Ferrari 458 Italia ~ 2009-15
After the well rounded but not so eye catching F430, Ferrari announced its new entry-level Berlinetta in September 2009, with the Ferrari 458 Italia. Ferrari proclaimed it to be a quantum leap forward as the F355 had been, and for once they didn’t over-embellish their “fishing story”.
The 458 designation came from the engine capacity of 4.5 liter (274 cu in) and the number of cylinders. The 458 Italia's aluminium chassis is all new, as well as the sensual and all aluminium enveloping Pininfarina body design. This compact and very avant-garde swooping body design was a success from the get-go with its long and thin headlights. These new optics have a round element at their base, and a long stack of three LED columns for the turning signals and dim-lights, which climb up the curvy front fenders. One thing that separates this 458 Berlinetta from the previous models is the use of its complex aerodynamics to channel the airflow not just around the body panels, but in and out of them as well. A small air-scoop resembling a gaping hood line at the base of the headlights and exiting on the other side of the LEDs by the top wheel arches just look plain F1’ish. These air channels are here to create needed downforce on the 458's front axle at high speed when high pressured air trapped inside the wheel arches generated by the rotating hot tires is pushing the front axle upward. To stay on the topic and to quote Ferrari, two “Aerolastic winglets” or simply “deformable wings” lodged in the 458’s wide front mouth, lowering themselves as speed increases. This helps to lower the frontal air drag at speed, and increase the 458’s downforce by forcing the air trapped on the lower planes of the winglets to the undercarriage venturies. The thin five spoke, 20 inch wheel design are new on the Italia, and fitted on all corners are carbon ceramic brakes as standard with massive 398 mm (15,67 in) discs at the front, and 360 mm (14,17 in) discs at the back! The 458's carbon fiber winglets on the doorsills, again create extra downforce, and also underline the very low and sexy “hip” lines found towards the end of the doors. This sexy design is created by the 458's lower chiseled door panels and the low door beltlines plunging at the same level. Just at this point and emerging from the door handles, the rising rear fender shoulder line makes the 458 Italia look like a cheetah ready to sprint or an enveloping, high tech running shoe ready for any marathon. An air-intake feeding the 458's engine is located between the base of the rear pillars and the rear quarter windows, while right underneath the car two other intakes are there to cool the engine bay. The Italia's rear window is slanted as in a fastback, and a wide groove on top of each rear fender channels fresh air into the transmission and the clutch radiators located by the tail lights. The resulting hot air doesn’t have to travel too far to exit, because just on the other side of the rear panel, a big meshed rear air extractor partially designed around the semi-exposed, single round taillight on each side, gives you the immediate impression that the Ferrari 458 is a serious track contender. The “California” has the same rear light configuration, but unlike the California’s “Lexusy” rear-end looks given by its tailpipes, the 458’s single rear lamp treatment with its surrounding air-vent works great, and is beautiful as well as refreshing from the quad-taillight layout. All the way down, you can see a deep spilt rear-diffuser. This last aerodynamic component, with the rest of the herd helps create a claimed 309 lb (140 kg) of downforce at 124 mph (200 km/h) and a total of 794 lb (360 kg) at the Italia’s top speed of… 202 mph (325 km/h)… not bad for the new entry level Ferrari ! In between the split rear-diffuser, three central exhaust pipes remind you right away of the F40’s exhaust layout. This brand new Berlinetta is very avant-garde in terms of design and well proportioned, it is also very fluid making it appear very compact even if the 458 Italia is overall slightly bigger than the F430.
