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2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo Road Test and Review

Scott Oldham
by Scott Oldham
June 4, 2020
5 min. Reading Time
2020 Ferrari F8 hero ・  Photo by Ferrari

2020 Ferrari F8 hero ・ Photo by Ferrari

The most valuable car in the world is a Ferrari. It’s the V-12 powered Ferrari GTO, a machine many also consider to be the most beautiful automobile ever made. Only 36 were built from 1962 to 1964, and two years ago, one reportedly sold for more than $70,000,000. Yes, that’s seven zeros.

By comparison, Ferrari’s latest supercar is a heck of a bargain. With a base price of just over $275,000, the 2020 Ferrari F8 is the most powerful and aerodynamically efficient V8-powered mid-engine machine the iconic Italian automaker has ever created. And its performance is intoxicating. Ferrari says it can hit 62 mph in just 2.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 211 mph. But the F8 is not just some weekend plaything that can only be enjoyed on a racetrack. It also offers impressive comfort, a surprisingly roomy cabin, and everyday civility. Rivals include the Lamborghini Huracan Evo, Acura NSX, and several McLarens.

Still Built in Italy

With over 50 years between them, the 2020 Ferrari F8 and the $70 million GTO from the 1960s have little in common mechanically, but the two machines do have their similarities. Both are rear-wheel drive. Both feature engines with overhead cam designs, and both high-performance machines were built in the same place: Ferrari’s factory in Maranello, Italy.

Hallowed ground in the car world, the facility has produced every Ferrari since 1943. Sure, it’s been updated and expanded over the decades, but the factory located outside the town of Modena is still very much as it was when Enzo Ferrari oversaw its reconstruction after World War II. If you think you got a glimpse of the factory in the recent blockbuster Ford vs. Ferrari, you didn’t. That was a set recreated in Pomona, California. At the real thing, tours of the Ferrari Museum and famed Fiorano test track are available.

 Photo by Ferrari

Photo by Ferrari

Offered as a Coupe or Convertible

The 2020 Ferrari F8 is available as a two-seat coupe called the F8 Tributo, or as a convertible, which is called the F8 Spider. Both are powered by a twin-turbocharged double-overhead-cam 3.9-liter V8 engine and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Many consider it to be the best V-8 in the world. It’s exceedingly smooth, sounds great, offers incredible response and awesome low-end torque, revs to 8,000 rpm, and produces mind-altering power, 710 horsepower at 8,000 rpm, and 568 lb-ft of torque at 3,250 rpm.

The base price for the F8 Tributo like our test car is $275,580, including a $1,300 gas guzzler tax and a $3,750 destination charge. The F8 Spider, which has a retractable hardtop, costs about $4,000 more. Yes, those numbers are mouthwatering, but the F8’s pricing is in line with its main rival, the Lamborghini Huracan EVO, which has a base price of $261,274.

 Photo by Ferrari

Photo by Ferrari

Nearly $100,000 in Options

With a crazy list of expensive options, including $6,750 carbon fiber dashboard inserts and $4,219 for Apple CarPlay, our test car cost $365,741. We usually don’t do this, but we thought it would be interesting to include the Ferrari’s entire list of 25 optional extras along with their prices:

  1. Carbon fiber engine manifold: $9,787
  2. 20-inch forged diamond rims: $8,100
  3. Carbon fiber Driver Zone+LEDS: $7,593
  4. Carbon fiber dashboard inserts: $6,750
  5. Premium HIFI system: $6,243
  6. Suspension lifter: $5,062
  7. Passenger display: $4,556
  8. Carbon fiber inner door handle: $4,219
  9. Carbon fiber side air splitter: $3,712
  10. Carbon fiber headlight bucket: $3,375
  11. Specific design seat: $3,375
  12. Carbon fiber central bridge: $2,869
  13. Titanium exhaust pipes: $2,531
  14. Exterior sill kick in carbon: $2,025
  15. "Scuderia Ferrari" fender shields: $1,856
  16. Aluminum brake calipers: $1,519
  17. Bonnet upper insert black matte: $1,266
  18. Horse stitched on headrest: $1,266
  19. Colored mats with logo: $1,350
  20. Electrochromic rearview mirror: $1,350
  21. Colored inner details: $1,181
  22. Aluminum rev counter: $979
  23. Special features: $844
  24. Carbon fiber wheels cup: $844
  25. Colored special stitching: $759
 Photo by Ferrari

Photo by Ferrari

Howling V8 With 710 Horsepower

Ferrari introduced its first twin-turbo V8 in the 1980s in its iconic 288 GTO model. Today, most supercars in this price range feature engines with twin-turbochargers. The F8’s 3.9-liter has been around since 2016, but it has gotten several major improvements over the years that have increased its power and performance.

