While it’s true that every Ferrari is innovative by definition, its equally true that in the course of the Prancing Horse’s history, certain cars have market a genuine departure from the current range. This is very much the case with the Ferrari 458 Italia, which is a massive leap forward from the company’s previous mid-rear engine sports cars.
The new model is a synthesis of style, creative flair, passion and cutting-edge technology, characteristics for which Italy as a nation is well-known. For this reason Ferrari chose to add the name of its homeland to the traditional figure representing the displacement and number of cylinders.
The Ferrari 458 Italia is a completely new car from every point of view: engine, design, aerodynamics, handling, instrumentation and ergonomics, just to name a few.
A two-seater belinetta, 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 that 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 and lightness that inspired the project. As with every Ferrari, the car’s styling has been very heavily influenced by the requirement for aerodynamic efficiency, as can be seen from the down force of 140 kg at 200km/h 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 new flat underbody. The nose also sports small aeroelastic winglets which generate down force 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 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-plan crankshaft, the engine delivers 570 CV at 9000 rpm and, with an outstanding power output of 127 CV/litre, sets a new benchmark not only for the whole Ferrari range and the history of the company, but also for the engine market segment. Maximum torque is 540 Nm at 6000 rpm, over 80 percent 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 when still maintaining high levels of power at low revs.