The Michael Schumacher inspired dashboard is as futuristic as the 458’s robe. The binnacle is divided into three sections; dead in the center, and in its own round pod is a large analog rev-counter housing a small digital readout to identify the gear in use. On the right, a digital speedometer mimicking a traditional analog round dial, can double as a navigation screen, but then annoyingly leaves you without a clue of how terribly fast you are going. On your left, another digital screen (VDA) gives you information on the 458 engine status, driver’s aid settings, and other variables like the suspension settings and even brake temperature. In front of the Italia's driver is the new and controversial three branch steering wheel with its wide array of buttons, switches and standard F1 shifting paddles behind the wheel. Unlike the F430, the 458 Italia does not only have a “Start” button, but it does retain the “Manettino” switch with its five driving settings, as well as the turning signals, some light functions, and the 458's wiper stalks now as buttons on the increasingly confusing video game controller… sorry steering wheel. Also, and only seen on the 430 Scuderia, a button adjusting the “Magnetorheological” adaptive suspension independently from the Manettino’s presets, found its way on the steering wheel to add to the mass confusion. To top it all off, a series of optional LED lights at the top of the Italia's steering wheel, as seen on the Enzo, can be ordered to help you to know when to change gear without having to look down at the rev-counter. But most likely this option is ordered to play “fantasyland” F1 driver, and simply turns the 458's steering wheel into a Christmas tree for F1 geeks. On either side of the 458's binnacle are “Star Trek” like interior vents and various buttons around to navigate through the navigation system, phone and radio mode. On the center and lower part of the dash, the AC/heater control unit graduated into a dual climate zone system, which is a nice modern touch. Sadly though, the 458's sequential F1 transmission being the only transmission available meant that the legendary exposed metal gear lever gate is a thing of the past. Replacing the Italia's metal gate on the tunnel console are three buttons placed on a triangular pattern and fitted to the curvy tunnel console like in the “California”. From left to right you have the Launch Control (LC) mode, Reverse “R”, and “Auto” where surprisingly the 458 also excels as a Grand Tourer.
The 458 Italia's mid-rear, 4.5 liter (274 cu in) V8 engine has four-cams, 48 valves, and is a big step forward from the F430 and its 4.3 liter (263 cu in) V8 developing 490 ps/483 hp against the Italia’s 570 ps/562 hp. The Italia’s enlarged dry-sump V8 is fitted with variable intake and exhaust valves, but more importantly the Italia’s V8 receives direct injection, as in the California. With this and the use of low frictional internal moving parts, the 458 Italia’s fuel consumption is reduced by 13%, while more amazingly this also helps produce as mentioned a strong 570 ps/562 hp at a very high 9000 rpm.
Those numbers make the Italia’s engine, the highest revving production V8 in the world, and as usual all those 562 prancing horses are delivered to the rear wheels via a seven speed dual clutch gearbox almost identical to the California’s transmission. This new transmission is so quick that it can now up-shift in 40 milliseconds, while it took 60 milliseconds for the 430 Scuderia to do its upshifts. To handle and put all this power to the ground, the steering wheel’s Manettino controls five different settings that range from having all the driver’s aids on maximum alert when the weather doesn’t allow you any playtime, to something much more dynamic and fun as found on the “Race” mode. On this mode, the 458 driver’s aids like the new rear differential “E-Diff 3”, the new traction control “F1-Trac”, and the Electronic Stability Program “ESP” commanded by the same ECU (computer) are still active, but it allows you to push the 458 a little more to the limits without constantly interfering. With all this onboard technology, Ferrari claims that the 458 can get you out of corners 32% faster than the F430, which is quite an achievement. The last Manettino setting is the “Off” mode where all safety nets are gone and you are left on your own with a well balanced beast. The other fun factor provided by the 458 is its quick and direct steering, followed by another great fun factor… the screaming and thunderous exhaust note.
To be able to stop this Supercar with a 0-60 mph time in 3.35 seconds, the 458 Italia’s carbon ceramic brakes, armed with ABS, have the interesting feature of pre-loading the brake pads up to the carbon disc to reduce 458's braking time response when the throttle is released. According to Ferrari this system allows you to bring the 458 Italia from 62 mph (100 km/h) to 0 in 106.6 feet (32.5 m) and that is always a good thing! With this feat of advanced technical engineering and power, the 458 Italia is able to match the Ferrari 430 Scuderia, and Enzo’s lap time around Ferrari’s private track at Fiorano!
In 2010, the 458 Italia “Challenge” was introduced as a racing formula for private customers wanting to go “458 racing”. The 458 Challenge develops the same horsepower as the road version, but weighs less, and has stiffer suspension settings, and better second generation carbon ceramic brakes (CCM2). But if you want to take your racing a little more seriously, the Ferrari 458 GTC could be yours for the 2011 GT2 Class for around three quarters of a million dollars. The 458 GTC is a hardcore rear winged 458 Italia with a six speed sequential Hewland transmission, and a restricted power output of 470 hp.
