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Launch: Ferrari 488 GTB

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Kuala Lumpur, 16 June, 2015 – NAZA Italia has officially presented the spanking new Ferrari 488 GTB in Malaysia today. This particular 488 GTB has been allocated for the entire Asia Pacific region, with Malaysia being its second destination in Asia after Japan. The presentation took place at NAZA Italia’s newly refurbished show room.

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Present at the ceremony were Datuk Wira SM Faisal (Group Executive Chairman & Group CEO of NAZA World Group of Companies), Dieter Knechtel (Managing Director of Ferrari Far East), David Hector Ratnaike (Senior Vice President 2 of 4-Wheels Division, NAZA World Group of Companies), and Wan Ahmad (Vice President 1 of NAZA Italia Sdn Bhd).

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“The Ferrari 488 GTB provides a breathtaking 661bhp – the highest specific power output of any road-going Ferrari. Exceptionally powerful with greater fuel economy, this model is bound to be a new Malaysian favourite,” said Datuk Wira SM Faisal, Group Executive Chairman & Group CEO, NAZA World Group of Companies.

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The past quarter of a decade has been a golden age for Ferrari, in the sense that the Italian manufacturer’s commitment to naturally aspirated supercars has been unwavering. In an age where its competitors have turned to turbocharging, the Italian marquee stood firm with its purist stance. However, with ever-tightening emissions and tax laws, Ferrari has been pushed into taking on a game it once dominated.

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While McLaren has been utilising turbocharging since its recent rebirth, Ferrari’s history with turbocharging goes way back. Walking down memory lane is a write up for another day, so all we need to look at for perspective is the legendary Ferrari F40. The F40 was Ferrari’s last take at a turbocharged supercar, and is widely regarded as the greatest supercar of all time. Overlooked was its weighty steering wheel, lacking interior and shocking turbo lag, while its pure driving experience and sheer exhilaration were lauded.

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With the 488 GTB, Ferrari aim to capture the thrill of the F40, whilst engineering a genuine daily driver supercar. The first step was to get rid of tubo lag. The task seems simple, but even McLaren has been struggling with it. While the P1 continues to receive rave reviews, turbo lag is apparent in lower revs (even with the assistance of electric torque). Ferrari’s 488 GTB not only attempts to navigate around that bump, but also aspires to sound like a naturally aspirated thoroughbred, while reducing engine capacity and emissions in the process.

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The first notable step is the exclusion of the highly-acclaimed naturally aspirated 4.5-litre V8 and in its place is a downsized direct injection 3902cc twin-turbocharged flat plane crank V8. It’s more efficient but also massively more potent. Power is up from 562bhp in the Italia and 597hp in the Speciale (both at 9000rpm) to 661hp at 8000rpm, with torque jumping from 540Nm at 6,000rpm to as much as 760Nm at 3,000rpm.

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This is only possible through turbocharging. The twin IHI turbochargers are twin-scroll units and are mounted on ball-bearing shafts to reduce friction by 30 percent. The compressor wheels are manufactured from a bespoke titanium-aluminium alloy, ensuring faster spool-up speed by 50 percent compared to traditional systems. Ferrari rate the engine response time at 0.8 seconds when measured at 2,000rpm in 3rd gear.

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Like the California T, in which the 488 GTB borrows its engine from(albeit with many tweaks), the 488 GTB uses different torque maps for gears 1-3 then 4,5,6 and 7 – only giving the maximum 760Nm in 7th. This presents the feel of an engine building and building to the 8000rpm power peak just as a normally aspirated engine would. It also means the 488 GTB can use shorter gearing (roughly 5 percent longer than an Italia) than its rivals. Ferrari went to great measures to explain how the noise and ‘emotion’ of this new drivetrain had to match up to Ferrari standards.

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Powertrain aside, the new Side Slip Control 2 is refined even further, now using the magnetic dampers as well as the e-diff and ESC to help maintain the perfect cornering slip angle, according to Ferrari at least. The 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox is 30 percent quicker on upshifts and 40 percent quicker on downshifts compared to the Italia(and a match for the Speciale), with the Michelin Super Sports now offering almost Cup 2 levels of dry grip while providing much better wet weather performance.

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The interior has been redesigned to be made more usable, including new switchgear, air vents and instrument panel. The manettino dial with Wet, Sport, Race, CT Off and ESC Off modes remains, while the infotainment system gets a new interface and graphics. The 488 GTB measures up at 4568mm in length, 1952mm in width and 1213mm in height. Its dry weight sits at 1370kg when equipped with lightweight options, making it 40kg heavier than the McLaren 650S.

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The new look, styled at the Ferrari Styling Centre, features several new aerodynamic features that improve downforce and reduce drag. Most notable is the addition of active aerodynamics at the rear through a ‘blown’ rear spoiler, where air is channeled from the base of the glass engine cover under the spoiler. This contributes to the 50 percent increase in downforce over the 458 Italia. Also new is a double front spoiler, an aerodynamic underbody, a large air intake at the front, a diffuser with active flaps, new positioning for the exhaust flaps, and new-look lights.

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With all the technicalities out of the way, we’re sure you’re wondering what these parts add to. The 488 GTB can crack 0-100kph in three seconds dead, 0-200kph in 8.4 seconds, and reach a top speed of 330kph. Its 0-100kph and 0-200kph times match the McLaren 650S, but Woking’s car maxes out at 333kph. The 488 GTB has lapped Ferrari’s Fiorano test track in 1min 23sec, making it two seconds faster than the 458 Italia, and half a second quicker than the 458 Speciale.

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The Ferrari 488 GTB is set to go on sale shortly, with a base price of RM1,068,800 excluding duty, tax, and options. A ball park figure would be roughly around the RM2,000,000 mark. We can’t wait to see one of these babies on the streets of KL.

About Kiron Subhash

The most recent member of the collective, Kiron now follows the team to cover local and international automotive events. He is now training in multimedia journalism, acquiring experience in onsite reporting, feature writing, photography, videography, and social media engagement. Conspicuously influenced by Andrew and Jack in the rewarding life of a biker, Kiron now harbours a deep-seated love for motorcycle riding (and fuel-saving).

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