by Michael Butler
Ferrari seems to be on an unstoppable roll; its mid-engined V8-powered range of cars is on a relentless warpath, dedicated to destroying our perception of what the rear-wheel-drive two-door sports car is capable of. The F8 Tributo says it all in its name; it's a tribute to all the great mid-engined V8 supercars produced by Ferrari over the years, including the F40, F430 and 458. Not only is it stunningly beautiful, but it's powered by the most potent non-special edition V8 engine ever produced by Ferrari, and kicks out a massive 710 horsepower from its 3.9-liters of capacity. The F8 might be more relaxed than the ballistic 488 Pista, but it's all the better for it. It's comfortable to drive on a day-to-day basis and is still more than capable on the track. The F8 Tributo begs an important question, though; where will Ferrari go from here?
The evolution of the original 458 has come a very long way, and we're at a point in the evolutionary process where its successors are delivering hypercar levels of performance without the official title. The Ferrari F8 Tributo replaces the stunningly evocative 488GTB, which was praised for its visceral performance and stunningly good looks. The 488GTB took the fight directly to big dogs such as the McLaren 720S and the Lamborghini Aventador. With over 700 horsepower and an even more shapely body design, the Ferrari F8 Tributo is more capable than any of its predecessors, which is saying a whole lot.
Even on Ferrari's worst day, they still manage to design cars that evoke extreme emotions, and even faux-pas designs such as the Ferrari Pinin are winning over fans, decades after it was introduced as a one-off concept car. The F8 Tributo won't have any issues convincing people about its design; it's a universally accepted thing of beauty, and if wall posters were still a thing, it would be up there with the best. The F8 Tributo is an official bridge into a new design language for Ferrari, characterized by an S-Duct in the front that's been extensively reworked from the 488, and now provides 15% more downforce. New horizontal LED headlights adorn the front-end, and the new brake and cooling intakes are designed to increase airflow, allowing for a more compact and lighter brake system. The rear Lexan screen that showcases the monstrous V8 is a tribute to the Ferrari F40, with the louvers assisting in heat extraction. The rear spoiler wraps around the taillights and sees the return of the classic twin light cluster.
The mid-engined F8 Tributo sits wide and low, as any good supercar should - it combines a low curb weight and wide track to deliver electrifying acceleration and cornering grip. The F8 Tributo measures 181.5 inches in total length and sits 77.9-inches wide with a track measurement of 66/64.8 front/rear. Getting in and out of the F8 might cause a few hip and lower back issues, thanks to a maximum height of only 47.5 inches. Ferrari has made use of lightweight materials such as Lexan and carbon fiber to keep the curb weight down to a respectable 2,932 pounds.
Gone are the days when you could only get a Ferrari in red or yellow. The Ferrari F8 Tributo gets four categories of color options, namely solid, metallic, historic and special. The solid color selection includes classics such as Giallo Modena, the vibrant yellow that some find acceptable, the all-black Nero, and three types of red, consisting of Rosso Scuderia, Rosso Corsa, and Rosso Mugello. Metallic options include a soft gold hue named Grigio Ingrid and track tributes such as Grigio Silverstone, Nero Daytona, and Blu Abu Dhabi. The historic section pays tribute to Ferrari's motor sporting legacy. It features British Racing green, in this case, named Verde British, and the awesome Rosso Din, an orange that oozes 70s appeal. Special colors include the beautiful Blu Corsa And Bianco Cervino. What color would we go for? Red.
If Enzo was still kicking, he'd be in awe of just how good the F8 Tributo drives. It's in an absolutely different world to classics such as the 288 GTO or F40 and gives the word supercar an entirely new meaning. It's challenging to get an idea of the F8 Tributo's capability on civilian roads, all we can confirm is that a slight jab at the throttle will push you back in your seat, and merging with highway traffic feels more like going through a time warp. The F8 Tributo's true colors come out when you hit the track - everything feels sharp and more focussed, which is hard to believe as the car it replaces, the 488GTB, already felt telepathic in its response to driver input. The combination of a light curb weight and the most potent V8 that Ferrari has ever produced delivers an absolute rollercoaster ride of acceleration and braking force. Ferrari claims that the F8 Tributo will accelerate to sixty in a mere 2.9 seconds, reach 124 mph in 7.8 seconds and continue on to a top speed of 211 mph. This ballistic V8 will also lap the famous Fiorano track in only 1:22.5 seconds.
