The Ferrari 458 Italia is proof that, when it comes to building road cars, Ferrari is definitely on a bit of a roll at the moment. But even considering the wonderfully desirable 599 GTO, arguably it is the 458 Italia that is Ferrari's greatest achievement.
That isn’t simply because the 458 weaves scintillating ground-covering pace with impressive practicality but also because, for all of its technology, it remains an interactive and deeply satisfying car to drive – be that at three-tenths on a back road or fully committed at your favourite track.
It can hold its own in handling terms with some of the best-handling cars we’ve ever driven, notably the Lotus Evora and Noble M600, while its performance is at a level that matches, and in many cases beats, hyper-expensive and hyper-exclusive supercars from not that long ago.
The interior is more usable and more interesting than ever before, and with a notable step up in quality. And almost as impressive as the 458’s sheer pace is its ability to do more mundane driving chores without batting an eyelid; this is an extremely comfortable car that rides superbly. Not exactly what you expect given the headline performance figures.
It is a shame, perhaps, that in the process the price has moved yet further into lottery winner territory, but on sheer ability the 458 Italia entirely justifies the premium over the F430 that it replaces. The junior Ferrari is now every inch the complete supercar.