Magic 8 Ball [COTY2019] : Ferrari F8 Tributo

By davidkhoo, 11 February 2020

With a storming twin-turbo’d sportscar like the F8 Tributo – or any Ferrari for that matter – you won’t be able to humblebrag your way out of all the attention you’ll be getting.

(Click HERE to read our first drive of the Ferrari F8 Tributo)

And why should you? It’s probably through hard work – the hard work of building a business, or possibly the hard work of an inheritance that got you into a position to turn its wheel in anger, so be #thankful #grateful #blessed once (or twice, if you really, really must), and then use your inside voice the rest of the time.

Is there a point to posting-and-preaching? After all, most people are content to look at nice pictures of food, scenery, cars and watches because it gives us ideas and inspiration, but we could probably do without the corresponding humblebrag message. Some quarters even regard being haolian as more acceptable than humblebragging, because at least it’s honest.

The social media culture has promoted everyone (if only in their minds) to ‘influencer’ status, although having your friends and acquaintances thumbs-up your posts sort of dilutes the purpose, because these posts are supposed to go publicly viral... like the influenza.

Ferrari is one of those brands whose social media persona is far larger than life, and this is a crying shame, because if you think that’s impressive, wait till you drive one.

Before even turning a wheel in anger, the sheer force of the aura that accompanies being in the presence of any Ferrari quickly silences strenuous objections, especially from contrarian holier-than-thou types that pooh-pooh exotics. It’s always satisfying to hit the ‘engine start’ button on the steering wheel to awaken the F8 and have the furious V8 drown out the critics.

(Click HERE to read our intro to the 2019 Cars of the Year)

It really isn’t difficult to find good things to say about any Ferrari and that’s why we always seem to find an excuse to include one in our annual Cars of the Year. The Prancing Horse isn’t in the habit of launching trim specials or mild variations of ageing five-year-old models; even though the F8 sits on the same platform as the 488 (and 458), it drives and looks different enough to feel like a new car.

As the brand charts a course into the future with hybrid petrol-electric models like the SF90 Stradale leading the charge, the F8 Tributo’s design is a throwback blast from the past, even though to drive, it’s more a blast of the fast.

The ‘Tributo’ in the F8’s moniker celebrates the long line of mid-engined V8s that spans the 308 GTB right up to the 488 GTB, but also specials like the 288 GTO and F40.

The F8 sees a return to the classic rear ‘afterburner’ quad-taillights up to just before the 458 and 488, although we should qualify that the GTC4Lusso and 812 Superfast now feature quad-taillights as well.

It gets the ‘breather’ nostril slits in the lightweight Lexan engine exhibition cover too, just like on the legendary F40. The circular theme continues in the cabin, with turbine-style air-con vents instead of the rectangular ones from the 458 and 488.

Like the current Ferraris, the F8 ‘includes’ the passenger in the thrill of driving with the ‘passenger display’, a flush-fitted ‘strip’ of touchscreen LCD on the passenger side that shows road-trip relevant info, such as waypoints, multimedia interface and manettino settings.

The Pista-derived 3.9-litre V8 caged at the heart of the F8 Tributo produces a McLaren 720S-rivalling 720hp and 770Nm, all of which is good for a 0-100km/h of under 3secs and 340km/h top speed. Compared to the Pista’s shredding 8000rpm peak though, the version in the F8 peaks at a less frenetic but no less thrilling 7000rpm.

Long story short, the engine’s performance is angrier than a germophobe whose face you’ve just open-mouth coughed into. At cruising speeds, the pace can be sedate, docile even, until the red mist descends, and then the rage builds almost instantly in a blaze of searing heat that burns away all that is ‘sedate’.

The F8’s steering is scalpel-sharp as you carve up corners, with a chassis that reacts to changes in steering, throttle and brake inputs with alacrity and far more verve than the 488 GTB it succeeds.

However, I would hesitate to ever use the word ‘easy’ on such a thoroughbred machine, because this does a disservice to any sportscar brand. If something is easy to drive, you’re probably not driving it hard enough.

Part of the thrill of fast driving comes from the trepidation you feel when you’re pushing the lateral gs, and not just busting the 200km/h barrier and thinking it’s a big deal.

The F8 may share the Pista’s engine and feature an evolution of the Pista’s cutting-edge aero, but it is a far more civilised machine than the hardcore Pista. It’s always perfectly poised, sublimely balanced, but also suited to daily drive sensibilities, because it is more of a successor to the 488 GTB than 488 Pista rival.

The F8 features Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer Plus (FDE+), an evolution of the excellent Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer (FDE) that made its debut in the 488 Pista. In the Pista, the FDE is engaged only in the ‘CT Off’ manettino setting (or one level away from the white-knuckled ‘ESC Off’), but for the F8, FDE+ is in play in ‘Race’, and doesn’t require the driver to deactivate the car’s stability systems.

FDE+ is engineered to help drivers reach the car’s grip limits safely and progressively, especially when indulging in some gratuitous sideways fun. Don’t be mistaken into thinking FDE+ will keep you out of trouble, because you’ll still need to work at – to put it bluntly – not crashing.

It’s great that Ferrari bucks the silly trend of ever-thicker-girthed steering wheels that masquerade as ‘sporty’, because its slim-rimmed steering requires only a light grip and deft hand to control and gather up the car, especially when you’re slithering dramatically sideways.

The F8’s magic is in the manner it combines beautiful, classical Ferrari design elements with motorsports-derived aerodynamics and an award-winning V8 in a wonderfully-balanced package that guarantees a ball of a time to the driving enthusiast.

PHOTOS Vanq

FERRARI F8 TRIBUTO
Engine 3902cc, V8, twin-turbo
Power/rpm 720hp/7000rpm
Torque/rpm 770Nm/3250rpm
Transmission 7spd F1 dual-clutch
0-100km/h 2.9secs
Top Speed 340km/h
Fuel Consumption tba
CO2 tba

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