On another street legal note, Maranello finally announced in August 2011 the introduction of a drop-top version with the Ferrari 458 Spider. The 458 Spider unlike its predecessor but like the California, receives a new and safer aluminum retractable roof-top giving better thermal and sound-proofing, than some conventional canvas tops weighing 55 lb (25 Kg) more. This prowess is due to the 458 Spider’s retractable aluminium hard-top that can be lodged under the rear panel in a remarkable 14 seconds, and its already excellent stiff chassis. The chassis only needed minor strengthening tweaks to achieve the same rigidity whether the top was up or down. Fitting an all automated retractable roof on a Supercar is a first, and this one is particularly well designed making it even hard to distinguish between the Berlinetta or the Spider when viewed from the front. Behind the 458 Italia's headrests are highly perched flowing buttresses fitted with roll-over safety components. The rear panel dives down into two large rear air-intakes by the taillights, which are wider than the ones found on the Berlinetta (Coupe) due to the deletion of its small intakes lodged at the end of the rear quarter windows. Just above the 458's rear air-intakes entries on the rear panel are two rows of three air-vents reminding you of the 206/246 Dino’s vents. To decrease air turbulence and increase your social life when driving with the top down, a large variable electric rear Wind Stop is particularly efficient at keeping the air flowing above your head at high speed even over 124mph (200 km/h). Behind the Italia's occupants, a decent rear bench allows for your weekend cargo, but it is at the helm of the 458 that you can feel that the mapping for the throttle response, suspension and exhaust note have been recalibrated for a more open driving experience. With a slightly less aerodynamic, but lighter body, the 458 Spider is as fast to get to 60 mph from a standstill in 3.35 seconds, while the irrelevant top speed lost a little bit with a still impressive 199 mph (320 km/h).
In April 2012, for Ferrari’s 20th year of presence in China, a very limited production of only 20 Ferrari 458 Italias simply named “20th Anniversary” were offered to the people of the Republic of China. This very limited 458 model finished in “Marco Polo Red” adorns a wide central black stripe framed in a golden trim from front to back, while the hood section houses a golden dragon. The same striped theme without the dragon was also added on the doorsills and the front aerofoil while the wheels were also finished in gold. Inside this special 458 Italia, the carbon fiber tunnel console has a red finish to it with a Chinese “Start” inscription on the Start button, and a numbered plaque with Chinese inscriptions. Furthermore a “20th Anniversary Special Edition” plaque adorns the dash, and also golden embroidery on the car’s headrest finishes this desirable Italia.
As we have now been accustomed to from Ferrari since the 360 Challenge Stradale, the entry-level berlinettas always have later on received a “street racing” version model, and in November 2013 the Ferrari 458 Speciale brought us just that.
As usual, the Ferrari 458 Speciale is lighter and more powerful than the 458 Italia with a significant 198 lb/ 90 kg weight reduction and an increase of horse power for a total of 605 ps / 597 hp still at 9000 rpm. The torque figure remains at 398 ft-lb at 6000 rpm but it is spread more evenly across the rev range and helps with the increase in power and weight reduction to launch the 458 Speciale to 60 mph from a stand still in 3 sec flat while the top speed remains at 202 mph / 325 km/h.
On the outside the 458 Speciale received quite a plethora of modifications from the deletion of the aerolastic front winglets for 3 flaps around the Ferrari logo to decrease drag at speed when they open at 106 mph / 170 km/h. A bigger split front meshed grill with side turning vanes were added to increase cooling and downforce. Also on the 458 Speciale hood a wide ground effect depression vent helps create more downforce on the front axle. By the headlamps a bigger slatted vent is also added as well as new doorsills fitted with an aerodynamic fin to again add downforce. The wider Speciale five-dual spoke 20” wheels are also new and are fitted with the latest carbon ceramic discs (CCM3) which are comparable to the “LaFerrari” Hypercar and are equipped with ABS and EBD (electronic brake force distribution) as in the 458 Italia. At the back an accentuated spoiler is fitted and a wider meshed grill helps dissipate hot air from the engine bay. Underneath the tri-exhaust system gives way to two exhaust pipes separated by a more pronounced rear diffuser fitted with 3 flaps which is computer controlled and act depending on the 458 Speciale's speed and lateral acceleration.
Inside the 458 Speciale everything remains just about identical aside from carbon fiber everywhere and the anti-reflective and grippy alcantara (faux-suede) found on the dashboard and seats. The only big visual changes come from the tunnel console where the transmission button modes are now placed on a “fin/wing”, and on the passenger side where knee padding is found instead of the glove box.