It’s still the same engine that powered the 488 GTB, which the F8 replaces, but Ferrari’s engineers have made it lighter, stronger, and louder. It sounds amazing up over 4,000 rpm, just like a Ferrari should, but it’s also reasonably muted at lower engine speeds so you don’t wake the neighbors heading off to that early morning Cars & Coffee. The F8’s dual-clutch seven-speed transmission features a full automatic mode for when you’re feeling lazy, but it’s more fun to select gears yourself with its carbon fiber paddle shifters mounted to its steering column. Gear changes are lightning-quick and firm.

 Photo by Ferrari

Photo by Ferrari

Incredible Handling, Smooth Ride

Ferrari has also retuned the F8’s suspension and shaved nearly 90 pounds from its overall mass, so it’s significantly faster than its predecessor on the racetrack or a twisty two-lane. Unlike some supercars, the Ferrari doesn’t feature all-wheel drive, but its handling is forgiving, with a ton of grip from its massive 20-inch Pirelli tires and a smart stability control system that doesn’t spoil the fun. It’s not just fast, it’s incredibly easy to drive fast. Its steering is light and communicative, and its massive carbon ceramic brakes are also some of the best in the world. However, the brakes do require significant leg effort and they’re a bit grabby, which can make smooth stops difficult around town.

Our test car, an F8 Tributo, rode firmly, but it was compliant by supercar standards and comfortable enough for everyday driving. It only knocks you around on the roughest roads. And its cabin is quiet on the highway, with manageable levels of tire roar and very little engine or wind noise.

 Photo by Ferrari

Photo by Ferrari

Scrapes Down on Most Driveways

Sitting so low, cars of this kind are notorious for scraping their front spoilers into smithereens on driveways and speed bumps. This isn’t a problem in the 2020 Ferrari F8 if you pay up for the optional suspension lifter system, which raises the front suspension a few inches quickly with the push of a button. It’s certainly worth the extra $5,062.

Unfortunately, a lift system isn’t available for the rear suspension, and the F8’s rear diffuser touches down on most driveways. Although our test car was nearly new with only 2,000 miles on its odometer, the blades of its diffuser were badly damaged from grinding on pavement. Another drivability issue is the F8's louvered plastic engine cover, which distorts your rear view and allows water to leak into the engine compartment on rainy days.

 Photo by Ferrari

Photo by Ferrari

Comfortable Interior for a Supercar

Inside, the Ferrari’s cabin has also been effectively updated. There are new round air conditioning vents and an optional 7.0-inch touchscreen in front of the passenger. Build quality is exceptional, especially with our test car’s many optional carbon fiber extras, but the rest of the interior materials also live up to the supercar’s lofty price. The F8’s seats are firm and well-shaped, but they’re not heated and they’re adjusted manually, as is its tilting and telescopic steering wheel.

There’s plenty of space, but the pedals are offset to the right a bit, which takes some getting used to, as do its ergonomics. The engine start button, windshield wiper controls, and turn signals are on the steering wheel along with the high beam controls for the headlights and a switch to click among the F8’s many driving modes, which include Sport, Race, and Wet. We still drove it in Sport most of the time. Unfortunately, there’s just one cupholder and no center armrest.

 Photo by Ferrari

Photo by Ferrari

Updated Styling Draws a Crowd

According to Ferrari, the F8 Tributo is a bridge to the brand’s new design language and is 10 percent more aerodynamic than the 488 GTB. Its high-speed stability is awesome. At triple-digit speeds, the sports car feels like it’s sucked down to the road. Its new shape also draws plenty of attention. If you’re an introvert, drive something else. This car not only turns heads, it often draws a “nice car” from passersby and fellow motorists. Teenagers take pictures of it with their phones. Everyone wants to know how fast it goes and how much it costs.

Its protruding door handles could be less conspicuous, but the F8 is striking from all angles. The "S-duct" in its nose is an aerodynamic trick left over from limited edition 488 Pista, and its four round LED taillights are meant to remind us of past V8 models like the 308 and F40.

 Photo by Ferrari

Photo by Ferrari

Final Thoughts

Spend a week and 1,000 miles in a 2020 Ferrari F8 and you start to see the world a little differently. The sky is bluer. The grass is greener. You smile more. I’m no doctor, but a ride in this car should be studied as a mood enhancer. Possibly a cure for depression. Bad day? Nail the F8’s throttle to the floor and redline a few gears. You’ll be giggling like a tickled child. But this supercar isn’t just about speed. It’s also sophisticated and comfortable enough to be enjoyed every day. It’s a real car.

Obviously no one needs a Ferrari, but those with the means should surely pick one up and experience one of life’s greatest automotive pleasures. If you’re in the market for supercar, the 2020 Ferrari F8 is one of the best.

 Photo by Ferrari

Photo by Ferrari


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