What Car? says...
This is not just any car – this is the Ferrari F8 Tributo. So what exactly is it, and what's the meaning behind its unconventional name?
Well, put simply, the F8 Tributo is a heavily updated version of the 488 GTB. Ferrari claims it benefits from improved steering feel, enhanced electronics and even more power than its predecessor.
That power comes from an engine based on the 3.9-litre used in the track-focused 488 Pista. The Tributo name, meanwhile, pays tribute to the past 40-odd years of mid-engined, V8, two-seater berlinettas.
Well, that’s the official line anyway, but we suspect it’s also intended to pay respect to what is likely be Ferrari’s last non-hybridised V8 engine. The 296 GTB, for example, will use an electrically boosted V6 while the Italian brand's flagship, the SF90, uses a hybridised V8.
Anyway, back to the engine in the Ferrari F8 Tributo. It has titanium internals, an intake from the 488 Challenge race car, improved cooling and a new exhaust.
The results are pretty astounding: 710bhp at 8000rpm (50bhp more than the 488 GTB) and 568lb ft of torque. All that translates into a 0-62mph time of just 2.9sec and a top speed of 211mph flat out.
So, can the F8 Tributo deliver the same experience? That’s what we'll tell you over the next few pages of this review.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
The Ferrari F8 Tributo is, unsurprisingly, exceptionally fast, and we don't doubt the official 0-62mph time of 2.9sec.
The clever bit, though, is the manner of the V8’s delivery. It responds so immediately to your inputs, even at low revs, that you’d be forgiven for forgetting the two turbos strapped to it.
It will, for example, accelerate (very briskly) from 30mph in sixth gear, and doesn’t require the dual-clutch transmission to downshift from seventh on the motorway to execute very prompt outside-lane overtaking. That makes it surprisingly effortless to simply mooch around in – not what you’d expect from a 710bhp mid-engined performance car.
Talking of mooching around, the F8 Tributo is also one of the best riding supercars we’ve ever had the pleasure of testing.
With the adaptive dampers in their ‘bumpy road’ setting, it has a plusher and better-controlled ride than most executive saloons. Our test car didn't have a nose-lift system fitted, but the front carbon splitter never got caught on a speed bump or awkwardly shaped driveway.
This usability remains as you increase the pace. In true Ferrari fashion, the steering is lightning quick, but the chassis is good enough to keep up, with a finesse that gauges body roll, weight transfer and rate of response to the point of near perfection. That doesn’t happen with the slightly unfeeling, stability-biased Lamborghini Huracan Evo.
A lot of the car’s cutting-edge tech – including the latest ‘Slide Slip Control’ traction control system – is dedicated to making the F8 Tributo manageable without strangling the involving and very lively handling. And it works.
It allows ever greater oversteer before seamlessly intervening to bring everything back into shape. It’s so good, in fact, that on the road you never really feel the need to turn it off.
The interior layout, fit and finish
The interior – in contrast to the way the Ferrari F8 Tributo drives – isn't quite so peerless.
The function-festooned steering wheel is admittedly a thing to behold, and once you’ve got used to what everything does (the indicators are buttons, for example) it’s a pleasure to use. It makes you wonder why harder-to-use haptic buttons have been fitted to the Ferrari Roma and SF90.
The seats, the pedals, the gear change paddles behind the steering wheel and the view out of the car (in other words, everything to do with the business of driving) are also beyond reproach.
However, many of the other items dotted around the interior, including the heater controls and the right and left side screens, are too fiddly and have too many varying knobs and buttons.
Some simplification is required – as is a touch more elegance. Indeed, the interiors of the significantly cheaper Audi R8 and Porsche 911 GT3 are better trimmed and better screwed together than the F8 Tributo.
The Ferrari infotainment system is starting to feel its age, too. The sat-nav graphics look clunky and archaic, and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring is an eye-wateringly expensive option (Android Auto isn’t even available).
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
There are, of course, only two seats in the Ferrari F8 Tributo, but there’s enough head and leg room for a couple of adults well over six feet tall, and they won’t be clashing elbows.
Oddment storage is decent, too. Ferrari has provided a glovebox, cupholders and a handy central tray, while a shelf behind the seats gives you somewhere to stow a handbag or laptop case.
True, there’s no luggage space behind where you sit – that space is entirely taken up by the turbocharged V8 engine – but the 'boot' in the nose of the car is capable of swallowing a couple of overnight bags. Your golf clubs will need to take the place of your passenger, though.
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
The Ferrari F8 Tributo costs a colossal amount of money and that’s before you start perusing the options list. Our test car’s price, for instance, started with a three – and the options alone added up to more than it would cost to buy an entire Porsche 911 GTS.
So the question of whether you can afford one doesn't really need discussing. More often than not, purchases like this are additions to a collection and it’s not like a Lamborghini Huracan Evo or McLaren 720S is going to cost you significantly less.
It’ll come as no surprise to you that the F8 Tributo's turbocharged 3.9-litre V8 uses a lot of fuel and pumps out a massive amount of CO2. We can’t see potential owners twitching at the thought of that, though.
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