Sunday 2 August 2009

Ferrari 458 Italia debuts 562hp of beautiful seduction


Even a car as good as Ferrari’s F430 has a shelf life, and with the official unveiling of the new 458 Italia, the outgoing model looks old indeed. Pulling some cues from its mid-engine predecessor as well as the new California, the 458 Italia is another breathtaking design by Italian corrozzeria Pininfarina.

Engineering has long been an even more important part of Ferrari’s road cars than styling, and the 458 promises to deliver the best V8 performance of any predecessor. A new 4.5L V8 revs to a stratospheric 9,000 rpm, and on the way it produces 562hp and 398 lb-ft of torque. A sizable 80% of that torque arrives low in the rev range, at 3,250 rpm, partly due to a 12.5:1 compression ratio.

Putting power down to the rear wheels is a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, optimizing performance and fuel economy, although with respect to the latter its EU test cycle 13.7L/100km (17.1 mpg US) combined city/highway rating is an improvement yet won’t be winning any awards on the green front.

In the same way that aluminum kept the F430 lightweight, the 458 Italia features all-alloy construction resulting in a curb weight of just 1,380 kilos (3,042 lbs) dry.

Yes, with all that power and such minimal mass to push off the line it’s extremely fast, managing 100km/h in only 3.4 seconds before running to a top speed of 325km/h (202mph). And if you know your Ferrari lore you’ll realize that bypassing the illusive 200mph barrier is a major coup for the Italian brand, at least in a volume production model. The 458 Italia is the first “mainstream” model out of the Ferrari stable to achieve this feat.


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