With both the 360 Challenge Stradale and the F430 Scuderia going down as resounding successes, cardom has eagerly awaited the racy version of Ferrari's newest sensational mid-engined staple, the 458 Italia. The new car, finally unleashed upon the world, is called the 458 Italia, and it successfully follows the same sort of improvement through diet and exercise routine as the two cars before it.
The standard 458 has been out for several years now, so Ferrari have clearly taken their time getting this car right. It shows. Straight away, the most noticeable differences (other than the go-faster stripes on the test car) are the tweaks in the bodywork, which have apparently resulted in one of the most aerodynamic Ferrari road cars to date. Both front and rear have been revised, including the flaps on the nose that activate at high speed to reduce drag and a new rear diffuser. Another exterior highlight is the pair of fat exhausts at the back in place of the three smaller central pipes on the standard car.
This being Ferrari's stripped-out, hardcore offering, the changes are not just skin deep. Almost 200 pounds have been shaved off of the 458 Italia, and a couple of small changes in the motor mean that the 4.5 liter V-8 now makes 597 horsepower, up from 562. That makes for 133 horsepower per liter, the best ratio for any naturally aspirated road car in the world. That weight saving and power raising, along with faster shift times from the dual clutch seven-speed, enable the Speciale to get to sixty in three seconds flat, surely making a harmonious sound out of those twin exhaust pipes the whole way.
The staggering performance doesn't end there, though. With a combination of Ferrari's electronic differential, revised magnetorheological dampers, specially developed Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires and of course the previously mentioned weight saving, the 458 Speciale will rocket around corners as well. Specifically, it will do 1.33 g in lateral acceleration, the highest for any Ferrari road car.
There is no word on pricing yet, but it will surely be the same story as similar Ferraris of the past and indeed most stripped-out versions of already potent cars. To put it simply, they're taking stuff out of the car and then charging you a huge amount more for it. But with the vast improvements in the car's performance, the Speciale might just be irresistible. Ferrari definitely outdid themselves again with this car, and it fits right along with the company's more recent philosophy of staying on top of the game technologically, beating records set by their previous cars, and telling you about those records. It's yet another benchmark to live up to. You don't have to speak Italian to know what "Speciale" means, and you don't even have to know anything about cars to realize that this is one special machine.