The F8 Tributo's engine and performance figures are big, and the real-world driving experience is even bigger. Even the name, F8 Tributo, pays homage to the Ferrari's long love affair with V8 engines, and the mid-engine layout. The 3.9-liter twin-turbo V8 lurking behind that louvered Lexan cover produces an eye-watering 710 hp at a heady 8000 rpm and 568 lb-ft of torque at 3250 rpm. Who said that turbocharged engines couldn't rev? This engine is officially the most powerful V8 engine for a non-special series car ever produced by Ferrari, and is not only a jewel in Ferrari's crown, but also won the Best Engine award at the International Engine of the Year awards three years running from 2016 to 2018. To top it all off, it was announced the best engine of the last two decades in 2018. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that reads your mind before you even get the chance to change gears - at least that's what it feels like. But, it has a tendency to shift up to higher gears around town, which can get frustrating when you've got a new Toyota Supra on your tail. Around town, and especially around the track, there is a distinct lack of turbo lag, which just adds to the freight train of acceleration produced by this powertrain setup.
Back when the 458 first appeared on the radar, journalists and owners alike were blown away by its magnificently balanced chassis and sheer capability. Since then, Ferrari has built on that, with the 488GTB being one of the best performing Ferrari's in recent memory, so the F8 Tributo has some seriously large shoes to fill, which it does without breaking a sweat. With more power, less weight to carry around, and improved aerodynamics, the F8 Tributo feels more like a race car when pushed, and is sharper and more dynamically capable overall. We were pleasantly surprised by the F8's ride quality around town: it feels every bit as comfortable as a German executive sedan, even over low-speed bumps. Out on the highway it offers GT-levels of comfort, thanks to its adjustable suspension setup with comfort mode. But it's out on the track where it shines the most. The slightest driver input is communicated to the road in the blink of an eye, and your facelift will be ruined before the F8 starts to show any sign of giving up grip. That being said, a jab at the throttle quickly throws out the rear-end, and the F8 will happily drift the entire length of any given track. Your move, Nurburgring.
We're treating this section as a sideshow, something to entertain you before you move on to more serious topics. The F8 Tributo is a 700 plus horsepower car that is capable of doing 211 mph and a zero to sixty sprint of under three seconds. It's powered by the most powerful V8 production engine ever produced by Ferrari and will melt the mascara off of most YouTube model's faces, so when it comes to fuel economy, that spells disaster, right? Right. The EPA gives a figure of 15/19/16 mpg city/highway/combined. To put that into perspective, a 6.2-liter V8 2020 Cadillac Escalade AWD will get 14/21/17 mpg. Ferrari took this dismal number into consideration when it fitted the 20.6-gallon fuel tank, which should, in theory, give the F8 Tributo a mixed range of 329.6 miles.
There's no mistaking the F8 Tributo's interior for any of the previous generation cars it's based on. The 2020 F8 gets an entirely redesigned cabin that retains the classic driver-orientated look of mid-engined Ferraris of old, but offers all the modern conveniences you'd expect from such a cutting-edge performance weapon. The mix of traditional switches, digital displays, and premium materials work well, and this is one of the best Ferrari interiors we've experienced. The redesigned steering wheel reminds us of the one found in the 812 Superfast but falls to hand better, and all steering wheel-mounted controls are easy to reach. The turbine-look air vents are wrapped in aluminum, and the door panels have also been touched. We love the optional passenger's side display, which offers navigation, speed, and other data figures.
Ferrari doesn't give any official interior dimensions for the two-seater F8 Tributo, but we found that there was enough head- and legroom for a six-foot-tall driver, but those with a size nine shoe or above might complain that the brake and acceleration pedal might be too close to each other. Ferrari offers the F8 Tributo with a choice of six-seat designs. The standard seats are comfortable but look suited more to a grand tourer than a supercar. Driving enthusiasts who are planning on taking their F8s on track should definitely opt for the racing carbon fiber seats. Not only do they look badass, but they'll keep you in place while pulling serious Gs around the track.
Don't think that just because the F8 Tributo feels like a pure-bred race car on the track that it has a stripped-out interior along the lines of the F40, which famously didn't even include interior door handles on some models. The F8 Tributo is adorned in brushed aluminum, leather, and carbon fiber and feels every bit as premium as any high-end German luxury or performance car. The F8 gets new cross stitching on its seats and leather-covered dashboard, and the air vents are surrounded in aluminum. Ferrari offers the F8 with 15 interior color options, including odd-ball choices such as Blue Sterling, Bordeaux Red, and Beige Tradizione. Stick with Nero or Charcoal and be on your way.
