The Ferrari F8 Tributo made its debut today, a new mid-engine V8 Ferrari road car. Except it’s not all that new, as the bones of the thing go back to when everyone was getting laid off in the Recession.
Indeed, the F8 is a facelift/update/development/whatever you want to call it of the 2015 Ferrari 488, which was a facelift/update/development of the 2009 Ferrari 458. A Ferrari spokesman confirmed to us that yes, the F8 Tributo and the 458 share a platform.
Nobody thinks too greatly about the distinction between 488 and 458, as the later car was genuinely a major development, at least in terms of the engine, going from naturally-aspirated to turbocharged. That’s a real change to the character of the car.
By contrast, the F8 and the 488 are both turbo cars, the differences between then the new version has... yet more power. You’re basically getting the developments done to the 488 that made it into the limited-edition Pista, but in a regular production model.
Now, to be fair, this is typical of Ferrari’s mid-engine V8 cars. The vaunted Ferrari 355 was basically just a development of the 348, just as the 328 was of the 308 before it and the 430 was of the 360 after it.
And none of this is particularly off for this kind of car, either. The Audi R8 was virtually unchanged from 2006 to 2015, and even the “new generation” uses the same V10 engine as before. McLaren only facelifted the 2011 MP4-12C into the 650S, giving another almost identical production run up until the 2017 720S, which got a second-generation carbon tub and a bigger version of McLarens’ twin-turbo V8. Even that traces its roots back to Nissan’s Group C Le Mans racing engine from the late 1980s and early 1990s. Lamborghini at least gave the Gallardo replacement a new name along with a new chassis in 2014, though that older car had been in production since 2003 at the time. Ferrari has a few years until it makes it to that record.
I guess it’s something of a philosophical question: When is a car really new and when is it an update? Car companies never really want to make that distinction particularly clear.
All I can say is that the living dinosaurs of today’s car world are some of its most desirable, from the Toyota 4Runner (also 2009 to present) to this twice-updated Ferrari.
All-new doesn’t always mean better.