The New Ferrari 458 Italia (2009)

The New Ferrari 458 Italia

Ferrari 458 Italia (2009)

While it's true that every Ferrari is innovative by definition, it's equally true that in the course of the Prancing Horse's history, certain cars have marked a genuine departure from the current range. This is very much the case with the Ferrari 458 Italia, which is a massive leap forward from the company's previous mid-rear engined sports cars.

The new model is a synthesis of style, creative flair, passion and cutting-edge technology, characteristics for which Italy as a nation is well-known. For this reason Ferrari chose to add the name of its homeland to the traditional figure representing the displacement and number of cylinders.

The Ferrari 458 Italia is a completely new car from every point of view: engine, design, aerodynamics, handling, instrumentation and ergonomics, just to name a few.

A two-seater berlinetta, the Ferrari 458 Italia, as is now traditional for all Ferrari's road-going cars, benefits hugely from the company's Formula 1 experience. This is particularly evident in the speed and precision with which the car responds to driver inputs and in the attention focused on reducing internal friction in the engine for lower fuel consumption than the Ferrari F430, despite the fact that both overall displacement and power have increased. However, Ferrari's track experience makes its presence felt in the 458 Italia not only in terms of pure technological transfer but also on a more emotional level, because of the strong emphasis on creating an almost symbiotic relationship between driver and car. The Ferrari 458 Italia features an innovative driving environment with a new kind of steering wheel and dashboard that is the direct result of racing practice. Once again input from Michael Schumacher - who was involved from the very start of the Ferrari 458 Italia project - played an invaluable part.

The new 4499 cc V8 is the first Ferrari direct injection engine to be mid-rear mounted. It has a very low piston compression height typical of racing engines which contributed to achieving its compression ratio of 12.5:1.

The Ferrari 458's soundtrack is also typical Ferrari, with an exciting, powerful growl emerging from the engine before it channels through to the exhaust's three rear tailpipes.

The Ferrari 458 Italia is equipped with the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission which increases performance whilst providing very smooth shifts even at full throttle. The engineers have developed specific, sportier gear ratios to match the power and torque curves of the new V8, guaranteeing high torque even at lower engine speeds and allowing the car to reach its maximum speed in top gear.

The engineers also focused on weight reduction during the design phase for similar reasons. Consequently, the Ferrari 458 Italia has a dry weight of 1380 kg with a power-to-weight ratio of 7.16 lbs/kW. Weight distribution is also optimal with 58 per cent over the rear axle. The result of the engineers' endeavours can be summed up in to two simple statistics which together perfectly encapsulate the Ferrari 458 Italia's exceptional performance: 0-62 mph acceleration in under 3.4 seconds and a maximum speed in excess of 202 mph.

Published 28 July 2009 Staff

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