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Sun 3 Jun 2018 09:00 AM

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Review: 488 GTB is everything that's right about Ferrari

Ferrari 488 GTB is the brand's first turbo-assisted mid-engine car since its famed F40, boasting 50 percent more downforce and faster gear changes.

Review: 488 GTB is everything that's right about Ferrari
The Ferrari 488 GTB is in the best traditions of the Italian brand

It’s no longer the world’s fastest, fanciest or flashiest supercar, but Ferrari remains a favourite (if not the favourite) for sports car enthusiasts years after its celebrated introduction in 1940.

Why? Because unlike its competitors – which shall not be named – the Italian frontrunner is everyone’s car. You don’t have to be a racing expert or a driving professional to enjoy a Ferrari; albeit, you need to be able to spare a couple of hundred thousand dollars.

What makes it relevant today is that it is as effortless to drive as it is exciting. This is particularly true with the 488 GTB.

We pick up our bright yellow ride from Dubai dealer Al Tayer Motors and take it for a spin on Sheikh Zayed Road. Admiring motorists give us looks of approval and we feel comfortable enough to retain a slower speed.

We know the car can go from 0-100kmh in three seconds with a top speed of over 330kmh, but the prancing horse is not about the speed, as Ferrari manager Enrico Galliera so wisely put it. “[Ferrari] is about the pleasure of the drive,” he told Arabian Business in 2016.

And it is enjoyable to say the least. While it’s hard to forget you’re in a Ferrari when you’re behind its wheel, it’s surprising how easy it is to drive. Steady and smooth, its steering has a lot of feel. Once you hit race mode, you can get ready for a captivating ride.

We agree with Galliera when he said: “Whoever drives a Ferrari, even if he is not an expert driver, can bring it close to the limit.”

The 488 GTB is the brand’s first turbo-assisted mid-engine car since its famed F40, boasting 50 percent more downforce and faster gear changes. You don’t have to worry about turbo lag either, as its 3.9-litre bi-turbo V8 delivers maximum response to full throttle in 0.8 seconds.

Power and drivability deliver one of the best driving experiences, whether you’re cruising on The Palm Jumeirah or streaking on Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Road.

You will do it all in comfort, too, as the 488 is as spacious as it needs to be. Its cabin is designed around the driver’s needs, too, with commands placed on the wraparound satellite pods as opposed to being clustered on the steering wheel. Nice details include a new dashboard featuring sporty air vents inspired by military jet air intakes.

Ferrari traits such as handcrafted materials and trims add elegance to the otherwise ultra-sporty interiors.  Its noise is different to the 458 too, which it so thoroughly resembles. We’d call it more controlled rather than frenzied. We prefer it that way. Ferrari is not a show off. It speaks for itself. The same can be said for its classically clean lines paired with over the top glossiness.

Ferrari offers seven years maintenance with the 488 GTB, covering all regular maintenance at intervals of either 20,000km or once a year with no mileage restrictions.

The price of the 488 GTB 2018 is around $272,000. Worth your cash? They say money can’t buy happiness. But if it buys a Ferrari, that’s close enough for us.

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