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New drift tech: Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer explained

Published: 15 November 2018

 Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer tested
 New drift and handling tech
 Tech explained. But does it work? 

Ferrari’s latest handling tool is about intentional and unintentional loss of traction – supporting plenty of the former, to make your driving way more fun, without letting it progress into the latter. Or, in layman’s terms, a crash.

Ferrari has used extremely clever traction control systems for years, with Side Slip Control having found a home in some of Maranello’s most extreme cars since the 458 Speciale, followed by sideways superstars including the 488 GTB, F12 tdf and now the 488 Pista. SSD, in short, manipulates the limited-slip diff to allow a certain amount of slide to happen naturally.

Dynamic Enhancer supplements that by adding in some braking. The goal of Dynamic Enhancer is to ensure more predictable on-the-limit handling, reducing the likelihood that you’ll find yourself having to suddenly countersteer. 

Dynamic Enhancer is unique to the Pista for now. We’ve now had two chances to try Dynamic Enhancer, first on the 488 Pista’s press launch and now on our Sports Car Giant Test 2018, both successful. To get started all you have to do is flick that chunky manettino switch to CT Off and the track is your powersliding oyster. That’s far simpler than Mercedes-AMG’s Drift Mode, which requires several steps to activate, and the BMW M5’s front-axle drive deactivation, which involves fiddling with the iDrive controller.

Ferrari 488 Pista drift king

The Pista’s systems predict a ‘yaw moment’ based on the Side Slip Control’s algorithms, which work with the vehicle dynamics ECU to calculate how much brake pressure is required at each wheel to counteract any significant loss of traction.

The moment a slide is initiated, Dynamic Enhancer almost imperceptibly scrubs both the front and rear brakes to make sure you come out the other end pointing the right way without any need for sawing at the wheel like you’re at the helm of HMS Victory during a typhoon. 

By comparison, less sophisticated traction control systems will leave most of the electronic intervention very late, then snap it on, not only jolting the driver at a time of heavy g-forces but running the risk of said g-forces kicking you the other way.

On a track it really is other-worldly. It’s a driving aid, not a replacement for the driver; you can, of course, still spin out when the car is in CT Off mode. The system is doing its job when you’re trying to stay close to the limit in this formidable 710bhp Ferrari and happy to have the tail step out. You feel like you have full control, with the Dynamic Enhancer there to help when needed. The way it catches itself truly boggles the mind.

Mercedes-AMG drift mode tested

Drifting for dummmies: how Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer works

1) Start your engines

Ferrari 488 Pista interior: buttons on steering wheel control the handling set-up

Give that fat red button on the steering wheel a prod to unleash one of the best V8s ever made

2) Dial up

Tweak the manettino switch a couple of notches to CT Off

3) Set locks to opposite

Ferrari 488 Pista: oversteer king, thanks to Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer

Get going on track and remember to have a tyre shop on speed dial

Did it work?

Yes. The Pista seems to be able to tell the difference between slides you wanted to initiate and those that come about quite suddenly and unintentionally. It allows plenty of slip when you’re performing 

Swan Lake on a track, but gently reins things in when it thinks you’re more like Bambi on ice. It still requires a skilled, confident driver; in fact it works so well that it can increase your skill and confidence.

More tech stories and explainers by CAR magazine

By Jake Groves

CAR's staff writer, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches

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