You know the headlines but watch how it all fits together.

It was perhaps the most controversial thing Ferrari has ever done: putting a turbocharged engine in its signature mid-engined, V8 supercar to create the 488 GTB.

Ferrari is no stranger to turbocharging, of course. The 288 GTO and F40 - legends, both - featured turbo motors, as did the California T that arrived a few months before the 488.

But none of those cars carried the same kind of baggage that weighs the 488 down. Ever since the 308 was introduced in the mid-1970s, the mid-engined V8 has been the mainstay of the Ferrari range, and most of them have been a byword for the ultimate driving experience.

Join owners and enthusiasts discussing this topic at!

The worry was that the 488’s engine would dilute the experience, round off some of the edges. I didn’t help that the naturally-aspirated motor in the preceding 458 Italia is widely regarded as one of the all-time greats.

But those worries have largely proven to be unfounded. In goes without saying that the 3.9-liter, twin-turbo lump is immensely powerful, serving up 670 horsepower (500 kilowatts) and 560 pound-feet of torque (760 Newton meters). Which translates to 0 to 60 miles-per-hour (0 to 100 kilometers-per-hour) of 3.0 seconds and a top speed of 205 mph (330 km/h).

Which is impressive, but what has surprised everyone is the responsiveness. Indeed, Ferrari claims the taps open fully in just 0.8 seconds, the same as a non-turbo engine would manage. Thank the flat-plane crankshaft and very clever blower control for that.

Inevitably, not everyone likes the noise, which Ferrari amusingly describes as a “performance soundtrack”. There’s no denying it’s not as operatic as the 458, a little flat and hollow. But it’s still spine-tingling. And let’s face it: most Ferrari owners spend very little time in the upper reaches of the rev range where the 458 really started to sing, so what does it actually matter?  

Anyway, here’s a neat little animation that shows exactly what’s going on and it’s pretty fascinating stuff. And below, there’s another explainer on the 488’s witchcraft-like chassis systems.