In 2009, the Ferrari 458 Italia took up the torch from the already magnificent 430 that held the position as the V8 berlinetta in Maranello.
The spirit of the 206/246 Dino carries on, since it’s the 9th iteration in the mid-engine, “small” Ferraris.
To call the Ferrari 458 Italia “small” is almost a joke, since it really is brutal in any aspect.
Behind your neck lays a 4.5-liter V8 screaming at 9000 rpm, giving out 570hp which will keep on pulling until you reach 202 mph.
As with every manufacturer, we get a bit blind to marketing gimmicks. It seems that every new model is a “record-breaker” or “mind-blowing”, when it is mostly an incremental improvement over an existing model.
Not the 458. It is one of those few times that marketing is spot on.
So much so, that, to put things in context, it shatters the 0-120 mph time of its older brother, the 599 GTB.
In fact, the 430 Scuderia, which has a mostly track-oriented setup and is 135kg lighter than the 458 Italia, laps Fiorano slower than a stock 458 Italia with regular road tyres.
Ferrari went the extra mile with the 458 Italia, mounting a heck of a good engine in a very refined chassis and installing the most advanced electronics they could imagine tying everything together.
The V8 is truly a masterpiece for enthusiasts and mechanical nerds like yours truly. Ultra high-compression (12.5:1), direct injection, graphite-coated pistons and a top-notch dual clutch transmission.
I’d enjoy a stick and a third pedal, but I admit it’d be impossible for us mortals to be on top of everything with such a package.
Fortunately, the electronics will keep us on track if we get a bit snarky. The E-Diff works wonders and the F1-Trac adjustable stability control will let us as loose as we dare to be.
The aero department was up to the challenge, and maybe even on top of it.
The 458 Italia sports the most radical leap in aero performance in Ferrari; the active aero parts, which move about 20mm dynamically to adjust to speed and produce up to 360kg of downforce to glue us to the road.
When it came out, it was unanimously acclaimed. It shattered the competition, was mind-bendingly quick and gave a inmense sense of quality and refinement at any speed.