The Ferrari 458 Italia - The Supercar to Beat
Executive Summary By K Anders
The main event of the sports car world for 2010 has arrived with the launch of the Ferrari 458 Italia. The claimed performance figures of this new arrival are insane with a 0-60mph time of 3.4 seconds, not only fast in its own right but substantially faster than even the F430, the model it is replacing. Considering this is supposedly the entry-level model in the Ferrarirange, the price point is higher than previous models at the same level, substantially higher than its predecessor the F430. The baby of the Ferrari family has grown up.
Let's talk performance. The 458 provides a huge power to weight ration and provides massive speed which doesn't just build and build - it's like a rocket ship all the way through the gears and right up to 9000 revs. In terms of the transmission the gearbox is a triumph and despite being a double clutched set-up with paddles on the wheel it is always very responsive and never feels removed or clinical. The throttle is almost too sensitive with no room to ease on the power with subtlety, which feels almost at odds with the refined transmission. Sound wise the 458 Italia delivers like you would expect from a Ferrari with a vicious roar and a throaty burble on the over-run.
In terms of handling, the steering is light and you barely have to turn the wheel due to a very fast steering rack - only a couple of turns are needed to get from lock to lock. With pretty much everything you need found on the steering wheel itself, the 458 provides a very hands on drive with no distractions away from you, the wheel and the road ahead. There is fantastic traction in all conditions and the ride of the 459 feels much stiffer and more rigid than the F430.
Inside the car the cabin is a big step up on previous generations with a futuristic looking contoured dash angled towards the driver. It's also fairly functional with two displays either side of the central dash, one for the sat-nav and there other providing a host of information about the cars current status. Some argue that the styling of Ferrari's over recent years haven't been too great - eye-catching yes but not always pretty. If that were the case then the 458 bucks the trend. It truly is a sight to behold. The exterior style isn't purely for show either though with performance always in mind. The 458 is undoubtedly the performance car launch of the year and has thrown down the gauntlet for its competitors.