We can’t hide that the small town of Maranello is the home of Ferrari. You don’t have to go far to see a Ferrari flag hanging from a window. The sun of northern Italy often takes on some of the color (red and yellow) of weathered materials.
Workers walk out of the factory in bright red overalls, arguably some of the most sought-after work clothes in the automotive world. The Tributo could be the last in a long line for Ferrari.
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Maranello is also a hotspot for fans of the brand, car enthusiasts and Ferrari owners. Anyone can drive to town, visit the Ferrari Museum, including a tour of the factory, and snap their winnings on expensive merchandise including parts from old Formula 1 cars, a true Ferrari experience for true believers. By believers we mean those who have spent their money to “join the family”.
Ferrari keeps large factory tours for owners or VIPs only. Likewise, access to Fiorano, Ferrari’s private race track, is restricted to staff and owners. The 30-kilometer track that houses Enzo Ferrari’s old farmhouse in the middle was once used to test F1 cars, but nowadays it’s mostly road cars that run through it. Ferrari using lap times as a benchmark to demonstrate improvements to the model.
With apartment buildings perched on some sides, some really tough turns and bumps, it’s a story packed circuit packed in every corner. Even if you own a Ferrari, the only way to drive the Fiorano is to participate in one of the two-day Pilota Ferrari courses at 8,500 euros.
A fitting tribute to the V8
The Tributo has been described by Ferrari as “the last of its line”. A line that includes some of Ferrari’s most iconic models, such as the 308, F355, 458 and 488. All have that classic two-seater mid-engine with a V8 that makes noise and ensures rapid progression.
While Ferrari isn’t ditching its V8s in a rush, it is expected that future versions will be assisted by electric motors as part of a hybrid system. For now, it’s the purity of the Tributo, which uses a well-known 3.9-liter twin-turbo V8, that has won several international Engine of the Year awards.
On slippery ground
The pouring rain isn’t the best way to get to know the latest addition, especially when blasting away at 200 km / h in one of Ferrari’s most revered places. Fortunately, there’s a wet mode that does a great job of keeping things straight and responsive, gently pulling on the power to manage the grip available.
As the track shows hints of drying, Sport mode becomes more useful, making it easier to access the full power of 530 kW, albeit with some snakes and slips, as the rear tires lose the battle against what is a powerful V8.
A v8 unleashed
But it is on the roads around Maranello that the F8 Tributo demonstrates its substantial talents. This is where the immense pulling force of the 3.9-liter twin-turbo V8 makes it quick and comfortable to drive. From 2000 rpm, there’s plenty of muscle and the engine digs deep for exhilarating, effortless thrust.
While the rumble of the exhaust is still present (as well as the rubbing noises as the turbos suck in air) it becomes more ominous as the revs rise.
The race to the 8,000 rpm limit is when things get really exciting and the engine’s real talent is brought to the fore. It’s a prodigious engine, which runs at full throttle and propels the two-seater body with the passion befitting the prancing horse badge.
It is claimed that at 100km / h, it takes 29 seconds to reach a top speed of 340km / h. It’s fast, at any speed.
On all roads
Despite its astonishing mid-engine and impressive looks, the F8 Tributo also fits beautifully into everyday traffic. The suspension is taut and tuned for quick hits around a race track.
It also does a surprisingly good job of handling bumps, quickly tuning and removing road monstrosities and helping to divert power from the V8. A “bumpy road” mode smooths things out even more and makes this supercar easy to drive.
Although this is a new model, the F8 Tributo also shares many traits with the 488 (and the 458 before it). Windows, roof and doors are the same, for example. And the engine uses the melody developed for the 488 Pista, the faster, track-oriented version. But the conception intensified.
Four taillights give direction to the F355, while the rear window made of Lexan (a lightweight plastic) has slits reminiscent of the legendary F40.
The more advanced aerodynamics incorporate a hole in the hood called the S-Duct, which is designed to reduce drag while pushing the nose towards the ground for better grip. It all adds up to a superb blend of heritage, style, technology and raw mechanical rhythm in a Ferrari that has managed to raise an already high bar.
The waiting line
One thing Ferrari does brilliantly is create excitement for its new models. And it’s no different with the F8 Tributo.
The queues are already around 12 months long, which is not bad for a car priced at around 436,000 euros. Even then, you have to pay extra for the basics included in mainstream cars. This includes a rear view camera and Apple’s CarPlay connectivity.