Lap of Luxury: Behind the wheel of a Ferrari

- Welcome to the Lap of Luxury. This week, we visit Italian automaker Ferrari whose 488 GTB is the Robb Report's 2016 Car of the Year.

The Robb Report has been crowning a Car of the Year every spring for 17 years. David Arnold, senior vice president of publishing for the magazine, says they now bring in 200 judges who spend the day driving 13 of the new high-luxury, high-performance cars.

The Ferrari 488 GTB was the runaway winner. Arnold says people loved the brand, what it stands for, and what it represents.

What does Ferrari represent? Edwin Fenech, president and CEO of Ferrari North America, says that's very easy: racing, racing, racing.

Founder Enzo Ferrari used to be a racer, and in 1947 he created Ferrari. But Fenech says the Ferrari of 1947 wasn't the Ferrari we know now. It was purely a racing team.

Racing dreams had a cost, and so Enzo Ferrari developed road cars to finance those dreams. Fenech says Ferrari decided to produce the exact same cars on the racing circuit for people driving on the road.

The first road car to bear the Ferrari logo was the 125S. Fenech says it was something you absolutely could not miss.

The Ferrari logo is also something you can't miss, and it has a rich history. It bears the flag of Italy and a yellow shield for Modena, the city where Enzo Ferrari was born.

The prancing horse on the logo is the same horse on the fuselage of Francesco Baracca's plane, a heroic Italian fighter pilot in World War I. Baracca's parents asked Enzo Ferrari to use the horse in the Ferrari logo for good luck. The S-F on the logo is for Scuderia Ferrari, the name of Ferrari's racing division.

Not a racing car itself, the 488 GTB could certainly be confused with one. This car has a 3.9 liter, twin turbo-charged V8 engine, and goes zero to 60 in just three seconds. Starting price is $245,400. It has 661 horsepower and about 1,400 kilos.

Fenech calls the performance quite impressive and says while you can drive it every day, the best way to see it perform is to take it on the racetrack.

We didn't take the 488 GTB on the track, but Fenech was kind enough to let us borrow it to hit the mean streets of New Jersey to see what driving a Ferrari is all about. He says when you drive a Ferrari, you have a huge smile printed on your face, that's very difficult to move. Ferrari, he says, is all about giving people pleasure.

I took the car on the Palisades Parkway. After getting in, and figuring out how to get the 488 GTB out of reverse, I was able to see what the car could do. Once I got cruising, the Ferrari delivered an incredibly smooth ride, unbelievable strength, and all the emotion Ferrari is known for.

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