While the F8 Tributo has been around in Malaysia for the past two years, this piece of Italian exotica still remains a potent force of attraction in its own right.
Since April 2019, a raft of new models have made their way to Naza Italia showrooms. The F8 Spider, 812 GTS convertible, Roma, SF90 Stradale and SF90 Spider have joined the flock to entertain the well-heeled.
Hybrids are in the product mix and Ferrari promises to deliver its first fully electric car by 2025 as it revs up for a future in sustainable mobility.
The Tributo has been heralded as the last of the traditional mid-engine line-up. It boils down to the need to comply with stricter emissions laws and electrification is seen as the answer to achieve that while wringing ever greater performance.
The SF90 Stradale plug-in hybrid is already proof of the pudding, outpacing the Tributo with its combination of turbo V8 and three electric motors.
The Tributo comes from a long line of mid-engined V8 Ferraris whose lineage dates back 45 years.
The Tributo iteration is bigger, lower, lighter and faster, making it a substantial upgrade over the 488 GTB it replaces.
Overall, its flowing curves results in a look that's aggressive yet elegant, underscored by a clean and functional design.
The front of the car features an S-Duct, first seen on the track-ready 488 Pista to increase downforce. The S-Duct alone contributes 15% to overall downforce.
The new, more compact, horizontal LED headlights allowed the use of new brake cooling intakes in combination with those on the outside of the bumper - the aim being to improve air flow throughout the entire wheelarch and thereby avoid having to increase the size of the braking system to cope with the car’s greater speed.
The car’s new styling also dictated how the rear of the car was shaped. Aside from the rear Lexan window made of a tough polycarbonate, the spoiler had been entirely redesigned. It is now larger and wraps around the tail lights, visually lowering the car’s centre of gravity and allowing a return to the classic twin light cluster and body-coloured tail.
As the name suggests, the car is the pinnacle of mid-engine V8 prowess and an ode to those that came before it. For example, the Lexan window over the engine has three louvres that's a nod to the F40, and helps channel engine heat out. The quad taillights, meanwhile, pay homage to the 308 GTB.
The bonnet hides a 200-litre storage space. It's not much but the deep hole should be able to take in some soft luggage for a couple on a weekend trip. Affixed to the backwall is a plaque listing the optional equipment that has been ordered with the car. It serves either as a bragging point or a constant reminder of how much cash was vacuumed out of one's bank account.
This test unit had an extensive list of options fitted that included suspension lifter, titanium exhaust pipes, carbon fibre trims, 7-inch passenger display, yellow brake callipers, Apple CarPlay and 20-inch forged wheels.
Ferrari has done away with the two-tone interior seen in the 488 and just made it a single colour with contrast seat stripes and stitchings that give the cabin a subdued look, complemented by round air vents, a new steering wheel and controls.
The optional carbon interior upgrade adds lashings of carbon fibre to the dash, steering wheel and central bridge and makes the interior pop.
The centre console houses two cupholders up front with one doubling as a key fob holder/display.Seats are not as hard as one might imagine; they are actually quite comfortable and supportive for a long drive with the seat bottom being broad and long to cater to different physiques.
Forward visibility is excellent, thanks in part to thin A-pillars but rearward view is limiting.
At the heart of the Tributo is the highly responsive engine shared with the 488 Pista. The 3.9-litre V8 turbocharged mill produces 710hp at 8,000rpm and 770Nm at 3,250rpm.
With a specific power output of 182hp per litre, it is one of the most powerful V8 in Prancing Horse history. Torque goes to the rear wheels via a 7-speed dual clutch gearbox that rows like a champ.
The car sprints from 0 to 100kph in 2.9s, blows past 200kph in 7.8s, and rockets to a 340kph top speed. It is in a word - f-a-s-t!
Driving the Tributo is not unnerving at all for anyone with half-decent driving skills.
All essential controls are on the steering wheel which offers high steering feedback and swift directional changes. It comes alive even at half throttle input.
Just point and blast off. Corners are tackled like a boss and side slip control enables the driver to oversteer confidently without meeting the embankment.
Turbo lag is absent and power is always available coupled with electronic nannies to stave off trouble.
The howling V8 is entertaining when pushed hard but it's not at the level of the primal scream a naturally aspirated engine such as the example in the 458 Speciale would vocalise.
A bumpy road control toggle switch aims to soften the impact in the cabin but you can still feel the tyres running over rutted surfaces albeit muted.
As much as the Tributo is meant to be driven like a road jet - and looks sharp doing so - it is civilised when made to potter along in city traffic.
Think of the Tributo as a more accessible and comfortable 488 Pista with some of its edgy credentials.
That couldn't be more agreeable.
Ferrari F8 Tributo
Engine: 3,902cc twin-turbo V8
Maximum power: 710hp at 8,000 rpm
Maximum torque: 770Nm at 3,250rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual clutch automatic
Features: Traction Control F1-Trac, Side Slip Control 6.1, Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer Plus, rearview camera, Rear Sensors and Rear Parking Aid, Tyre Pressure Monitor, Braking Assist and ABS, Manettino drive mode switch, start/stop button, leather upholstery, 4 airbags, automatic climate control, (optional features: suspension lifter, titanium exhaust pipes, carbon fibre trims, 7-inch passenger display, yellow brake callipers, Apple CarPlay and 20-inch forged wheels
Suspension: Independent,double wishbones(Adaptive Dampers) (front), independent,multi-link (Adaptive Dampers) (rear)
Acceleration (0-100kph): 2.9s
Acceleration (0-200kph): 7.8s
Top speed: 340kph
Fuel consumption (combined): 12.9 l/100km (WLTP)
Boot capacity: 200l
Price (base without duties and customisation options): RM1,068,000