Oh Dacia, what have you done? Car manufacturers have striven for years to take their model lines upmarket; ever more comprehensive trim levels, electronic gizmos coming out the wazoo, over-elaborate styling that's shorn of rubbing strips or any other concessions to practicality. And then you had the cheek to bring out the Sandero, a car that harks back to the bad old days of solid colours, unpainted bumpers, minimal electronic aids and steels wheels. It doesn't even come with a radio as standard, godammit!
This fresh approach to trim specification has shaken some car companies to the core, none more so than Ferrari. Their new 488GTB - the 458’s turbocharged successor, takes its name from the cubic capacity of each of its cylinders: 487.75, rounded up to 488. 'GTB' comes in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the gorgeous 308 GTB of 1975. The standard version has just been launched at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, but Ferrari have made no secret of that fact that there will be a stripped out model; not a racer like the 458 Speciale Aperta, but a true base model. Gone is the unnecessary flappy paddle gearbox, replaced with a proper six-speed manual. The alloy wheels have been supplanted by slightly narrower steel wheels with 60 series tyres while the mirrors & front and rear bumpers are unpainted in the quest for lower weight. Inside, painted bare metal abounds; the floor has simple rubber mats and the seats are vinyl covered; headrests, a heater and a radio are optional cost extras.
Opinions about the looks of this 488 Popolare (Italian for Popular) have been divided, but I think you'll agree that the steelies and plaggy bumpers give just a hint of honest aggression, while adding a lot of day-to-day practicality: kerbs and barriers that once proves terrifying can now withstand low speed impacts from supermarket trolley attacks, while repair costs will be a lot lower in the event of more high-speed prangs.
Heres to the 488 Popolare - a true entry-level Ferrari that even the likes of the merely well-off can aspire to.