This is the Ferrari 458 Speciale, an extreme version of the Ferrari 458 Italia that also points the way to several technical innovations which will be found on all future Ferrari road cars.
The 458 Speciale - which has been unveiled at today's Frankfurt motor show - is described by Ferrari as being “a completely new, uncompromising, streamlined sports car concept.”
Modifications focus on its powertrain, dynamic capabilities and aerodynamics. In particular, the active aerodynamic technology is said to have been developed for use on all future Ferrari road cars.
Power comes from a modified version of the 458’s V8, with 597bhp and 398lb ft of torque it is the most powerful naturally aspirated V8 ever built by the company. It has a specific output of 133bhp per litre, which Ferrari says is the highest ever achieved by a naturally-aspirated road-going engine. Maximum power is achieved at 9000rpm; maximum torque at 6000rpm.
With a dry weight of 1290kg, the Speciale has an official 0-62mph time of 3.0sec and a 0-124mph time of 9.1sec. Ferrari says it has also lapped its Fiorano test track in 1m 23.5sec – 1.5sec faster than the standard Ferrari 458 Italia and just half a second slower than a Ferrari F12. It has a power-to-weight ratio of 1bhp per 2.13kg. Emissions are rated at 275g/km.
Styling was largely dictated by aerodynamic requirements, according to Ferrari, although Pininfarina was involved in the Speciale’s final look. The most significant changes over the stock car are the moveable aerodynamic flaps on the front and rear, which adapt to balance downforce and reduce drag as required.
Ferrari says these aerodynamic aids give “instant confidence and control at high speeds, natural power oversteer management and precise response to [driver] commands”.
With the aerodynamic aids in their most streamlined position, Ferrari says the Speciale has the best relationship between downforce and drag for a production car in its history. Ferrari traditionally does not consider its limited edition cars, such as the Enzo and LaFerrari as standard production vehicles.
The Speciale also has a new electronic system to make it easier to control on the limit, called Side Slip Angle Control, which Ferrari abbreviates to SSC. Using a newly developed algorithm, SSC analyses the Speciale’s slip angle, compares it to a target figure and then optimises torque management via the traction control system and torque distribution between the two wheels.
The Speciale also rides on specially developed Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, which are said to deliver “a boost in performance” over one lap, plus greater consistency thereafter and all-round wet weather grip. As a result, Ferrari says the Speciale has achieved the highest lateral acceleration g-force ever recorded by any Ferrari, 1.33g.
“The Speciale is designed to boost performance and driving emotion to unprecedented levels, yet simultaneously guarantee smooth, effortless control in all kinds of situations,” according to Ferrari’s statement at the car’s launch.