its limits.
The power beneath the hood
It delivers 670cv at 8,000rpm with a specific power output of 172cv/lt, a new record for a road-going Ferrari, maximum torque of 760Nm in seventh gear and a throttle response time of just 0.8 seconds at 2,000rpm in third gear. Consequently, the Ferrari 488 GTB sprints from 0-100km/h in 3 seconds flat and from 0-200km/h in just 8.3.
Cutting edge aerodynamics
Aerodynamics made a pivotal contribution to performance: the car’s 1.67 E index figure is a new record for a production Ferrari, and is the fruit of 50 per cent more downforce than the previous model along with lower drag. Several innovative elements were specifically developed for this purpose, not least a double front spoiler, base bleed side intakes and, at the rear, active aerodynamics coupled with a revolutionary, Ferrari-patented blown spoiler design. The design of the sophisticated aerodynamic underbody is derived from the 458 GT and incorporates vortex generators.
0-100km/h 3.0 sec
0 -200km/h 8.3 sec
Maximum speed > 330km/h
A welcome bonus
Ferrari offers an extended seven-year maintenance programme with the 488 GTB. Available across the entire range, it covers all regular maintenance for the first seven years of the car’s life. This programme for Ferraris is an exclusive service that allows clients the certainty that their car is being kept at peak performance and safety over the years.
Al Fardan Motors
Alfardan Building, Meydan Al Azaiba, Muscat,