The Ferrari 458 Italia
When Ferrari make a press release announcing a new member of the family, the world listens. The gestation of a new Prancing Horse-badged car is riven with rumour and speculation. But there’s one thing that always happens, no matter what emerges from the Maranello womb: there are gasps of delight.
We could wax lyrical endlessly having stared at these first few pics all day, about the audaciously sweeping lines that evoke the epoch-making Enzo Ferrari crossed with almost feminine prettiness of the 360 Modena. We could blather endlessly about the incredible F1-derived technology that, with the help of Michael Schumacher and the FXX programme, has filtered down into this latest apogee of road going excellence. Be prepared to read a mile of column inches about the new Berlinetta. But, on this occassion, we are going to simply show you our favourite passages from Ferrari’s press release. It has a certain pared down poetry to it, a technical set of clauses and tropes that are shot through with love. Enjoy.
“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 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 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 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 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 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. 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.”
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