If you can afford an F8 Tributo, then there should surely be enough left in the bank for a Honda HR-V or Ford Explorer to park in a separate garage. We say this because the F8 Tributo was designed with aerodynamic performance and weight reduction in mind, and not to carry around your golf clubs or Ikea bedside table stands. So by now, it should be clear that you're not going to get much in terms of trunk space; but, with seven cubic feet on offer, the F8 Tributo can actually handle as much stuff as a lot of cars that are perceived to be more practical (like the Mazda MX-5 Miata).
Unlike cars of convenience, like the Kia Soul, the Ferrari F8 Tributo doesn't offer a whole lot of standard or even optional features. You get just enough to get by on a day-to-day basis, and that's perfectly fine with us. Ferrari offers the driver and passenger a set of comfortable leather bucket seats and an air conditioning system, and the driver gets a redesigned steering wheel with paddle shifters and audio controls. The center console also houses settings for the transmission, and the optional passenger info display gives those lucky enough to ride shotgun better insight into the functioning of the car and displays speed, rev, and navigation info. The on-road driving experience is silky smooth thanks to an adaptive suspension system, and the road ahead is lit up by a set of LED headlights.
The infotainment system on the F8 Tributo has been improved upon when compared to the 488GTB, and Ferrari has introduced a revamped Human Machine Interface, which makes interacting with the various knobs, switches and buttons feel more intuitive and responsive. The small displays that flank the large analog tachometer display infotainment info but seems like an afterthought when compared to some other performance cars in this category. The McLaren 720S, for instance, comes with a seven-inch high-resolution touch screen monitor as standard, as well as AM/FM and DAB radio integration, Bluetooth streaming, and aux input and voice control. In Ferrari's defense, they do offer an optional seven-inch display that gets mounted in front of the passenger and displays infotainment and performance data.
The Ferrari brand hasn't won any J.D. Power awards for reliability in recent years, but the F8 Tributo hasn't been at the receiving end of any recalls, either. The F8's predecessor, the 488GTB was recalled once in 2019 for a fuel system issue where the fuel vapor separator could crack and leak fuel, but this problem has been sorted out on F8 models. Ferrari covers the F8 Tributo with a number of maintenance plans, all curated to suit the needs of the driver and to best look after the wellbeing of this prancing horse. The general maintenance plan offered by Ferrari covers the first seven years of the F8's life and includes labor, original replacement parts, lubricants, engine oil and brake fluid. You can extend this plan to 15 years, and there are roadside assistance and end-of-life redemption plans available upon request.
Driving a car that can accelerate to sixty in under three seconds and go on to a top speed of 211 mph can easily get you into a lot of trouble very quickly, and one would hope that Ferrari put as much time into the safety of this car as it did when it was redesigning air intakes and deciding on the new cross-stitch pattern on the dashboard. Unfortunately, we'll never know exactly how safe the F8 Tributo is, as it hasn't been tested by either the NHTSA or the IIHS, as these institutions tend to shy away from killing thoroughbred horses and other exotic animals. That being said, we trust Ferrari enough to know that the F8 will keep its occupants pretty safe in case of a serious accident.
Unlike Volvo, Ferrari isn't big on bragging about its cars' safety features, but perhaps that's because there aren't a lot of them. What you do get are the modern basics such as ABS brakes, a reverse camera, and four airbags. As with most other supercars, the engine is designed to easily separate from the car in case of a serious accident to prevent injury and death due to fire. The advanced traction control system on the F8 Tributo is one of the best in its class and allows the driver to adjust the finest details of the car, including slip angle and the severity of the launch control. Couple that with a set of massive performance brakes and LED headlights, and you should be ready to enter the gates of Mordor or the Nurburgring unafraid.
Ferrari has cracked the code in recent years and has been consistently producing mid-engined V8 supercars that continually top most journalists and motoring professionals list of best driving cars in the world. The 458 set the benchmark for modern supercars when it was launched back in 2009, replacing the excellent F430. Since then, Ferraris 4-Series cars have grown from strength to strength, becoming sharper, faster, and more comfortable as time goes by. The F8 Tributo is at the forefront of that evolution, and it is better than the 488GTB it replaces in almost every way. It also has the awesomely cool bragging rights of being the most powerful production V8 powered Ferrari to have ever been built, producing a face-bruising 710 hp and 568 lb-ft of torque. Everything has been fettled on the F8, including aerodynamics, suspension setup, interior design, and engine. The McLaren 720s might be faster overall, but it can't touch the F8 Tributo in terms of responsiveness and emotion. What a time to be alive.
