The Ferrari 488 has always struck me as a bit of an afterthought. It’s a clear evolution of the utterly beautiful 458, but with strange angular bits that don’t work as well with the 458's curvaceous body. Now Japan will get the 488 we always deserved: a completely new, sleek design that truly works as a whole called the J50.
This footage from the Ferrari J50's unveiling proves once and for all that Japan still gets the coolest cars. The J50 celebrates Ferrari’s 50th year in Japan, so unfortunately, it’s yet another mad tight JDM special we won’t get.
We may still see elements of it appear in later cars, as Ferrari suggests the J50 is somewhat of a test car for Ferrari’s new design language. Good! The curved see-through polycarbonate over the engine is amazing to look at, and precisely the kind of bonkers visual feature a supercar like this should have.
It’s a very clever design, too, with Ferrari lead designer Andrea Militello pointing out the daytime running lights that are integrated seamlessly into a black strip that runs across the front and through the doors on the sides to an intake for the engine in this video. Its two carbon-fiber targa panels can fit behind the seats, Carscoops notes, should you prefer to be roofless. The bottom splitter also mimics the shape of a formula car’s front wing, too, without feeling like a tacky try-hard add-on.
Abandoning the 458's old vertical headlamps and going to a brand new, more futuristic body shape serves the J50 well. This is a Ferrari, man. The 488 shouldn’t have felt like a 458 with a bodykit. Frankly, it should have been this.