- Missile acceleration
- Quick cornering
- Bumpy-road mode
- Wooden brakes
- Too-light steering feel
- Looming snap oversteer
In reviewing the 2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo with proper clarity, there is a need to go back a few years and admit with mild chagrin that our 2017 Best Driver’s Car-winning Ferrari 488 GTB might have been a ringer. This goes beyond Ferrari sending four factory techs to work day and night to be sure everything ran perfectly. (By contrast, Porsche traditionally sends Frank the PR guy, who watches the Italian antics with mild amusement.)
Rather, the 488’s testing numbers we posted were more akin to what the 661-hp GTB would have produced had it been chipped to 800 hp. And well-placed sources with deep connections say that might indeed have been the case. But what’s that the old salts say? “If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’.” It would be far from the first time a manufacturer sent a hot car to a motoring magazine’s shootout. Hey, innocent until proven guilty, right?
2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo: One Scary Stallion
Fast forward to this year’s contest, and witness the 488’s spiritual successor, the F8 Tributo. It’s lighter, and it has more power. But is it faster? Not according to our test numbers, where the old 488 GTB was quicker to 60 mph, neck and neck at the quarter, and quicker around the figure eight with a much higher average g load. Plus, it turned an astonishing 0.6 second quicker lap time around Laguna Seca raceway.
The F8 Tributo had issues, too, the most serious of which being its wooden brakes (not our first experience in a Ferrari) that required a trackside rebuild—an estimated $20,000-plus fix at your neighborhood Ferrari dealer. Then, after an incomplete bedding-in by a Ferrari tech, the F8 had mild-mannered pro racer Randy Pobst swearing a blue streak as he blew through Laguna Seca’s crucial Turn 11 and into the gravel trap.
So what’s the deal with the F8 Tributo? “Intermittent thrills and chills followed by clenched teeth and relief,” road test editor Chris Walton said. “This was the only car that spooked me at Laguna Seca.”
The F8’s super-quick steering ratio, combined with its too-light steering feel, prompted some nervy moments when aiming for the apex. Pobst’s answer: CT-Off mode, where the nannies still deliver a we-got-this reassurance to the driver.
Features editor Scott Evans also took issue with corner-exit traction: “Leaving a tight corner with any gusto felt like dancing on a landmine. The car can’t put the power down when there’s any steering in it. You’re asking for snappy power oversteer. No thanks. This car feels dicey when you push it all the way.”
However, going fast in a straight line to impress your passenger is something the Ferrari missile does very well, senior features editor Jonny Lieberman said, adding that the dual-clutch transmission shifts “like a buttered hummingbird” and that the column-mounted carbon-fiber paddle shifters are a tactile delight.
Once off-track, everyone praised Ferrari’s “bumpy road” driving mode, which turns freeway expansion joints and big rig-induced chop into afterthoughts.
2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo: Quiet Riot
Some judges were underwhelmed by the F8’s rather tame engine and exhaust notes. There was no shrieking, no sound of shredding paper. Just a humdrum thrum. Even during Pobst’s hot laps, the Ferrari didn’t blow up the track’s 92-dB sound meter; the Lamborghini did it in fifth-gear coasting at 60 mph. This impacts the driver, as well, as there is no aural hint that the engine is approaching redline—thank goodness for the shift-alert lights mounted in the steering wheel rim.
And although this exotica comes with an expectedly steep price tag (the F8’s $277,480 base price roared up to $386,288 with options), we couldn’t determine which was the worse price gouging: charging $34,000 for carbon-fiber wheels (also part of a big $18,500 package on the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500—the wheels are made by the same supplier, too) or $4,200 for Apple CarPlay compatibility (a feature that’s baked into the price of a Kia). In looking at the total package, we advise you to do the math.
|POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS||2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo|
|DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT||Mid-engine, RWD|
|ENGINE TYPE||Twin-turbo 90-deg V-8 alum block/heads|
|VALVETRAIN||DOHC, 4 valves/cyl|
|DISPLACEMENT||238.1 cu in/3,902 cc|
|POWER (SAE NET)||711 hp @ 7,000 rpm|
|TORQUE (SAE NET)||568 lb-ft @ 3,250 rpm|
|WEIGHT TO POWER||4.8 lb/hp|
|TRANSMISSION||7-speed twin-clutch auto|
|SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR||Control arms, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar|
|BRAKES, F;R||15.7-in vented, drilled, carbon-ceramic disc; 14.2-in vented, drilled, carbon-ceramic disc, ABS|
|WHEELS, F;R||9.0 x 20-in; 11.0 x 20-in, carbon fiber composite|
|TIRES, F;R||245/35R20 95Y; 305/30R20 105Y Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 KR|
|TRACK, F/R||66.0/64.8 in|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||181.5 x 77.9 x 47.5|
|TURNING CIRCLE||38.7 ft|
|CURB WEIGHT||3,398 lb|
|WEIGHT DIST, F/R||41/59%|
|SHOULDER ROOM||NA in|
|CARGO VOLUME||7.1 cu ft|
|ACCELERATION TO MPH|
|PASSING, 45-65 MPH||1.2|
|QUARTER MILE||10.5 sec @ 139.3 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||98 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||1.06 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||22.8 sec @ 0.93 g (avg)|
|2.2-MI ROAD COURSE LAP||92.27 sec|
|TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH||1,250 rpm|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$386,288|
|AIRBAGS||4: Dual front, front side/head|
|BASIC WARRANTY||3 yrs/Unlimited miles|
|POWERTRAIN WARRANTY||3 yrs/Unlimited miles|
|ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE||3 yrs/Unlimited miles|
|FUEL CAPACITY||20.6 gal|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON||15/19/16 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||225/177 kWh/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||1.17 lb/mile|
|RECOMMENDED FUEL||Unleaded premium|