If you sit in the F430 and then step into the 458 Italia, it feels as though you have skipped two generations of Ferrari rather than one. Everything in the 458 feels modern and exudes a sense of handcrafted workmanship that was missing from its predecessor.
The protruding, almost abstract-looking vents give the dashboard the appearance of wrapping around the driver, and with most of the controls placed on the steering wheel or to the right of the driver, it is an extremely driver-focused cabin.
It takes some familiarisation to get used to the indicator, windscreen wiper and headlight controls being placed on the steering wheel, but in practice it’s a convenient set-up. There is the problem that, with lock applied, the required button could be out of thumb’s reach but, given the 458’s quick steering, it’s rare to need to shuffle the wheel.
Visibility isn’t great; looking straight ahead is fine, but the three-quarter view at junctions is a little awkward. Space for luggage isn’t bad, though; there’s some storage behind the seats and a deep, if narrow, boot at the front.
Our test car came with carbonfibre racing seats, which are pricey by any standards but also hard to fault, other than for their lack of height adjustment.
A vast personalisation scheme means that the success of any Ferrari 458 interior will depend on its owner’s choices. Anything from materials and colours to the width of the stitching can be personalised. Even so, we think that the standard kit could be slightly more generous. Sat-nav should be standard on a car of this price.