In the good old days before Ferrari adopted turbocharging for its V8 engines, you could expect a machine that looks as purposeful as the Novitec Rosso 488 N-Largo to spit fire and brimstone from the moment you pushed the red Start button.
Today, however, things are more cool, calm, and collected. Despite its aggressive visage, the second Novitec model to receive the widebody treatment [the first was the F12 that appeared in issue #131’s “Eyes Wide Open”—Ed.] is the epitome of aural restraint, thanks to the muffling effect of two big twin-scroll IHI turbochargers and their attendant pipework and intercoolers.
That is not to say that this red bombshell does not have a pleasing sound track, specifically a slightly amplified version of the factory 488’s sonic concerto, with a touch more basso profundo. It’s clear, however, that Novitec’s fully insulated sport exhaust (made from Inconel in its most sophisticated form) is tuned more to reduce back pressure and liberate a few more cavallini than to set any new records for spine-tingling ear candy. You can thank the vagaries of the European drive-by noise regulations for this.
Of course, this impression comes when the exhaust’s optional electronically controlled flaps are closed. Open them with the flick of a switch, and the glorious wail of the flat-plane-crank motor, which culminates in a race-car-like scream at the top end of the rev band, tells you this a thoroughbred Ferrari.
While those turbos somewhat mute the song of the stock 670-hp engine, they are a godsend for tuners like Novitec. Where a new ECU and exhaust might net 25 or 30 hp in a normally aspirated engine, these same changes to the 488 engine have boosted output to a whopping 772 hp at 7,950 rpm, along with 657 lb-ft of torque at 3,250 rpm compared to the factory’s 560 lb-ft. This in turn pushes top speed to 212 mph, a 7-mph increase, despite the car’s wider bodywork.
Novitec’s engine work is based around two N-tronic plug-and-play control modules, which are integrated into the car’s electronics and remap its fuel, ignition, and boost pressure parameters, with no expensive internal changes to the V8 required. Besides increasing output, these modules allow the company to tailor the power and torque delivery as desired.