Parkers overall rating: 4.8 out of 5 4.8
  • Familiar-looking cabin is actually all-new
  • Steering wheel home to myriad controls
  • Comfortable, low-slung driving position

At first glance the Ferrari 488’s dashboard and door panelling appears to have been carried over from its 458 predecessor, but while it looks very similar, it is in fact largely new.

It’s a sleeker, less fussy arrangement, with pods either side of the driver for accessing the augmented data on the screens either side of the dominant central rev counter. The right-hand screen, for the multimedia and sat-nav, also doubles as the Apple CarPlay display for cars built from 2016 onwards.

All the dials are legible although the controls take a little getting used to, which is no hardship as it’s a worthwhile excuse to spend even more time in the car.

This includes all the buttons and switches on the steering wheel, which initially looks like it’s taken the Formula 1 theme a bit too far. Those push-button indicators quickly become second nature, but the push/pull switches for the main beam and wipers take more familiarisation. Initially you wonder why every car doesn’t have this solution, but then few others have Ferrari’s quick steering rack that allows you to tackle many corners without removing a hand from the wheel.

It’s unlikely you will have difficulty achieving a suitable driving position, the vista ahead framed by the curving bodywork enveloping the front wheels, while the view behind reflected in the door mirrors is dominated by those gaping rear wing air inlets. Glorious.

Niggles are few and are primarily limited to the two buttons on the driver’s door to release the fuel filler flap and the front bonnet. Because the doors are wide, accessing the car in confined spaces can prove tricky meaning that several times on test we found we caught a foot against one – or both! – of the buttons.

  • Adaptive suspension to suit driving tastes
  • Bumpy Road setting impressively supple
  • Supportive seats in luxurious cabin

Comfort’s unlikely to be the first thing on your mind when considering a Ferrari 488 but it’s a reflection of the depth of talent of the mid-engined sports car how it combines exhilarating driving pleasure and a supple ride quality.

Yes, for many UK roads – not just when you leave the motorway – the standard, firmer setting will prove too rigid for most customers; instead the Bumpy Road setting, activated by a button on the steering wheel, offers a fine balance of sportiness and compliance.

The secret is the effectiveness of the 488’s adaptive dampers, the system an effective evolution of what was already an impressive set-up when fitted to the previous 458 Speciale.

Slink into the Ferrari – you sit very close to the ground – and most will find it amply spacious with a good range of elbow and leg room in the two-seater cabin. Taller occupants may find that headroom’s a little limited but it’s still comfortable with the seatback reclined even further than you might ordinarily.

At first acquaintance the seats look firm and under-cushioned but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Such is their design that you feel as though they’re wrapped around you, supporting you in such a way as to keep you securely nestled during vigorous cornering without making you feel remotely pinched at the hips.

Under hard acceleration the engine’s ferocity is inescapable, but this essentially adds to the 488’s drama; sit at a steady motorway speed and it’s subdued enough to have a conversation with your passenger without needing to shout at one another.

Dual-zone climate control comes as standard in GTB specification and while it’s sufficiently effective most of the time, we did find that on a hot day, in crawling urban traffic, the ventilation system became quite noisy as the air-con sought to keep a cabin at a suitably chilled temperature.