2017 Ferrari 488 GTB By Novitec Rosso Review

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Before Novitec began tuning Lamborghinis, Maseratis, and McLarens, it staked its name and reputation on developing programs for Ferraris. It’s done quite well for itself considering that its business has expanded to other brands, but now, the famed German tuner is going back to its roots by developing a new program for the Ferrari 488 GTB, one that comes with a new aerodynamic widebody kit and increased amount of power totalling 772 horsepower and 658 pound-feet of torque.

If the numbers sound familiar, that’s because we’ve seen something similar from Novitec before, most notably on the 488 Spider. Since the two versions of the 488 are really differentiated by the presence and/or absence of a roof, it stands to figure that the tuner would end up releasing a similar kit for the GTB variant. Well, it’s happened and Novitec even threw in a new widebody kit and additional improvements on the exhaust and suspension for good measure. The finished product is what you’d expect from a tuner like Novitec. It’s well rounded and versatile enough to attract owners of the 488 GTB and get them to spend for the opportunity to have one fitted into their supercars.

Exterior

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“There are two key components to Novitec’s N-Largo program for the Ferrari 488 GTB.”

There are two key components to Novitec’s N-Largo program for the Ferrari 488 GTB. One of them is the widebody kit that not only enhances the car’s already svelte figure, but also helps improve its aerodynamic efficiency. The kit can be seen throughout the car, none more emphatic than in the front section where new fenders add 2.76 inches to the car’s width.

You’ll notice too the presence of three gill-shaped slots integrated into the top of the fenders. These slots have more than just an aesthetic purpose; they’re responsible for helping air heated by the brakes from the wheels as quickly and as efficiently as possible. A new front bumper is also included in the program. It still looks largely like the production fender, but subtle tweaks to its composition made it possible for the other aero bits to be installed. That also includes the low-slung front spoiler with vertical fins on opposite ends, which Novitec developed with the help of a wind tunnel to ensure its top-class quality. The tuner is also offering this specific component in a naked carbon finish. It’s more of an option than anything else, but it at least gives prospective customers something to think about when they take a look at the program.

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“Move to the side of the car and you’ll notice that the air vents located just in front of the rear wheel arches are now bigger than their standard configuration.”

Move to the side of the car and you’ll notice that the air vents located just in front of the rear wheel arches are now bigger than their standard configuration. Bigger is better in this case since there’s more space for air to flow in and out of the engine. Move your gaze a little south and you’ll see new rocker panels with air intakes of their own, ensuring that smooth flow of air front the front fenders to the rear. Speaking of the rear, the significant aesthetic alteration in this section of the 488 GTB is largely tied to the new rear bumper and diffuser. Along with the rear wing spoiler, these components provide the finishing aesthetic and aerodynamic touches that are made possibly by Novitec’s N-Largo program. The last important detail of Novitec’s new exterior upgrade program for the 488 GTB is the new set of 21- and 22-inch NF6 NL hi-tech forged wheels. The wheels are wrapped in 335/25 ZR 22 high-performance tires.

It’s not the first time Novitec has developed a kit for the Ferrari 488 GTB

If you go back a year ago, you’ll come across the first wave of programs developed by Novitec for the Ferrari 488 GTB. That particular kit also featured upgrades to the exterior, including a full carbon fiber body kit made up of a front lip spoiler, air intake fins, side skirts, rear diffuser, and the fixed rear wing. Keeping in line with the carbon fiber theme of the program, the tuner also offered cosmetic upgrades like carbon fiber covers for the mirrors, taillights, fog lights, and the diffuser.

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note: photo of the Ferrari 488 GTB by Novitec Rosso

Other tuners have equally intriguing kits of their own

Novitec isn’t the only tuner to have an aftermarket program for the Ferrari 488 GTB. That’s not exactly headline material, but it’s true. One of the more prominent ones is the Project Vos-9X kit that came from Vos Performance. Just like Novitec, Vos Performance’s program for the 488 GTB relies greatly on a massive aero kit as one of its main features. Included in that kit are upgrades to the bumper and front wing, the intakes on the rear arches, and most prominently, a monobloc carbon rear wing that sits ominously in the rear section of the supercar.

