Perhaps the most surprising thing about the new Ferrari F8 Tributo is that, under the skin, it isn't that new. It's a significant revision of the 488, which debuted in 2015 and itself is a heavily modified 458. Just as a reminder, the 458 debuted 10 years ago. At the F8's Geneva Motor Show 2019 debut, I asked Ferrari chief technical officer Michael Leiters why the company decided to take this path.
I was a little puzzled by this decision because last year, Ferrari announced it was working on a new mid-engine architecture that can accommodate a hybrid powertrain. I assumed the 488's successor would ride on this platform, based on typical Ferrari lifecycles. Leiters, however, told me this platform will be reserved for a hybrid V-8 that'll sit above the F8 , with more of an emphasis on track performance. Today at the show, Ferrari CEO Louis Calmieri promised the hybrid will arrive in the coming months.
For something that's a little more focused on daily usability, Ferrari elected to forgo the power and torque boost of a hybrid system and instead, create something that sits between the 488 GTB and Pista.
It's also worth noting that Ferrari is also investing heavily in creating a new front-engine hybrid architecture for a whole host of new cars, including the Purosangue SUV. Updating an old platform presumably saves the company a lot of money it can invest elsewhere.
And besides, there's nothing wrong with the 488, Ferrari changed a good bit to make the F8. The 710-hp twin-turbo V-8 is lifted directly out of the 488 Pista, and its lightened rotating assembly accounts for a lot of the F8's 88-pound weight savings when compared with a 488 GTB. Its aero is inspired by that of the Pista's, with an S-Duct in the front hood to add downforce and a new carbon-fiber spoiler. Aerodynamic efficiency—which Leiters helpfully explained is a measure of downforce vs drag—is up 15 percent compared to the 488 GTB, though the F8 makes less downforce than a Pista.
Leiters also told me that while the suspension geometry is unchanged from the 488, the actual shocks and dampers are new, and their calibration is different too. There's also an electronic Dynamic Enhancer system that has a wider breadth of capability than before.
According to Leiters, we should expect to see a normal lifecycle for the F8 Tributo, which in Ferrari world, means about four years. By that point, it'll have fresh competition in the form of the Aston Martin Vanquish, and surely McLaren and Lamborghini won't be caught sleeping.
Oh and the name? Ferrari wanted to pay tribute to its 3.9-liter V-8.