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A turbo-charged Ferrari sounds just as good.

Dubai: In the rarefied world populated by high-performance pricey sports cars, that a Ferrari can only have a naturally aspirated engine is a byword. How else can it serve up that delicious sound fest -- an orchestral flourish, some would say -- that its engines have given off over the years? Well, those assumptions have to make do with a major revision, courtesy the 488 GTB -- the replacement to the 458 Italia.

The 488 is served by twin turbo-charger that sure adds quite a punch to to the 3.9 litre V8 engine. It has just been introduced in the UAE and featuring a sticker price from around Dh900,000. (It had the first unveiling in Geneva during March.)

But how will the legions of Ferrari fanatics -- and there are quite a few of them here -- take the carmaker's switch to turbo-charge? Aren't they likely to feel just a shade underwhelmed by the fact alone? Isn't turbo-charging more for the volume manufacturer brigade?

Giulio Zauner, general manager of Ferrari Middle East and Africa, swats all such sentiments aside.

"All the initial feedback we have received to date has been extremely positive. With the new V8 in the 488 GTB, we exploit the benefits of turbo technology (that is, [the] compactness and fuel efficiency) to the utmost, but combine it with the typical Ferrari engine attributes that our clients expect, such as instant throttle response, blistering performance, increasingly powerful pick-up through the rev range and an exhilarating soundtrack.

"This is the first time Ferrari has been able to combine the characteristics of its naturally-aspirated engines with the advantages of turbo -- something no one else has ever achieved before.

"We have thus achieved the kind of performance which is central to Ferrari's philosophy and to our customers' expectations, not just in terms of outright performance combined with low emissions, but most importantly, in reference to our exacting requirements regarding throttle response [close to zero turbo lag], very high maximum revs [8,000 rpm], acceleration through the gears and in-gear acceleration at any speed."

In a like-for-like comparison of minutiae with the 458, the 488's 661-hp is 100-hp more, but with a claimed 18 per cent lower rate of emission, which is where the turbo-charging kicks in. And keep in mind the 458 sports a 4.49-litre engine against the 3.9-litre displacement on the 488.

On the acceleration front, the 488 does the 0-100 km/h in three seconds, and the 0-200 km/h in 8.3 seconds. The top speed has been set at 330km/h.

So, with the turbo-charging of the 488, will Ferrari be having it as a standard?

"Turbocharging as a technology has been part of our engineering heritage for many years, starting in Formula 1 in 1981, then with legendary road cars such as the GTO of 1984 and the F40 of 1987, and it is now again at the heart of our F1 single-seater," said Zauner.

"Turbocharging was adopted on our V8s -- California T and now 488 GTB -- with the specific aim of achieving even more extreme performance, with the additional benefit of contemporaneously lowering fuel consumption and emissions.

"Our philosophy since 1947 has always been to explore all engineering solutions that help us achieve standards of excellence and constantly push the performance envelope.

"With our existing naturally-aspirated V12 powerplants, there is still a lot of development work we can do to increase mechanical and combustion efficiency to improve performance even further. Going forward, there is more than one solution we are looking at for the V12.

"Don't forget that we have already successfully introduced our first ever V12-engined hybrid, LaFerrari, which uses a naturally-aspirated V12 producing 800 CV for a combined output of 963 CV. [That's] an astonishing achievement, especially in the light of a C02 figure of just 330 grams per kilometre without full electric drive."

Clearly, Ferrari is giving a lot of thought to its green credentials. With a little bit of help from the odd turbocharger or two.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Apr 29, 2015
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