2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo First Drive Review

What’s in a name? Quite a lot in the case of the new Ferrari F8 Tributo launched at this spring’s Geneva Motor Show and on sale this winter at for delivery.

“There was space to do a new 488 for the customers of the 488 GTB,” says Raffaele de Simone, Ferrari’s chief test driver, “there were enough new parts and know how. We had an opportunity to open a gap in which we can work and use.”

As well as the 488 Pista’s tweaked camshaft profiles with more valve lift and duration and more advanced ignition timing, there are unique inlet tract and inlet plenum changes to smooth the F8’s power delivery.

Out on the road the ride is a lot better than that of the 488 Pista, there’s compliance in there and long legs. With softer damping algorithms, but the same spring rates as the 488 Pista, the F8 creates more yaw in the turns, which makes it perhaps less of an ultimate track car, but more entertaining. De Simone explains the aim was to allow owners to change from the 488 GTB to the F8 without having to readjust … much.

It’s in the details that the car falls down, however. At the rear round tail lamps are back and the lines are cleaned up, which is fine. But that F40-style, louvered Lexan engine cover looks odd, the headlamps don’t fit in the wing cut-outs, the door handles recall disposable plastic spoons, and the way the coachwork curves round the rear of the cockpit looks as though the car’s wearing a winter shawl. Overall this is a handsome whip, but Pininfarina had a better grasp of detail.

Regardless, the F8 ticks all the boxes – it’s very fast, very cool, and very super – even if it doesn’t have the charisma of the old 458 Italia. Given the regulatory climate, it’s as good as the it can be right now. But with Ferrari’s 1,000 hp SF90 plug-in hybrid now under development, however, one can’t help feeling that this might be the swan song for the old conventional flat-plane-crank Ferrari models.  Others seem to think so, too: