An invitation to drive Ferrari’s sublime F8 Tributo on the roads around Maranello, and on track at Fiorano. It’s the dream ‘Save The Date’, right? 

Not wishing to brag, but we’ve kind of grown somewhat accustomed to driving Ferraris. Not long ago it was their Portofino. Before that, the 812Superfast. Earlier still, the GTC4Lusso. Thoroughbred Italians all, and each the perfect expression of Maranello’s desire to satiate the automotive desire of some very demanding segments of the automotive buying public. Yet, the thought of sliding behind the wheel of the new F8 got our pulse racing in wholly elevated way! 

The latest in Ferrari’s illustrious series of V8 sports cars – a line that stretches back to 1975’s 308GTB and takes in six others until it reached the 488GTB in 2015 – the F8 Tributo has at its heart the thrilling performance of the best engine of the past 20 years. These are not Ferrari’s words, neither are they our own journalistic hyperbole, instead they are a title conferred through its award as ‘International Engine of The Year’ time and time again. 

The twin-turbo V8 is the heart and soul of the F8 Tributo

Not ones to rest on their laurels, Maranello’s engineers took this highly praised motor, and made it even better. The F8 Tributo is, quite literally, a tribute to all (in particular the most recent of) Ferrari V8s. (Ferrari, 8-cyclinder, Tribute – get it?) 

Who is this car for? First and foremost – driving enthusiasts, and those who appreciate engine performance and great design. Ferrari predict this car will be mainly used as a second car – for weekends away or during free time. For sure, it doesn’t have the distance-munching comfort of the Superfast or GTC4Lusso – but it’s not intended to. This F8 is a close cousin of the Pista – and you know how radical that is! 

Yet, there is undeniably comfort – for both driver and passenger. The F8 cabin is, surprisingly, really rather capacious, and has the highest level of comfort for a mid-rear-engined Ferrari. 

Propelled by the most powerful V8 in Ferrari history – the 3.9 liter turbocharged F154 delivers 720 cv at 8,000rpm giving it a rather amgical 185 cv per liter – the highest specific power of any internally combusted Ferrari. Also, and we can now attest to this ourselves, it is delivered with no turbo lag. Not ‘nearly no turbo lag’, nor ‘reduced turbo lag’, but, actually, zero turbo lag. You will not know you’re driving a turbo. Fact. 

Add to this (or, rather, subtract) a 10% drop in aerodynamic drag over the previous 488GTB, and you’ve got the recipe for one hot car. 

Drivability is enhanced – another reduction, this time of 40kg vs the 488GTB – goes a long way to contributing to this. As does the new Sideslip Control 6.1 with Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer. What’s the deal here? You’ll find out through its delivery of more confidence on the limit. A steering wheel of reduced diameter adds to precision of placement on the road. 

Aesthetically, the F8 is a genuine Ferrari Berlinetta. A new clean and essential front design integrates efficient aerodynamic solutions, and a powerful rear design recalls legendary V8 Ferrari sports cars of the past – there’s even a nod to the F40 in this new car’s lightweight rear and louvered screen. 

Performance figures are spot on – 100kmh is reached in a mind-bending 2.9 seconds, and 200 in just 7.8. That’s a full half second quicker than the hardly-aged 488GTB! 

Take your first close-up look at the F8 Tributo, then check back next month for our full drive review.