Controls you expect to be on the dash are on the steering wheel, and vice-versa.
This is our favorite Ferrari quirk: The controls you need most—not just the manettino drive-mode switch, but the start button, turn signals, high and low beams, and even the wipers and washers—are all on the steering wheel. Meanwhile, cruise control, stereo, and trip computer are on the dash. There are no stalks on the steering column, just the giant shifter paddles. It’s a strange setup at first, especially the turn signals, but once you get used to where things are, it’s brilliant—you almost never have to take your hands off of the steering wheel. And with its best-in-the-business steering feel, you won’t want to.
The automatic transmission doesn’t work the way you expect.
The 2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo’s transmission has only one shifter button on the center console, and it’s the one you press to select reverse. So that’s R accounted for, but where are P, N, and D? You access them via the steering-column shifter paddles. To engage Drive (from either Neutral or Reverse), you pull on one of the shifter paddles. The AUTO button, located on the console below R, switches between manual and automatic modes. To take the car out of gear, pull on both paddles to shift into Neutral. To keep the F8 from rolling away, either set the electric parking brake with the dash-mounted switch or simply shut off the engine, which does it automatically.
The parking brake isn’t applied, it’s inserted.
This might be the best thing that happened during our emotionally wide-ranging test drive. Seriously—that’s the message that flashes up on the dash when the parking brake auto-applies: “Parking brake inserted.” Anyone who says there isn’t a Freudian element to supercars like the Ferrari can go jump in a lake, which, of course, is a euphemism for their inappropriate feelings about their mother.
The seats are manually adjustable.
Seriously. In a $366,000 (as tested) car. Maybe Ferrari figures that if you can afford an F8, there’s no need to adjust the seats because you’re never going to let anyone else drive it.
The option prices are insane.
The nose-lifting thing in the suspension, which no street-driven F8 should be without, costs $5,000. Those Scuderia Ferrari emblems on the quarter panels? $1,856. The extra-cost carbon-fiber trim bits on our test car totaled more than $37,000, and lest that seem even remotely sensible, consider that the carbon-fiber inner door handles alone cost $4,200. (Thankfully, that’s for the pair, not each.) The floor mats cost $1,350. Apple CarPlay costs $4,219. For the record, Nissan charges $18,500 for Apple CarPlay—but it throws in an entire Nissan Versa for free.
Your passenger knows exactly how fast you’re going.
One of those insanely-priced options is the $4,556 passenger-side touch-screen, which allows your co-pilot to easily handle stereo and navigation duties. It also has a speedometer, tachometer, and G-meter, which can form the basis of some rather uncomfortable post-drive conversations.
There’s a copy of the options list in the frunk.
When your friends accuse you of skimping on equipment, just pop open the “frunk” and refer them to the equipment list you’ll find riveted into place there. Note that the option list doesn’t include prices, so you can tell them the Scuderia Ferrari emblems are legitimately factory installed, and they don’t have to know you paid nearly $2,000 for the privilege.
The 2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo is ridiculously docile.
Most supercars are like hot-blooded thoroughbreds, constantly champing at the bit to be let loose. Driving them at mortal (or moral) speeds is an exercise in frustration. Not the F8: It’s perfectly happy to motor along at the speed limit. The carbon-ceramic brakes are a bit noisy when not heated properly, and the transmission is eager to start grabbing lower gears given the lightest prod of the accelerator. But for the most part, the car feels surprisingly submissive when driven gently—smooth, comfortable, and reasonably quiet.
The F8 Tributo is enjoyable at 5/10ths.
To properly enjoy most supercars, you need to drive them at their full potential, or at least as close to it as your skills and common sense will allow. Drive them at anything less than 9/10ths and a lot of them will make you feel as if you’re wasting your time and theirs. Not the 2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo: Even at a moderate pace, this car is huge fun. It’s a mood-follower: If you only want to drive a little fast, it’s happy to deliver the Ferrari experience, with great screaming engine sounds and steering so precise it feels as if you’re carving your line with a freshly-sharpened scalpel. Push hard, of course, and you unleash the proverbial beast within—we can only describe the experience of an F8 at full tilt by resorting to metaphors about nuclear explosions. Probe your own limits, and the F8 Tributo will happily scare the stuffing out of you. Dial it back, and the F8 is still a laugh-riot.
The F8 Tributo is the all-purpose, daily-driver Ferrari.
Many Ferraris have been necessary compromises—tourers that are comfortable but not razor-sharp at their limits, or temperamental supercars happy only when you flog them to within an inch of your own life. This one is somehow happy all the time. The 2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo is an uncannily easy car to live with: it’s relatively easy to get in and out of, easy to see out of, and comfortable enough to drive every day. The only drawback is the lack of cargo space, but no matter; if you can afford an F8, you can afford to ship your luggage ahead. Regardless of how you drive it—mild, medium, or hot—the 2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo is guaranteed to show you a good time.
|2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo Specifications|
|PRICE||$275,580/$365,741 (base/as tested)|
|ENGINE||3.9L twin-turbo DOHC 32-valve V-8/710 hp @ 8,000 rpm, 568 lb-ft @ 3,250 rpm|
|TRANSMISSION||7-speed dual-clutch automatic|
|LAYOUT||2-door, 2-passenger, mid-engine, RWD coupe|
|EPA MILEAGE||15/19 mpg (city/hwy)|
|L x W x H||181.5 x 77.9 x 47.4 in|
|0-60 MPH||2.9 sec|
|TOP SPEED||211 mph|