New & Used Ferrari 458 Italia: In Depth
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The Ferrari 458 Italia is a mid-engine, rear-drive super sports car that follows in the footsteps of the F430, 360 Modena, and F355. It’s one of Ferrari’s most technically advanced vehicles and one of the most engaging cars to drive available.
For more on the latest example of the car, read our review of the 2015 Ferrari 458 Italia.
Tracing the 458's lineage could lead you all the way back to the birth of Ferrari, but as a mid-engined coupe built with luxury buyers in mind, it is most closely of the line of cars going back to the Dino, and including the 308 GTS, 348, F355, 360 Modena, and its immediate predecessor, the F430. The 458 Italia debuted at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show before going on sale later that year.
While sharing its basic layout and proportions with all of those cars, stretching back to 1968, the 458 Italia presents a completely fresh and thoroughly modern face. The flowing, fender-focused curves, penned by Italian design house Pininfarina, are accented by sharp creases, acute angles, and high-tech lighting at the front, sides, and rear.
Inside the engine bay lives a 4.5-liter V-8 engine rated at 570 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. The engine was the first for Ferrari to feature direct injection. A seven-speed dual-clutch gear box handles shifts, sending power to the rear wheels. Front double-wishbone suspension and rear multi-link suspension provide body control, while an electronic E-Diff and Ferrari's F1-Trac traction control systems help maximize traction--improving cornering and acceleration by up to 32 percent compared to previous models, according to Ferrari.
All of that combines to give the 458 Italia a 0-60 mph rating of less than 3.3 seconds, a top speed of 202 mph, and combined-cycle EU fuel consumption of 17.7 mpg U.S.
A convertible version of the 458 Italia, known as the 458 Spider, was introduced at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. Using a retractable hard top that opens and closes in about 14 seconds, the Spider matches the hard-top's 0-60 mph times, but is drag-limited to a top speed of 198 mph.
A number of racing editions of the 458 Italia have also been build, including cars for ACO and FIA GT-class racing, as well as the Ferrari Challenge race car for the company's one-make spec series, and a model developed specifically for Grand-Am competition.
Like most of Ferrari's range, the 458 Italia isn't necessarily tied to the model year; updates come when Ferrari sees fit. In large part, that's because the 458 Italia can be had in any variety of custom configurations, up to and including celebrity (and deep pocket-) inspired creations like Eric Clapton's custom car.
As some other Ferrari models, the 458 Italia has been plagued by reports of fires in some owner cars, due in part to the use of a flammable adhesive in the wheel arches, which can overheat and potentially catch fire under certain conditions. Cars that caught fire are being replaced with new ones, and cars built after the problem was discovered use a new mechanical fastening process.
After the 2015 Ferrari 458, the model's days are likely numbered. The 2015 model year brings a 458 Speciale A, the A standing for aperta, which is Italian for "open"—this is the Spider version of the Speciale that was inevitable, sharing the hard-core coupe's styling and performance upgrades. When the 458's run does come to a close, the next mid-engine V-8 is pegged to get a turbocharged engine to go along with a new name.