A less conspicuous program – but no less effective – for the Ferrari 488 GTB comes by way of xXx Performance. This tuner’s exterior upgrade program largely revolves around three key components: the front spoiler, side skirts, and rear diffuser. Put them all together and add modified exterior mirrors and blacked-out lights and you get the full composition of xXx Performance’s exterior upgrade offerings for the Ferrari supercar.

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note: photos of the Ferrari 488 “Project Vos-9x by Vos Performance and the Ferrari 488 GTB by xXx Performance.

Interior

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Mansory isn’t lacking in excessRemember when I said that there are two key components to Novitec’s N-Largo program for the Ferrari 488 GTB? The aerodynamic widebody kit is the first one. The interior upgrades aren’t the other because there aren’t any to begin with. That’s not really a surprise because Novitec isn’t particularly known for over-the-top interior upgrades, much less any form of work on the cabin to begin with. Fortunately, there are other options to consider if you’re looking for some sweet work on this section of the 488 GTB.

Mansory is one tuner that has no problem imposing its aftermarket identity on the programs it creates. That kind of purpose manifests itself in its kits, specifically in the interior where the tuner’s imagination often goes into overdrive, resulting in some pretty dynamic modifications. Its work on the Ferrari 488 GTB definitely qualifies under that setting and it was on full display at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. Mansory’s fascination for using carbon fiber on its programs was key to creating the interior look of the 488 Siracusa. The material itself was used on the dashboard, wheel, and parts of the center tunnel. The sports seats didn’t get carbon fiber, but it was dressed up in premium leather with matching yellow contrast stitching.

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Note: interior photo of the Ferrari 488 GTB 4XX Siracusa by Mansory.

Tailor Made is the way to go

In the absence of aftermarket options in this section of the 488 GTB, owners who want a touch of personalized magic can opt to get theirs through Ferrari’s own personalization division, Tailor Made. This option comes with plenty of upgrades to choose from, ranging from some of the finest materials that Tailor Made can get its hands on. There are no shortage of examples to use here too since Ferrari has released a few Tailor Made examples for the 488 GTB. One of the more recent ones is the version that was inspired by the Ferrari 308 Gr3 Pioneer that was once driven by two-time Tour de France winner Jean Claude Andrue. That came with an interior dressed in red leather upholstery and matched with black matte carbon accents on the dash, a generous amount of Alcantara, and a Grigio Corsa mat aluminum floor.

Drivetrain

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“Novitec didn’t just snap its fingers to get its desired power increase. It involved developing a pair of plug-and-play software upgrades for the engine control unit of the 488 GTB’s 3.9-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine.”Now we come to the other key component of Novitec’s N-Largo kit and it’s a doozy. Obviously, this is the kind of upgrade you expect from a tuner that built its name on the shoulders of aftermarket tuning programs for the Prancing Horse. Well, Novitec didn’t disappoint with this program because it was able to generate 772 horsepower and 658 pound-feet of torque out of it. That’s one of the highest outputs we’ve seen for a tuned 488 GTB so far. It’s a testament to the skills and expertise of the German tuner.

Of course, Novitec didn’t just snap its fingers to get its desired power increase. It involved developing a pair of plug-and-play software upgrades for the engine control unit of the 488 GTB’s 3.9-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine. Add that to the separate modifications to the car’s boost pressure control and a custom high-performance exhaust system and the desired results manifest themselves in the form of an extra 102 horsepower and 98 pound-feet of torque to the supercar’s already potent output of 670 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of twist. The increased numbers result in an equally dramatic improvement in performance abilities as the 488 GTB is now capable of sprinting to 62 mph in just 2.8 seconds on its way to a top speed of 213 mph. Compare those figures to the 488 GTB’s standard performance numbers and you get can acceleration time that’s 0.2 seconds quicker and a top speed that’s around eight mph higher than what the car is traditionally capable of from the factory.

Plenty of other options to choose from

In the two years that the Ferrari 488 GTB has been around, it’s been the subject of a lot of tuning upgrades, almost of all of which include improvements to its power and performance numbers.

