Ferrari turbo switch raising eyebrows and sales

The boss of Ferrari Australasia admits some prospective customers have been sceptical of the brand’s shift from natural aspiration to forced induction for its V8-powered models, but insists driving the cars is the antidote to their doubts.
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Ferrari launched the California T in our market in June last year and unveiled the new 488 GTB for the first time in Australia yesterday. Both have adopted turbocharged V8s, leading to big gains in power, torque and efficiency.

Despite their undeniable advantages on paper, Ferrari Australasia president and CEO Herbert Appleroth admits Ferrari fans have expressed initial concerns.

“Clients have said, ‘Ooh, I’m not so sure’,” Appleroth revealed, “but I think that’s about nostalgia, and I think that will certainly be removed as soon as they get the chance to drive the car.

“Those that have driven the 488, the first response is you can’t tell it’s a turbo. And that’s the most important thing: whether it’s a turbo or it’s naturally aspirated I don’t think is the core message because our engineers have been able to create a car that feels like a Ferrari. It feels like a naturally aspirated [car], it’s a very linear power band, you don’t get maximum torque until the top of seventh gear, so it actually feels like a naturally aspirated vehicle.”


The California T’s 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 produces 412kW and 755Nm, up 74kW and 270Nm over the California’s non-turbo 4.3-litre V8. The new car is also 0.4 seconds quicker from 0-100km/h, now 3.6sec, while fuel consumption is 20 per cent better at 10.5 litres per 100 kilometres.

The 488 GTB’s unique 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 makes 492kW and 760Nm, up 73kW and 220Nm over the 458 Italia’s 4.5-litre V8. The 488 is also 0.4sec quicker to 100km/h (now 3.0sec), as well as 2.1sec quicker to 200km/h (now 8.3sec), and 15 per cent more fuel efficient (now 11.4L/100km).

“I think everyone’s aware of the advantages of turbocharging,” Appleroth said.

“I think it’s probably similar to Porsche when they went from air-cooled to water-cooled. I think there are those who are so close to our brand – which we love, we love their passion.”

Ferrari’s 2015 sales numbers and order books suggest the switch to turbocharging has scared off few customers.

The brand is on track to smash its local sales record this year. It delivered 95 vehicles in the first half of the year, which puts it up 82.7 per cent on the same period in 2014, and well within reach of its previous calendar year record of 163 in 2008.

There is also a two-year waiting list for the 488 GTB and a yearlong wait for the just-revealed 488 Spider.