In Depth

Ferrari F8 Tributo 2020 review: a fitting ‘tribute’ to the award-winning V8?

Critics get behind the wheel of the new mid-engined supercar as sales open

Ferrari’s latest entry-level supercar, the F8 Tributo, is now on sale. To mark its arrival, critics have been putting the mid-engined model to the test to see how it compares to the outgoing 488 GTB.

Unveiled shortly before the Geneva Motor Show in March, the F8 Tributo is designed to blend the everyday usability of the old 488 with a level of power surpassing that of the track-honed 488 Pista. 

The car’s name is a “tribute” to its 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 engine, which Car magazine describes as the “serial winner of International Engine of the Year gongs”.

Aside from a notable power upgrade, Ferrari has installed new particulate filters to the engine to meet strict European and Chinese emissions regulations, the magazine says. This has some fearing that the car’s engine note may be somewhat muted compared to its predecessor, as was the case with the current-generation Audi R8.

To see whether the new filters have taken away some of the supercar’s character, the critics have been driving it on the battered roads of rural Italy. Here’s what they have to say:

Reviews

Before stepping into the F8 Tributo, drivers will want to “take a moment” to appreciate the styling, says Autocar. Ferrari’s push towards better aerodynamics means the F8 Tributo “isn’t an elegant car in the traditional sense”, but there is “something very appealing about its overt visual aggression”.

There’s a similar sense of “focus” on the inside, the motoring magazine notes. “The low-slung driving position helps place you squarely at the centre of the action,” while the new - smaller in diameter - steering wheel means all the car’s controls are “within a finger or thumb stretch”.

Upon firing up the F8 Tributo’s 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 and heading out on to a stretch of Tuscan road, it becomes clear that the supercar is “softer” and “slightly less focused” than the 488 Pista, says Evo. It is, however, a “usefully well-balanced and predictable” alternative. 

The Tributo’s ride quality is “firm” yet “nicely rounded”, while the car’s steering provides “a good connection” to the road, the mag explains. “You don’t need to drive the F8 that hard to enjoy it” either as it’s a “refined, comfortable cruiser, too”. 

To ensure that the introduction of a new particulate filter doesn’t impact the V8’s signature bark, Ferrari has equipped the F8 Tributo with an “in-exhaust resonator” that naturally feeds the engine note into the cockpit, adds Evo. “And it works”, too, emphasising the character of the high-revving engine, a characteristic that was “lacking in the GTB and the Pista”.

Auto Express, however, argues that the Tributo “could’ve been even more special” given its name. While it is “rapid”, “capable and exploitable” courtesy of its complex driver-assistance systems, the car’s engine note “could be better” and the cabin is still “fussy” in spite of its redesign.

Nevertheless, the magazine says the car’s “evolutionary approach to performance is supremely enticing”, resulting in “another stunning Ferrari”.

Design

At first glance, the F8 Tributo’s design isn’t radically different to that of the outgoing 488 GTB. The air intakes behind the doors have been carried over from the previous model, as have the sculpted rear wheel arches and twin-exhaust system. 

Ferrari has also retained some elements from the track-focused 488 Pista, including the central pillar in the front bumper and the small air inlets ahead of the rear wing. The air scoop nestled in the bonnet is a further nod to the F8 Tributo’s sporty sibling, although the design has been toned down for the new model. 

More significant design tweaks can be found at the back of the supercar, however. Ferrari has replaced the 488 GTB’s twin tail-light cluster with a new quad LED design, while the rear window has three thin vents - presumably to keep the engine cool.

Interior and tech

Ferrari has completely overhauled the cabin and crammed in all the latest in-car gadgetry.

As Motor1 notes, passengers can access the car’s infotainment system via a 7in touchscreen. The system is nestled into the dashboard directly in front of them and should be almost invisible when not in use.

Other noteworthy changes are a new steering wheel design and circular air vents that replace the old car’s angular cooling vents, the US-based motoring site says.

Engine specs and performance

So how much power does the F8 Tributo offer? A lot, even by Ferrari’s standards. 

Under the vented rear window sits the same 3.9-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine as the 488 GTB, but the power output has been upped by 50bhp over there old model to a total of 711bhp, says Evo

All that power is sent to the rear axle through a “whip-snapping” seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, propelling the car from a standstill to 62mph in 2.9 seconds, the magazine reports. Ferrari claims that the newcomer can lap the company’s Fiorano test track in one minute and 22.5 seconds, which is 0.5 seconds faster than the 488 GTB and one second shy of the racing-inspired 488 Pista. 

How much will it cost?

Orders are open now, with prices starting at £203,476, according to Car magazine.

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