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The Ferrari 458 is widely regarded as one of the best Ferraris, and best sports cars, ever made. It's beautifully styled, perfectly balanced and powered by a 4.5 liter, V8 that produces scorching power and a symphony of classic Ferrari growls and whines.
This past fall, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne told CNBC that of all the Ferraris he owns, the 458 "is the best car that God ever created."
So it's something of a risk for Ferrari to tinker with the divine and unveil a new 458. Even riskier: the car's naturally aspirated engine has been replaced with a (gasp!) turbo, which have long been sacrilege to Ferrari purists.
New emissions requirements and regulations around the world have led Ferrari to reinvent the turbo engine. The California T has a twin-turbo engine and has gotten rave reviews. Now Ferrari is turbo-charging the beloved 458, the latest in Ferrari's 40-year lineage of rear-engine V8s.
The result is the Ferrari 488 GTB. Ferrari promises that the car "provides track-level performance that can be enjoyed to the fullest even by nonprofessional drivers in everyday use." And "Its response times, nimbleness and on-the-limit driving guarantee a unique sense of exhilaration and unparalleled driving pleasure."
About those response times: The 488 GTB does 0 to 60 in three seconds flat. Even though the engine is smaller than the 458's, it can put out 660 horsepower, compared to the 562 hp for the 458. It's also lighter than the 458 and a bit longer and wider, making it more agile on the track.
The new 488 delivers all of that at as many as 20 miles per gallon, more than 15 percent more fuel efficient than the 458.
Ferrari afficionados will no doubt bemoan the turbo. And there's talk that the existing 458s will surge in value as traditionalists mourn the loss of their beloved naturally aspirated Ferrari V8 engine.
But remember, this is a Ferrari turbo. So Ferrari promises that it will sound like a Ferrari and feel like a Ferrari.
But for all the gearhead debates about the power plant, the most important piece of news with the 488 is the styling. It's clearly a descendant of the 458, with its swooping front end and graceful side curves. But the 488 is more aggressive and, well, just badder, with a big front splitter and two massive air intakes just behind the doors. All those air intakes give the 488 bigger shoulders and a more menacing grin, compared to the 458's eager smile.
Ferrari hasn't released a price, but it will probably be similar to that of the 458, in the neighborhood of $250,000.
As to what the Great Sports Car Builder in the Sky has to say about the 488, we'll have to wait until it launches in Geneva next month.
CORRECTION: This version deleted an incorrect description of the LaFerrari's engine.