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The aforementioned Siracusa kit from Mansory (pictured above) had similar components on its engine upgrade program, including an optimized ECU unit and a specially designed sports exhaust system. The end result is an output of 790 horsepower and 643 pound-feet of torque, beating out Novitec’s upgrade by a handful of ponies, but falling a little short in the torque department. That partly explains why this program is actually a little slower in the acceleration time (2.9 seconds) compared to the N-Largo 488 GTB. The Mansory kit does bring the top speed of the 488 GTB up to 211 mph so at least it has that going for it.

You know a supercar has it good when an aftermarket company like Wheelsandmore prepared an engine upgrade program for it that consists of three stages. That’s what the German tuner did, though, and the fancy part about this whole kit is that the third and most powerful stage of the upgrades is still in development. Don’t sweat it though because Wheelsandmore’s Stage II kit for the 488 GTB already nets an output of 730 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque, enough to presumably get it to 60 mph in three seconds before maxing out with a top speed of 210 mph.

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Last but certainly not least is the VOS-9X kit from Vos Performance (pictured above). The inclusion of the number “9” in the name of the program is a good indication of what owners of the 488 GTB are in store for. See, Vos Performance also created a multi-stage engine upgrade program for the supercar. The first two of these stages revolve around upgrades like a remapped ECU, a modified air induction system, and a new exhaust that can be ordered with either downpipes or a sports catalyst. Depending on the stage, the net power output can range from 750 horsepower and 810 pound-fee of torque (Stage 1) to a mouth-watering 830 horsepower and 860 pound-feet of torque (Stage 2). But that’s not the end of it either. There’s also a Stage 3 kit that basically uses the same upgrades but dials up the ECU tune to extreme levels, resulting in an incredible output of 900 horsepower and 910 pound-feet of torque, enough to propel the supercar from 0 to 60 mph in around 2.5 seconds before setting a top speed mark in the vicinity of 220 mph.

Check out the table below to see how all these programs for the Ferrari 488 GTB stack up against each other.

Tuner Horsepower Torque 0 to 60 MPH Top Speed
Novitec “N-Largo” 772 horsepower 658 pound-feet 2.8 seconds 213 mph
Mansory “Siracusa 4XX” 790 horsepower 643 pound-feet 2.9 seconds 211 mph*
Wheelsandmore “Settecento-Trenta” 730 horsepower 627 pound-feet 3.0 seconds* 210 mph*
Vos Performance “Vos-9X” 900 horsepower 910 pound-feet 2.5 seconds* 220 mph*

Suspension

To keep the Ferrari 488 GTB from becoming an untamed stallion, Novitec took the step of integrating special sport springs that drop the height of the supercar by 1.38 inches. On top of that, the tuner is also offering a front lift system that increases ride height by 1.57 inches so owners won’t have to worry about scraping underbody parts on speed bumps.

Pricing

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There’s no word yet on how much Novitec is charging for the N-Largo kit for the 488 GTB, but with the pieces included in the kit, don’t be surprised if the price amounts to around $60,000 to $70,0000.

Competition

Ferrari 488 GTB By Alpha-N Performance

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Proving that there are more than a handful of engine upgrade programs that are available to the 488 GTB, Alpha-N Performance also has one in its catalog. The template is similar to other tuners in that Alpha-N’s kit revolves around software upgrades to the supercar’s twin-turbo V-8. The net result is an output of 790 horsepower and 635 pound-feet of torque, enough to help the car sprint to 62 mph in 2.8 seconds before maxing out with a top speed of 211 mph.

Conclusion

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When you combine Novitec’s ability to build some of the best tuning programs for the Ferrari 488 GTB with the years of peerless work it’s done in the past, there’s no reason why anybody should doubt the tuner’s new N-Largo kit for the Ferrari supercar. The good news is that the kit itself is another example of stellar tuning for the 488 GTB, lack of any interior upgrades notwithstanding. Get this kit with confidence if you’re in the market for one. You’re not going to be disappointed by it.

  • Leave it
    • No interior upgrades
    • Competitive market for 488 GTB tuners
    • Availability could be an issue

(topspeed.com, https://goo.gl/NdEcNF)

 

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