Driving the Ferrari 458 Speciale is a more focused experience due to the stiffer suspension setting and faster steering, but also the dual clutch 7 speed F1 gearbox is even faster than before with 20% faster upshifting time and 44% faster downshift time. Also a Side Slip Control (SSC) setup is available as part of the Manettino program settings which allows you to drift the car as wanted but still with the ESP (Electronic Stability Program) “On” in case you get the 458 Speciale a little too much out of shape. The SSC System doesn’t just help you stay alive but it also and simply made the average driver go faster by using the E-diff 3 system while at the same time reducing the intervention of Ferrari’s traction control (F1-Trac).
Like the F430 and its ultimate evolution, the Scuderia Spider 16M, Ferrari announced the 458 Italia equivalent in September 2014 at the Paris Motor Show with the Ferrari 458 Speciale Aperta or Simply the Ferrari 458 Speciale A. The “Aperta” nomenclature or “Open” in Italian was first seen with the 599 program and is in the 458’s case essentially a lightweight 458 Speciale Spider like the Scuderia Spider 16M was to the F430. The engine has the same power output as the Speciale with its 605 ps / 597 hp at 9000 rpm, and the overall weight has also been reduced 198 lb / 90 kg compared to the “standard” 458 Italia Spider. As for the performance aspect, the 0-60 mph came in 3 seconds as in the Speciale Berlinetta (Coupe) but the Speciale A hits a top speed wall due to its less aerodynamic shape at 199 mph / 320 km/h like the 458 Spider. As for the interior and exterior the Speciale A is identical as the Speciale aside from the retractable top of course. What is also identical to the Speciale is all the electronic aids including the Side Slip Control (SSC) which improves your cornering speed. Sadly though the Ferrari 458 Speciale A is only being produced at 499 units like Scuderia Spider 16M, which makes it a very desirable Ferrari indeed.
The Ferrari 458 Italia is an immense commercial success that brought Ferrari’s laurel crown to a higher level. But this success and adulation was easy to justify with the Italia’s good looks, performance, reliability, handling at the limits, fit and finish and everyday usability. Hopefully the next entry level Ferrari will keep riding this wave of beauty and technology with the same cohesive and harmonious balance. This collaborative work between the design team and engineers put the 458 where no other Ferrari has gone before, giving this time around, a reason for the tifosis to proudly call it “a FERRARI !” with all the mystique that surrounds the prancing horse name!
|Model/Year||Ferrari 458 Italia
|Ferrari 458 Spider
|Ferrari 458 Speciale
|Ferrari 458 Speciale A
|Engine Type||All alloy V8 @ 90˚, DOHC. 4V (32V)
Dry Sump, Mid-rear Longitudinal
|Capacity||4497 cc / 274 cu in|
|Fuel Feed||Direct Fuel Injection|
|Power||570 ps / 562 hp @ 9000 rpm||570 ps / 562 hp @ 9000 rpm||605 ps / 597 hp @ 9000 rpm
||605 ps / 597 hp @ 9000 rpm
|Torque||398 lb-ft / 540 nm @ 6000 rpm||398 lb-ft / 540 nm @ 6000 rpm||398 lb-ft / 540 nm @ 6000 rpm||398 lb-ft / 540 nm @ 6000 rpm|
|Transmission||7 speed F1 Dual Clutch (Getrag)
E-Diff 3 - RWD
|Top Speed||202 mph - 325 km/h||199 mph - 320 km/h||202 mph - 325 km/h||199 mph - 320 km/h|
|3.35 sec||3.4 sec||3 sec||3 sec|
|Weelbase||2650 mm / 104.3 in|
|Front Suspension||2 Wishbones, Coil Springs, Anti-roll Bar
Magnetorheological dampers (SCM)
|Rear Suspension||Multi links, Coil Springs, Anti-roll Bar
Magnetorheological dampers (SCM)
|Brakes||Carbon Ceramic Disc all around, ABS, EBD
- Front: 398 mm 6 pot calipers
- Rear: 360 mm
|Carbon Ceramic Disc around, ABS, EBD
- Front: 398 mm 6 pot calipers (CCM3)
- Rear: 360 mm (CCM3)
|Front Tires||235/35 ZR20||245/35 ZR20|
|Rear Tires||295/35 ZR20||305/30 ZR20|
|Steering||Assist. Rack & Pinion|
|Weight||3303 kg / 1498 kg||3384 kg / 1535 kg
+82 lb / +37 kg over Italia
|3075 lb / 1395 kg
-198 lb / -90 kg over Italia
|3186 lb / 1445 kg
-198 lb / -90 kg over Spider
|Country of Origin||Italy|