The focus is equally evident inside: the low-slung driving position helps place you squarely at the centre of the action, while there’s the familiar cowled rev-counter flanked by the TFT dials and new, smaller-diameter steering wheel that houses all the major controls within a finger or thumb stretch. The deep and wide windscreen gives a great view forward, while the minimalist layout of the dashboard reinforces the sense of lightness. That’s not to say this is some stripped-out special; the acres of soft leather and artful slivers of carbonfibre mean this is an interior that exudes class.
How does the F8 Tributo perform on road and track?
Press the wheel-mounted red starter button and the V8 yelps into life before settling to an urgent idle. Pull the right-hand paddle to catch first in the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, squeeze the throttle and you’re away – quickly, because this thing is fast. Gasp then laugh at absurdity of it all fast. Ferrari claims the 0-62mph sprint takes 2.9sec, which is basically hypercar-quick. And it feels it. Name any mainstream McLaren model and the F8 Tributo feels like it has it covered.
Like the 488 Pista and 488 GTB, the F8 Tributo benefits from the clever Variable Boost Management system that ramps up torque gradually and naturally so there’s simply no turbo lag, just instant, savage response to your right foot, the car accelerating precisely as much as you ask for. No matter what the revs or what the gear it just goes, punching with real violence and revving quickly and freely all the way to the 8000rpm cut-out. So well integrated are the turbochargers that it doesn’t feel like there’s forced induction at work here, instead like a naturally aspirated unit with huge reserves of torque and an insatiable appetite for revs.
This impression of warp-drive acceleration is enhanced by the gearbox, which delivers upshifts so quick and smooth that they're close to seamless. Downshifts are even more entertaining, thanks to a quick blip of the throttle and the explosive cracks and pops from the exhausts.
Speaking of noise, the V8 still lacks the operatic quality we expect from a Ferrari; there’s not the same tingly and fizzing raw appeal as the old naturally aspirated unit of the 458. But those days are long gone, and this is the new reality, so we just have to deal with it. At low revs there’s a baritone blare that gives way to a hard-edged metallic mid-range through the operatic top end howl. This is an engine that has you rifling up and down gears just to hear the constant change in note. That Hot Tube helps here, channelling more of the noise inside, although its proximity to the turbocharger means a little more whistle and wastegate chatter.
Yet Maranello’s neatest trick is to have developed a chassis that makes such volcanic performance accessible. Much of the suspension and many of the control systems are either carried over or improved 488 Pista and 488 GTB hardware, meaning the F8 Tributo benefits from a rare balance and approachability through the corners. This is still a 710bhp mid-engined Ferrari, so respect is needed, but its ability to reward from the first turn of the wheel is arguably unrivalled in this sector.
As we’ve come to expect from Ferrari, the steering is extremely quick, but not to the point of nervousness. No more than a quarter turn of lock is needed to aim the F8 Tributo through most bends. So alert and grippy is the front end that you can pick your line with laser-guided precision, the car rotating quickly yet progressively, allowing you to feel the cornering loads build equally across the axles. This then gives you confidence to lean on the increasingly excellent Slide Slip Control and start edging the tail out a little, even on the road. The systems will intervene if you’re spiky with your inputs, but be smooth and the SSC works with you to deliver effortless and natural oversteer. So approachable is the F8 Tributo that it quickly gives you the confidence to wave ciao to the stability control so that you can fully revel in its poise, balance and adjustability.