Modern Classics: Ferrari 458

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The Italian-bred Ferrari has a long-standing reputation as a high-class, high-dollar sports car. The Ferrari 458 Italia took the previous Ferrari F430’s place and officially debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2009. Subsequently, the 488 replaced the 458 after it was shown at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show.

Building on the F430

Although the Ferrari 458 replaced the F430, it sported a completely new design and incorporated new technologies that were developed through Ferrari’s Formula 1 experiences. Magneti Marelli Automotive Lighting created the body with a computer system.

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Engine and Transmission

The engine is a V8, 274.5-cubic-inch (4.5-liter) known as the F136, and is from the Ferrari/Maserati family of engines. It puts out 562 horsepower at 9,000 rpm, which is the redline, and 398 pound-feet of torque at 6,000 rpm. The direct fuel injection system is a first for Ferrari’s mid-engine road cars.

The Ferrari 458 transmission is a dual-clutch, 7-speed Getrag automatic; there is no manual transmission option for this model. A double-wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear suspension have improved cornering over previous Ferrari models. Specially designed brake features combine with ABS and carbon ceramic brakes to boast a stopping distance of 90 feet from a speed of 62.1 mph or 80 feet from 60 mph. Official acceleration is 62 mph in 2.9 – 3.0 seconds. The Ferrari 458 tops out at 210 mph, yet averages 21.2 mpg highway and 17.7 mpg city.

Styling the Ferrari

Pininfarina completed the body design with design director Donato Coco with efficient aerodynamics in mind. Deformable winglets in the front grille raise or lower depending on speed to reduce drag.

Bertrand Rapatel, director of Ferrari Interior Design, completed the interior design. The interior was created with input from Michael Schumacher, a former Ferrari Formula 1 driver, and uses a layout commonly used in race cars. Many controls, such as turn lights, high/low beam switch, and others are located on the steering wheel rather than on stalks or the dashboard.

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Ferrari produced several variants based on the 458 model, including the 2012 458 Italia China Edition, marketed to commemorate Ferrari’s 20th anniversary in China. The 458 Spider prowled the roads from 2011-2015 after debuting at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2011 and featured a lightweight retractable hardtop that weighs 55 pounds less than a soft top and opens in 14 seconds. The Spider’s engine compartment saw reconfiguration to fit the retractable roof. The engine still as the same pick-up speed, but tops out at a mere 199 mph.

The 458 Speciale premiered at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2013 as the high-pro model of the 458 Italia. The body has a different design, forged wheels, a higher rear spoiler, and movable flaps in front and rear that cut drag and balance downforce. Modifications to the engine resulted in 597 horsepower at 9,000 rpm and 398 pound-feet of torque at 6,000 rpm. The Ferrari 458 won the 2009 “Car of the Year” award and the Spider earned 2011 “Cabrio of the Year.” Also in 2011, Motor Trend gave the 458 “Best Driver’s Car.”

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