Ferrari 458 Italia

David Petranker

SYDNEY, Australia

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Ferrari 458 Italia by David Petranker

Image taken at Ferrari Maserati Dealership Opening 3 February 2010 (Sydney, Australia)

Ferrari has released the first details of its newest supercar, the Ferrari 458 Italia, which represents one of the largest leaps forward in technology, performance and emissions ever seen from the legendary Italian car maker.

Its new 4.5 litre V8 engine produces 425 kW and 540 Nm of torque, enough to blast the 458 Italia to 100 kmh in less than 3.4 seconds and on to a 325 kmh top speed, yet it uses less fuel than the car it replaces. But these raw figures are just the start of the technological story of Ferrari’s newest model and to clearly indicate the range and depth of technology in the 458 Italia, Ferrari has named it after its home country – Italy.

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

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 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 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 458 Italia project – played an invaluable part.

The Ferrari 458 Italia’s Pininfarina design provides further evidence of the complete departure from the past that this new car hails. The Ferrari 458 Italia has a compact, aerodynamic shape, underscoring the concepts of simplicity, efficiency and lightness that inspired the project. As with every Ferrari, the car’s styling has been very heavily influenced by the requirements for aerodynamic efficiency, as can be seen from the downforce of 140 kg at 200 kmh generated by the new model.

The front features a single opening for the front grille and side air intakes, with aerodynamic sections and profiles designed to direct air to the coolant radiators and the new flat underbody. The nose also sports small aeroelastic winglets which generate downforce and, as speed rises, deform to reduce the section of the radiator inlets and cut drag.

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. Equipped with the traditional flat-plane crankshaft, the engine delivers 425 kW at 9000 rpm and, with an outstanding power output of 94 kW/litre, sets a new benchmark not only for the whole Ferrari range and the history of company, but also for the entire market segment.

Maximum torque is 540 Nm at 6000 rpm, over 80 per cent of which is available from 3250 rpm. Specific torque is a record 120 Nm/litre. However, what is truly extraordinary is the amount of torque available while still maintaining high levels of power at low revs.

The car’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 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.

This new Ferrari is also a major leap forward when it comes to cutting emissions. Despite the fact that the new engine is significantly more powerful than the V8s that preceded it, the Ferrari 458 Italia produces just 320 g/km of CO2 and fuel consumption is 13.7 l/100 km (combined cycle), the best in the entire segment.

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 2.42 kg/CV. 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: 0-100 km/h acceleration in under 3.4 seconds and a maximum speed in excess of 325 km/h.

For the new chassis, once more in aluminium, Maranello’s engineers incorporated various types of advanced alloys along with aerospace industry-derived manufacturing and bonding techniques.

With regard to vehicle dynamics, the Ferrari 458 Italia’s suspension features twin wishbones at the front and a multi-link set-up at the rear tuned for maximum roadholding and superlative handling. Along with a more direct steering ratio, the 458 Italia thus offers extremely rapid turn-in and body control whilst maintaining superior ride comfort.

The integration of the E-Diff and F1-Trac (now controlled by the same ECU) and their respective mappings is even greater, resulting in a 32 per cent increase in longitudinal acceleration out of corners compared to previous models. The evolution of the control logic, with even faster and more accurate calculation of levels of grip, ensures even greater roadholding, better handling and ease of control on the limit.

The same ECU also governs the high-performance ABS, providing even more precise control over the logic threshold and greater efficiency. The brakes also feature a prefill function whereby the pistons in the callipers move the pads into contact with the discs on lift off to minimise delay in the brakes being applied. This combined with the ABS has cut the 100-0 km/h braking distance to a mere 32.5 metres.

The Ferrari 458 Italia’s interior is another area of the car that exalts its sporty personality. The driver is welcomed by a new layout and a revolutionary ergonomic interface where the main controls are all clustered on the steering wheel.

With the Ferrari 458 Italia, Maranello has brought a highly distinctive new car to its eight-cylinder range. The company now offers two models that share a common, race-derived DNA, both exceptionally sporty and fun to drive in true Ferrari tradition, but aimed at two very different kinds of client. While the Ferrari California was created for owners requiring a more versatile sports car with a practical edge, the 458 Italia is designed for owners for whom the priority is uncompromising on-road performance with occasional track day capability, but who still demand a car that is useable in day-to-day driving like all Ferrari’s recent models.

Deliveries of the Ferrari 458 Italia to Australia and New Zealand will start in mid-2010, with orders already being taken by the Australian and New Zealand importer and standing in double figures ahead of the launch. Local prices and specifications will be announced when deliveries start.

Ferrari 458 Italia – Technical specifications

Dimensions
Length 4527 mm (178.2 in.)
Width 1937 mm (76.3 in.)
Height 1213 mm (47.8 in.)
Wheelbase 2650 mm (104.3 in.)
Dry weight 1380 kg (3042 lbs)*
Weight/power ratio 2,42 kg/CV (7.16 lbs/kW)
Weight distribution fr/r 42%/58%

Engine
Type V8 – 90°
Displacement 4499 cc (274.5 cu in.)
Maximum power 570 CV (425 kW)** @ 9000 rpm
Maximum torque 540 Nm (398 lbs/ft) @ 6000 rpm
Specific power output 127 CV/l
Compression ratio 12.5:1

Tyres
Front 235/35 ZR20 8.5”
Rear 295/35 ZR20 10.5”

Performance
Maximum speed >325 km/h (>202 mph)
0-100 km/h <3.4 s

Fuel consumption + emissions
Fuel consumption*** 13.7 l/100 km
Emissions*** 320 g CO2/km

Gearbox
Dual-clutch, 7-speed F1

Electronics
E-Diff3, F1-Trac, high-performance ABS

  • With forged wheels and Racing seats
    • Including 5 CV of ram effect
      • Combined cycle (ECE+EUDC)

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