As stated in a recent email from a friend who owned a Ferrari 458 Italia for several years, “Twin-turbocharged 3.9-liter V8, approximately 660 horsepower. A 0-60 mph time that should be a shade under 3.0 seconds. And 0-125 mph (that’s 0-200 kph) in 8.3 seconds. The new Ferrari 488 is stunning, too. And thank God it’s not a hybrid! Gasoline-burning performance lives! I might need yet another Ferrari in my life.”
For those sensitive to the Ferrari myth and intrigued by business development, it’s important to note that the 488 GTB name follows the ancient pattern of V12 Ferraris, derived from the capacity of one cylinder: 488cc.
That’s a break from a numbering tradition going back to the first Dino Ferrari 206 and 246 road cars built between 1968 and 1976, and running up through the Ferrari-branded “Magnum, P.I.” 308 GTB, 348, and 458 Italia. In the Dino Ferrari tradition, the model number denotes overall displacement, and the number of cylinders. For the 458 Italia, that’s 4.5 liters, 8 cylinders. For the Dino 246, that’s 2.4 liters, six cylinders.
We wonder if this shift indicates a possible future sub-brand of smaller-engined Ferraris, which would allow Ferrari to expand production numbers without jeopardizing the profitable heart of the franchise, the mid-engine V8 cars.
If so, it’s a tricky line Ferrari would need to walk. It’s the Italia, and now the 488, that generates those much-publicized Ferrari wait lists, with residual values propped up by a pool of eager second-hand buyers who have not made “the list.”
For those not fully schooled in Ferrari lore, here’s the background. The Dino line of cars was named in honor of Enzo Ferrari’s son, Alfredo, who died of muscular dystrophy at age 24. “Dino” is the Italian diminutive of Alfredo, as is Alfredino. From his hospital bed, Dino described a small-displacement V6 to famed engineer, Vittorio Jano, who created the glorious Alfa Romeo sports cars before World War Two, and Lancias after the war. When the “Dino” engine was production-ready, Ferrari created the Dino line of small-displacement and lower-cost sports cars. When the Dino name was dropped in 1976, subsequent V8 mid-engine cars were simply branded as Ferraris, but they retained the Dino numbering system. For better or worse, Ferrari has dropped consistent of the old numbering system, and at times adopted confusing naming systems. I for one love the purity of the old numbering system combined with an evocative name.