Last time I drove an F8 was in Fiorano.
You know Fiorano, the storied test track in Maranello, Italy, where all the greatest Ferraris over the last 50 years have been pushed to their limits in development. The red Tributo I drove there was fantastico around that track. There was no corner it feared nor favored, no length of straight, no braking zone, it handled everything Fiorano challenged it with and never faded.
As you also know, the F8 Tributo is a significant step up from the 488 that preceded it. While the aluminum chassis and suspension are largely carryover, the engine and aerodynamics of the body are significantly improved.
Specifically, the new twin-turbo gasoline direct injection 3.9-liter V8 under the Lexan lid of the Tributo gets the following (pay attention, there will be a test): lighter titanium connecting rods (43% lighter); a lighter crankshaft; lighter flywheel; lighter, smaller catalytic converters; reduced plenum size for improved transient response; shorter intake runners for better efficiency; new valve springs; hollow valves with more aggressive lift profiles; and new and lighter exhaust manifolds. The result is a quicker-revving engine that saves 40 pounds overall and offers improvements in both power and torque, from 661 hp to 710 and from 560 lb-ft to 568.
The best sounds of that engine are then piped directly into the cabin for your aural enjoyment.
Airflow over the body is improved just about everywhere. There are new panels on every surface except the doors and roof. The result is an increase in downforce of 10% while drag is likewise reduced—by 5%.
“Yes, yes,” you bleet while smashing your iPad on the bed post as your significant other looks on in horror. “What was it like to drive?”
Indeed, it was splendid.
On my day’s drive in Fiorano, believe it or not, I was able to play around with the F8 Tributo more than I felt comfortable doing during an entire week in LA. In the controlled confines of one of Italy’s most storied tracks there was plenty of runoff, and the turns themselves had enough wide pavement to encourage the tossing about of this $275,580 craft. Plus, I was secure in the knowledge that no one was going to come rumbling around the corner in a Landini farm tractor.
Thus, at Fiorano I found myself playing around with the F8’s Side Slip Control and Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer Plus as much as I wanted. Those two electronic programs basically allow you to slide the car around with seeming reckless abandon while oversteering with glee without fear of wadding the whole thing up into a lightweight (88 pounds lighter!) ball. And no one yelled at you for it. The F8 Tributo's Dynamic Enhancer works best with the “CT Off” switch engaged, but you could slide it around with it on, too. At least that’s what I seem to recall. In those situations the car remained easily controlled, its stability always within your grasp. You could send the rear end out and pull it back in like you were doing a yo-yo trick.