LOTS IN A NAME FOR MARANELLO’S SALUTE TO PAST

Model

NATHAN PONCHARD

Model Ferrari F8 Tributo

Engine 3902cc V8 (90°), dohc, 32v, twin-turbo

Max power 530kW @ 7000rpm

Max torque 770Nm @ 3250rpm

Transmission 7-speed dual-clutch

Weight 1435kg

0-100km/h 2.9sec (claimed)

Economy 12.9L/100km

Price $484,888 (estimated)

On sale February 2020

UNPREDICTABILITY. That is the driving force behind modern-day Ferrari, in order to keep its competitors, as well as its customers, guessing as to what is coming next. And it’s the exact reason why the new F8 Tributo exists. Because arguably no-one expected it to.

Building on the bones of its 488 GTB predecessor (they share doors, glasshouse, roof and underlying structure), the F8 is so comprehensively made over it could almost be a new car.

A huge amount of work went into improving its aerodynamic efficiency (by 10 percent) and thermal efficiency (lowering the temperature of the air entering the engine by 15 degrees), while stylistically making the ‘tribute’ aspect of the F8’s new name mean something. Cue the F1-derived ‘S-duct’ at the front (as per 488 Pista and FXX-K Evo), a super-cool rib-vented engine cover (à la F40) made from lightweight Lexan, new quad rear tail-lights (channelling the F355 and 288 GTO), plus a new ‘blown’ rear spoiler design that increases downforce by fully 25 percent.

The 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 is clearly a 488 handover, though with 50 percent new parts, it’s now essentially the titanium-filled 488 Pista donk with revisions aimed at increasing power despite the addition of two Euro 6d-compliant gasoline particulate filters at the rear of a new exhaust system. The air intakes have shifted from the rear flanks to either side of the rear spoiler, and there’s a new Inconel exhaust manifold with reduced back pressure, new valves and springs, a different cam profile, and a 17 percent drop in inertia thanks to lighter components.

Power is up from 492 to 530kW at 7000rpm, torque by 10Nm to 770Nm at 3250rpm – which, combined with a 40kg drop in weight, gives the F8 Tributo a thrilling spring in its step. Engine sound has swollen, aided by a ‘hot tube’ resonator amplifying engine harmonics.

Tractable from barely 1100rpm, with turbo lag banished, the Tributo’s bent-eight gains a lusciously gnarly edge in its 3000-4000rpm mid-range before exploding from six grand to the new ‘wall-effect’ 8000rpm cut-out. It’s here, in the V8’s rapacious upper reaches, that the Tributo’s searing 7.8sec 0-200km/h time and 340km/h top speed is rammed home through the seven-speed dual-clutch ’box.

Quicker steering and a superb-tohold, smaller-diameter wheel make the F8 feel hyper-keen yet still progressive, and its chassis rides better than a 488 GTB’s (and some of its more expensive brethren in ‘bumpy road’ mode) while approaching the 488 Pista’s sublime poise and grip.

You kind of expect all that in a modern Ferrari: fast as all get-out and an absolute riot. What I wasn’t prepared for is how accomplished the F8 Tributo is as a day-to-day runner. Its all-new, 812-inspired interior is brilliant, as is its driving position, and its ride comfort on low-profile 20s is remarkable considering the vastness of its cornering talent.

Cocooned in the F8 Tributo’s beautifully crafted cabin, feeling the surge of its colossal powertrain, and marvelling at how far Italian electronics and user-interface systems have come, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate four decades of Ferrari’s mid-engined V8 sporting heritage. Here’s hoping there’s a few more years left in the spiritual tank.

NATHAN PONCHARD

PLUS

Driveability; brilliant dynamics; polished makeover of an already-fantastic sports car

MINUS

Wind noise from frameless side windows at speed; will never sound as good atmo ancestors

the facelifts

Was Was it it worth worth all all the the effort? 

LEXUS RX RANGE

WHAT’S NEW?

Plenty, given it’s more of a reskin with carryover powertrains rather than a simple facelift. Chassis tune, body stiffness, third-row seating and equipment have all had serious attention.

HAS IT WORKED?

Almost certainly. For many, the mere inclusion of a touchscreen, allowing you to ignore the fiddly Remote Touch, will be a small revelation.

AUDI Q5

WHAT’S NEW?

A cabin that appears to be pretty much lifted from the updated A4, so a 10.1-inch touchscreen, and a binning of the rotary command knob and touchpad.

HAS IT WORKED?

That’s just the start. More significant is that a plug-in hybrid will join the line-up, boasting 243kW/500Nm, with its 14.1kWh battery allowing an electric-only range of 42km.

RENAULT KOLEOS

WHAT’S NEW?

Right, stay awake. The bumpers have extra full-length chrome bits and revised skid plates, front seats are improved, and the rear backrest has a two-position recline function.

HAS IT WORKED?

Given the engine line-up – the mediocre 2.5-litre atmo petrol and meh 2.0 turbodiesel – remains unchanged, we’d say not really. More effort required.