The old saying "you've got to pay to play" is more than apt in the case of the Ferrari F8 Tributo, which, at the time of writing, will set you back a smooth $293,480. That price might seem unattainable to the majority of humans living on planet Earth, but sounds like an absolute bargain when compared to the Ferrari 488 Pista, which will set you back around $350,000. One of the F8 Tributo's main rivals, the British-built McLaren 720S, goes for a more comparable asking price of around $300,000. The F8 Tributo will come close to the 488 Pista's base price if you start to delve into the optional extras bin.
The Tributo is a standalone model from Ferrari and joins the F8 Spider in the Ferrari lineup. It derives its name from the fact that it pays tribute to mid-engined, V8 powered Ferrari's of old, and features such as the round brake lights and louvered Lexan engine cover are a nod to classics like the F40 and 360 Modena. The latest F8 Tributo, which replaces the 488GTB, features a redesigned exterior with improved intake and brake cooling vents, an integrated rear spoiler, and L-shaped LED headlights. On the inside, the interior has also received a revamp and now features a new dashboard layout with cross-stitching on leather panels, rounded air vents wrapped in aluminum or optional carbon fiber, and an optional passenger-side infotainment display. The F8 Tributo starts off at $293,480.
3.9-liter Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
What would any Ferrari be without a myriad of optional extras? Ferrari offers a stunning amount of options for the F8 Tributo, most of which are appearance-based, but still, there's a lot of them. Starting with the exterior, new owners get to choose from 28 exterior paint colors, a carbon-fiber clad engine bay, a black-top bicolor paint job, as well as a selection of six-wheel designs and no less than five options of brake caliper color. The carbon-fiber exterior package adds carbon bits to the front splitter, side sills, and side intakes. If the sound of the standard exhaust system doesn't impress, you can opt for a titanium or full-on sports system. Inside the cabin, you can choose between six different seat designs and fifteen interior colors as well as nine carpet color options.
Since you only get to have the one model, we'll tell you how we would spec the F8 Tributo. Firstly, we'd go with either the classic Rosso Scuderia or Rosso Corsa exterior paint job (although Grigio Ferro or any other gray looks great) with the optional bi-color roof paint job, and exterior carbon and engine package. Sticking with the exterior, we would add the forged matte Grigio Corsa diamond-cut rims with Rosso Corsa brake calipers, and fit the sports exhaust system. Inside, we'd love the Daytona racing carbon seats in black, cover the insides in carbon fiber, and go for the Yellow rev counter.
The McLaren 720S is a stealth bomber. Sure it's radical styling, power figures, and price tag might tell a different story, but the way the 720S performs out in the real world will stun even the most seasoned of gearheads. It is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine producing an F8-matching 710 hp and 568 lb-ft of torque, which it produces higher up in the rev range. The McLaren is a lighter drinker, managing 15/22/18 mpg city/highway/combined, not that it's important here. What is important is the way the 720S makes use of its 710 hp: it feels faster than the F8, despite a matching 2.9 second zero to sixty time and 212 mph top speed. Where the McLaren trumps, the F8 is on the inside, where the Brit offers a vastly better infotainment system and overall practicality, but is no better in terms of offering any sort of usable cargo space. The 720S' Achilles heel is the fact that it doesn't feel as emotive as the F8 Tributo, a crucial element in any supercar. If you're a tech-head, get the McLaren, but if you want a more engaging driving experience, go with the Ferrari.
The 488 Pista is a direct descendant of mid-engined V8 Ferraris, such as the 360 Challenge Stradale and 430 Scuderia. The word Pista translates into track, which should give you a better idea of the 488 Pista's purpose. Power is provided by the same twin-turbocharged 3.9-liter V8 engine as found in the F8 and it also produces 710 hp and 568 lb-ft of torque. The Pista will match the F8's zero to sixty, zero to a hundred, and top speed numbers despite the fact that the Pista is nearly 200 pounds lighter. The Pista is a more focussed car, and sacrifices driving comfort and daily practicality for improved performance and faster lap times. Get the 488 Pista if you're going to do more track driving than street driving, and vice versa for the F8 Tributo.