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How Ferrari 488 GTB Stacks Up Against the 458 Speciale

While Ferrari dubbed the engine of the 458 Speciale their “most powerful naturally aspirated V8 ever,” the Ferrari 488 GTB is ruffling feathers by seeking to create a “new chapter in the history of 8 cylinder.” So, how does Ferrari's marketing lingo stack up in real life? We talk to one of the first Ferrari 488 GTB owners in California (who also owned a 458) to find out:

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Why choose the Ferrari 488 GTB?

Why not?! It replaces one of my favorite cars, the 458 Speciale, and the claim was that this car performs better and has better handling… so I wanted to see how it compared.

You’ve owned the 488 for about a month now, what’s your first impression?

It’s an incredible car and incredibly fast. It’s a turbocharged car, and a lot of people have been talking about how turbos have been taking over the supercar world and how turbos aren’t that great. One of the reasons is the delay in performance with the turbo spooling up. This car doesn’t have that at all, it’s barely noticeable that the turbos are there. You can hear them spinning only at really high rpm, but otherwise they’re there; they’re active, but you can barely feel them. A second thing was concern about exhaust noise. And this particular car has an amazing exhaust note both interior and exterior... despite the fact that it has turbos.

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How would you describe the 488’s exhaust note in contrast to the 458?

It’s deeper because the car redlines at a lower rpm than the Speciale, so it doesn’t get that high-pitched wailing sound but it gets a deeper, throatier exhaust note. So it’s different, it’s noticeable, and it’s definitely loud.

How would you compare the Ferrari 488 GTB to the Speciale?

It feels like there’s more power, like there’s more torque when I hit the accelerator. The car definitely has some squat to it that the Speciale didn’t. There is a lot of torque going to the wheels and you can definitely feel that. From the first time I drove it off the lot, I could tell already that there’s a tremendous amount more power and torque.

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What do you love most about your Ferrari 488 GTB?

Notable differences that I like: the steering feels considerably more precise and a lot tighter than the 458 and that whole line, I like that a lot. That precision feels really good, I can feel the road a lot more. I like the looks of the car. I enjoy looking in the side view mirrors and seeing these two big air scoops, especially with the carbon splitters there. I also like the exhaust note. It does sound really good, it's better than I expected (especially with all the chatter about the turbos muting the exhaust note). I love the way that it sounds. Overall, it looks great and it’s super fast.

One thing that I got special on this car is the color. It’s the launch color, Rosso Corsa Metallic. I didn’t really know if I was going to like it or not, but now that I have the car I just think it looks spectacular. The metal chips in there really give it a different depth than just the standard Rosso Corsa.

Stay tuned for more of this smokin' car because Driving Line has something VERY exciting coming! Subscribe to our newsletter to ensure you don't miss out!

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