Ferrari 458 Speciale supercar first drive Review | Autocar

16 Mar 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Ferrari 458 Speciale supercar first drive Review | Autocar

What is it?

The Ferrari 458 is the fastest, most advanced, but the most fun to drive mid-engined V8 car that Ferrari has ever And those are Ferrari’s words, not Which kind of means when you’ve got the F40 in your

This car will cost when it reaches the UK next and when it lands it will, undue exaggeration, be one of the most road cars there has been, at any price.

Why? the Speciale can do pretty much that the regular 458 Italia can do which, let’s face it, is a lot – and then adds a 20 percent of extra kaboom it really counts.

So it’s louder (inside though not out goes round corners a deal more precision, and makes the hairs on the back of neck not simply stand up but snap clean off.

its mildly redesigned but still beautiful skin, the Speciale is with new technology, most if not all of is there to enhance rather inhibit the interaction between car and road below. Truly, is one of the great Ferraris. and there been quite a few over the

What is it like?

Perhaps the 458 Speciale’s most outstanding trick arrives courtesy of its new SSC which stands for side control. It’s basically a new within the now familiar manettino set up allows you to go slightly sideways in the car but the ESP system still fully

It’ll do its best to save in other words, if you push too far by deploying too much power at the of a corner which is easy to do there’s 597bhp at 9000rpm your right foot.

The may sound like little than a clever version of control, but in reality it’s a lot sophisticated than that. And the it can bring in terms of improving the fun while reducing the lap times of the most competent drivers are not to be

In Luca di Montezemolo’s words who drove the car many times the development process – SSC is the that distinguishes the Speciale as one of the Ferraris .

It works by effectively predicting the optimum levels of tyre steering angle, throttle and engine revs might be at any point in a corner, and then back the engine revs and and closing the E-diff to deliver the effective cornering posture. not predictive; there is no use of GPS tracking for Instead, the car monitors what it is every couple of milliseconds and reacts accordingly.

In Race it won’t allow any slip the rear tyres whatsoever. But in CT off it will allow a fair bit of at the corner exit if it senses you have the right amount of lock applied, and that not too throttle is being applied.

Yet at the time, if you go too far and the car senses that not corrective lock is being or that the throttle is too far open, it then trim back the of torque, albeit smoothly. It feels like the car is taking however. Most of the time it feels like you are catching the rather sweetly, and then on up the road.

It won’t brake for you on the way into or do anything so intrusive as that. still entirely up to the driver to get the car to it needs to be at the apex of any given in other words, but once you that point, you can use the system to get on the harder and faster than you would, without any fear of the car around.

You can still turn off if you wish to go completely sideways, and risk spinning the car – but SSC engaged, Ferrari says the is actually faster and more to drive for the vast majority of Even those who are as useful as driver Marc Gene the system is at least as good as me in corners, especially in fast where the electronics can really a difference.

The 4.5-litre engine in the is the most potent non-turbo V8 Ferrari has yet produced, and although fundamentally the same as the motor powers the Italia, it has been massaged nonetheless.

With an 14:1 compression ratio to a range of internal modifications and a rev of over 9000rpm, it thumps out not more power than the 458 – in this case a 597bhp – but also torque, right across the rev range. And that makes it quite different in nature to the engine. It’s more in its delivery and a lot more gutsy less top end orientated basically.

Ferrari has also shaved off the 458’s overall weight everything from the racing seats to the rear screen has been preened to shave There has also been other upgrades, including the system (lifted almost from the LaFerrari ), the gearbox (20 quicker upshifts and a scarcely 44 per cent quicker downshifts), the (new bespoke Michelin Sport Cup 2s) and suspension.

Even the have been fettled, improvements to the airflow above, and across the car to reduce drag and downforce. What you end up with is a car can run rings around the standard 458 on road or track. And the last I drove one of those it didn’t strike me as being slow.


Hard though it might be to but, thus equipped, the makes the regular 458 Italia like yesterday’s car, at least. It’s so much lit than the standard Italia you’re going for it, yet still near as civilised when not.

Ferrari refers to the as an extreme car but apart from its sports seats and somewhat four point harness, it feels any less usable a regular Italia.

The ride is stiff but not unacceptably so, certainly not on the Italian backroads that we it on, and the damper stiffness can be knocked electronically via a wheel-mounted button softens the ride on bumpy

Should I buy one?

The 200 or so people in the UK who take delivery of a Ferrari 458 next year will not be this car to revel in its soothing quality.

Instead, they want this car to take to the next level when it to pure driver involvement, scaring them in the process.

And ultimately what the Speciale is all allowing drivers to feel they are sailing closer to the than ever before, to the point of allowing them to in a touch of digitally controlled lock, but without actually them at the same time.

Which is probably this greatest trick of all in the end – epically fast and exciting to but also easy to operate and with, all at once.

There’s no to be had when driving this in other words, only undiluted, albeit electronically pleasure.

It makes you wonder on earth will they up with next at the increasingly sweet shop that is in 2013.

Ferrari 458 Speciale

£208,000; 0-62mph 3.0sec; Top 202mph; Economy 23.9mpg CO2 275g/km; Kerb weight Engine V8, 4497cc, petrol; longitudinal, mid, rear Power 597bhp at 9000rpm; 398lb ft at 6000rpm; Gearbox 7sp clutch; Fuel tank 86 Boot 230 litres; Wheels (front), 11jx20 (rear), alloy; Tyres 245/35 (front), 305/30 ZR20

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