Currently reading: Frankfurt motor show: Ferrari 458
New pictures of the Ferrari supercar
4 mins read
16 September 2009

This is the Ferrari 458 Italia, one of the stars of the Frankfurt motor show.

The Ferrari 458 Italia draws inspiration from the Enzo and takes a new look influenced by the Mille Chili concept car. By supercar standards the shape is extremely slippery, with a drag coefficient of just 0.32.

Ferrari 458 driven on the road: read the first drive, see the pics, watch the Ferrari 458 video

Ferrari has confirmed that the car, codenamed F142 and long rumoured to be named the F450, will be called the 458 Italia. The name derives from the powerplant: a 4.5-litre V8 which Ferrari claims has the highest specific output of any normally aspirated car engine.

It certainly has more in common with superbikes than cars; at 127bhp per litre, the specific output is greater than that of many turbocharged engines.

The high-revving 4498cc V8 has very light internal parts and tiny piston skirts, resulting in low rotation inertia and a 12.5:1 compression ratio. It puts out 562bhp at 9000rpm, 500rpm higher than the 430. That makes it the highest-revving Ferrari road car ever.

It means the 458 Italia will be ferociously fast, and Ferrari claims it will sprint to 62mph in under 3.4sec on its way to a top speed of “over 200mph”. The 458 has lapped the Fiorano test track in 1m 25s, a fraction off the time of the Enzo hypercar.

While advanced engine electronics and lightweight parts underpin the extra performance, this will be the first mid-engined application of Ferrari’s direct injection fuel system, which appeared first on the front-engined California. It also runs Ferrari’s now-traditional flat-plane crankshaft.

The 458’s engine will be one of the most flexible in Ferrari’s history, too, with 398lb ft of torque arriving at 6000rpm. While that sounds peaky, it’s only two-thirds of the way through the 458’s rev range, and over 80 per cent (318lb ft) is available from 3250rpm.

The direct fuel injection has also helped cut CO2 emissions, producing a claimed 320g/km of CO2, even though it is faster and produces significantly more power than the 483bhp F430 and the 508bhp 430 Scuderia.

Dual-clutch ’box

Ferrari learned a lot developing the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox for the California and it has had to do even more development to fit the unit into the 458 Italia’s engine bay, under the curvaceous glasshouse.

The dual-clutch unit from the California has been modified with different ratios and now shifts even faster than the 430 Scuderia’s 0.06sec. The gearbox’s shift style is likely to be slightly more aggressive than the California’s.


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The E-Diff differential and the F1-Trac skid control system have long been the flagship carryover technologies from Formula 1, but the 458 Italia takes them even further and adds another piece of F1-derived technology to the brakes.

Instead of using individual ECUs for the E-Diff and F1-Trac, the 458 Italia has one ECU to control both (as well as the ABS system), resulting in streamlined processing and communication. Ferrari claims a 32 per cent increase in acceleration over the F430 (itself no slouch) out of corners.

The brakes feature a new system called ‘prefill’. When the driver’s foot lifts off the throttle, the pistons in the calipers move the pads towards the discs; that helps to reduce the stopping distance from 62mph to just 32.5 metres.

Aluminium chassis

Ferrari has used its experience from designing the 430 Scuderia’s suspension to create the 458 Italia’s double wishbone front set-up and multi-link rear end, all bolted directly to the aluminium chassis. It’s been developed with the help of Michael Schumacher, who was spotted testing the car.

Ferrari has close ties to aluminium specialist Alcoa, which has built a factory near Modena to produce chassis for the firm. The 458 Italia’s frame uses ideas from both the 430 Scuderia and the Mille Chili concept car.

It uses more advanced bonding techniques than the 430 did, along with manufacturing processes more in line with the aero industry. The dry weight of the car is 1380kg.

F1 wind tunnel

While the 458 was designed by Pininfarina, the shape has been developed using Ferrari’s F1 wind tunnel. The bases of the black intakes in the front bumper deform at speed, closing up the intakes and reducing drag. These intakes also provide downforce and feed air though the radiators ahead of the front wheels.

The car’s shape makes air curve around the cabin and run over the integrated tail spoiler. The flat undertray enhances the effects of the rear diffuser to create 140kg of downforce at 125mph.

Inside, the 458 Italia will take the opportunity created by the more luxurious California to become the sportiest V8 in the family. Ferrari says the steering wheel and dashboard are “new innovations in production cars”; expect a development of the firm’s wheel-mounted manettino switch.

The 458 will be built alongside the California in a new production facility at Maranello.

The car is at the Frankfurt motor show and is expected to go on sale in the UK next spring. It will be more expensive than the F430, so expect prices to start at around £150,000.

Dan Stevens

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28 July 2009

Its maybe an age thing or maybe just the odd almost computer generated looking pictures but it does not do anything for me

Maybe in the flesh it will be better

28 July 2009

Can any other manufacturer claim to have reduced its CO2 emissions for a new model by 24% versus the outgoing vehicle?! 420g/km for the 430 versus 320g/km for the 458.

How about a new measurement of emissions in terms of grams CO2 against power output?

On this basis, the Toyota Prius emits 0.66g/BHP (89g/km and 134bhp)

The 458 Italia emits 'just' 0.57g/BHP (320g/km and 562bhp)

28 July 2009

[quote 944s2jock]

Its maybe an age thing or maybe just the odd almost computer generated looking pictures but it does not do anything for me

Maybe in the flesh it will be better


I think you're right. Although inevitably it'll look impressive in real life, it is another design from Ferrari that seems a bit disjointed.

They appear to have taken some cues from the new BMW design style of arbitrary curves upsetting the natural line of the car. Whether that's conscious or not, who knows, but although it has been quite refreshing and visionary in many BMWs, it looks a bit contrived and design-house in this Ferrari 458; as if it's not been fully resolved. As you say, when the car is actually built and not seen in computer-generated images, it might look more effective.

To be honest, though, as with the 430, it doesn't really matter if the car isn't particularly beautiful, because technically it's so impressive. It's surely almost a must-have for anyone looking to buy something from that segment of the market.

28 July 2009

9000rpm.. SHEEESH... i can already imagine the sound haha... I like the styling however the rear end doesnt seem to gel for me and i can see porsche and even lexus design cues. its also not as evolutionary as i thought it would have been. although these are only photographs. will be a fantastic drive no doubt!

28 July 2009

The design isn't too bad... much better than the awful Enzo...

28 July 2009

+ 1 on topcat.. I think it looks better than either the Modena or the 430... I guess we 'll have to wait and see...

I am starting to think however that specialist scalpel sharp tools like these with ultrastrained engines are becoming worryingly close to trackday specials and away from anything that could be construed as remotely useful or sporty on real roads...

9000 engines, electronic everything, can you imagine the servicing bills for such a beast?

the 7k I paid for 1 year of running an old F355 back in 02 (thats just tyres, brakes and servicing at Maranello's) will pale into insignificance me thinks....

Its London image is also set to remain as bad as any before it too...

That is strictly for 19-23 age grouped rich Arab kids, street parking off the Kings Road and outside the posh clubs on Sat nights. Very few of these cars ever get used above their 4th gear.. sad innit?

28 July 2009

my God i LOVE it. It looks fantastic, absolutley stunning! why am i so poor!!!!!

28 July 2009

Damn you Autocar images!!

28 July 2009

Stunning and, I think, a definite improvement on the 430.

A V8 running out through a triple exhaust pipe. Impressive.

28 July 2009

its beautiful, elegant, equisite, stunning.....brilliant...I love it and I want one!!!!!....well done Ferrari!! (a totally beautiful car)


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