Ferrari 458 Italia. The ultimate supercar? XCAR

To the guys at XCARFilms, the Ferrari 458 Italia is the ‘definition of a supercar’. And they may have a point…

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What is a supercar?

On the surface that may not seem a difficult question, that is until you consider the myriad examples on sale today. The McLaren MP4-12C for instance is an example of efficiency and meticulous attention to design to make a car as fast as it can be. The Lamborghini Aventador meanwhile is a model designed so outlandishly that you’d be forgiven for thinking pen and paper in the design studio got the chop in favour of a chainsaw and a lump of clay. And then there’s the Ferrari 458 Italia. Taking inspiration from its Dino 308 GT4 and the F355 predecessors, the Italia was designed for two things: going fast and looking good whilst doing it.

Production of the 458 originally began in 2009, and despite having long since made way for Ferrari’s exciting new blood – the F12berlinetta – it boasts a design so subtly aggressive it has hardly seems to age: the elongated headlights; slick bonnet; sharpened flanks; the gaping front air intake. All were designed for maximum ‘slippiness’ and aerodynamic efficiency, ditto the sleek roofline. But then there’s the twin taillights, glass engine cover, Ferrari Enzo-like rear bumper and those 20-inch lightweight wheels. It’s all very mental yet purposeful. It’s all very Ferrari.

Don’t for a second underestimate the importance of that prancing horse on the bonnet. Old man Enzo may always have put ‘la machina’ above almost anything else, but it was not only because he believed so passionately in the brand. He believed in what a car should be: what a Ferrari should be. It’s a legacy that Maranello adheres to every single day, and why the 458 is an ‘Italia’.

Of course no performance machine is complete without a heart (or soul I should say), represented here by a 570hp 4.5-litre V8. Not your traditional supercar unit of choice (the Countach’s V12 bellows could be heard four time zones across at full pelt) but one which has that oh-so recognisable high pitch scream, and supercar performance to boot. From the line, the 458 hits 100kph in just over three seconds, and doesn’t run out of puff until it tops 325kph. Mightily impressive, not to say sphincter shrinking.

Though originally a departure from Ferrari’s then current range (topped at the time by the 599 GTO), the 458 Italia was nevertheless applauded for its racing-style drivability: don’t forget a certain Michael Schumacher aided in the development testing to give the machine that racing edge. Turn ESC off  – or all driver aids essentially – and stamp on the loud pedal with insistence, and the V8 will buck you from your seat like a startled bull. Drive the Italia like you stole it though, and the grip, the balance and the power delivery could fool anyone into believing the floor was glued to the tarmac. Fans were made quickly.

To the guys at XCARFilms, the Ferrari 458 Italia IS a supercar. THE supercar. Few would argue that.

Ferrari 458 Italia
Engine: V8 / 4499cc
Power: 570hp @ 9000rpm
Torque: 398lb ft @  6000rpm
Transmission: Dual-clutch / seven-speed F1
Front suspension: Twin wishbones
Rear suspension: Multi-link
Brakes: Disc
Wheels: 8.5-inch (front) / 10.5-inch (rear)
Tyres: 235/35 ZR20 (front) / 295/35 ZR20 (rear)
Weight (dry) 1380kg
0-100kph: 3.4sec
Top speed: 325kph

Categories: Road


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