Is this the most beautiful Ferrari yet made?

The F8 Tributo replaces the acclaimed Ferrari 488. Picture: SUPPLIED
The F8 Tributo replaces the acclaimed Ferrari 488. Picture: SUPPLIED

Ferrari will show its replacement for the critically acclaimed 488 at this week’s Geneva motor show.

Called the F8 Tributo, the next generation of Ferrari’s mid-engined, V8 tradition feels premature, mainly because the 488 still feels like it’s at the top of its game.

But the Tributo will arrive with the most powerful V8 yet bolted into a production Ferrari, with 530kW (720 Italian horsepower) at a high-revving 8,000rpm to sit right atop the McLaren 720S in the horsepower race.

And it’s the award-winning nature of the 720S that has sparked Ferrari into action, but don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s an all-new generation of Ferrari. It’s a rework of the 488, which was a rework of the 458. So don’t be shocked if every dimension, every twist of every piece of metal, has been redesigned to put Maranello back on top of Woking.

Ferrari claims its twin-turbo, 3.9l V8 produces about the same power as its current king of the hill, the mighty 488 Pista, running to 100km/h in 2.9 seconds despite retaining its rear-drive layout.

Ferrari insists it will sprint from zero to 200km/h in just 7.8 seconds – so it has a 100km/h to 200km/h sprint of a mind-blowing 4.9 seconds on the way to a top speed of 340km/h.

With 530kW the Ferrari F8 Tributo is the most powerful V8 Ferrari yet built. Picture: SUPPLIED
With 530kW the Ferrari F8 Tributo is the most powerful V8 Ferrari yet built. Picture: SUPPLIED

Moving to the upgraded powertrain gives the F8 Tributo a 50-horsepower boost over the standard 488, while its torque peaks at 770Nm at 3250rpm.

Again, though, Ferrari won’t deliver all the torque in all the gears. It instead limits the F8 Tributo’s torque output in steps that rise with each taller gear until the maximum output arrives in seventh gear.

The F8 Tributo will also land with a weight reduction of about 40kg to 1330kg and Ferrari claims it’s also 10 percent more slippery through the air. The thing is, while that’s a sleek weight figure for something running a screaming twin-turbo V8, the aluminium-based Ferrari is still about 50kg heavier than the carbon-based life form that is the 720S.

It scores the S-duct at the front end, which was an aero upgrade on the 488 Pista, and it also scores the same rear-end, with its air intakes moved down the back on the wider spoiler, and lay-down radiators up front.

Ferrari claims it has given it an improved version of the Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer (FDE, which means Ferrari needs work on its acronyms), including its sideslip angle control (let’s call it what it is: a drift control system).

It also claims the engine cover, with its see-through glass and horizontally slotted louvres, is directly derived from the F40 – the halo for all mid-engined, twin-turbo V8 Ferraris – and that its circular taillight clusters are an interpretation of the 308 GTB’s lights.

The headlights are more modern in their technology and their ideas, slimming down with LED technology to allow for bigger brake-cooling intakes and improving airflow through the front wheelarches.

The interior has also been upgraded, though it retains the driver-focused cockpit feel. The dash, the doorskins and the transmission tunnel have all been redesigned and the infotainment system has had a much-needed upgrade in intuitiveness. The passenger scores a new 18cm touchscreen to play with, too.