In 1973 Ferrari introduced the first of a long line of V8 road cars. This initial model was called a Dino, after Ferrari’s late son. The Dino 308GT4 was the precursor of the newest Ferrari the 458 Italia.
Ferrari has a long history of naming car models for various features of the particular car. Sometimes it related to the cubic centimeter capacity of a single cylinder and other times to the seating capacity.
The 458 Italia derives its name both from its displacement of 4.499 liters rounded to 4.5 and its engine being a V8. The name differs a little from the last two models the 360 and 430 which both reflected a 3.6 liter and 4.3 liter engine.
This latest version is truly a masterpiece. Just examine some of its specifications. As mentioned, a 4.5 liter engine but this produces 570 horsepower at 9,000 rpm, a speed that would destroy the typical car engine. 398 lbs/ft torque at 6,000 rpm. Boasting a 12.5 compression ratio this is an awesome engine that will drive the 3,042 sports car to 202 miles per hour.
“The 458 Italia is designed for owners for whom the priority is uncompromising on-road performance with occasional track day capability, but who still demand a car that is useable in day-to-day driving like all Ferrari’s recent models.” This is according to the September Pilota magazine produced by the Ferrari Owners Club.
This particular car benefits from the company’s Formula One racing experience. It is show in the technological features along with the strong emphasis of an almost symbiotic relationship between driver and car.
Some of the technological transfers include a seven speed dual clutch, which provides smooth shifts even at full throttle. A unique feature for a V8 is three rear tailpipes. No, don’t ask me how they are connected to the engine. I have to figure this one out myself. New sportier gear ratios have been developed to match the new higher horsepower and torque curves that this beast produces.
As with past Ferrari cars, this one was designed by Pininfarina. This company surpasses itself each time with some of the most beautiful designed cars ever to grace the highway and race track. Besides the over 200 miles per hour top speed, this car moves like few cars in the world, reaching 62 miles per hour from a dead start in about 3.4 seconds. How about that for merging on a freeway! The car also boasts a new E-Diff and F1-Trac both of which result in a 32 per cent increase in longitudinal acceleration out of corners compared to the last V8, the 430.
Other noteworthy features include direct fuel injection, which is a first for the mid-rear mounted engine, along with the unique but typical flat-plane crank that has been a staple for Ferrari for many years.
Stopping distance of only 107 feet from 62 miles per hour is also a new record for this line. It is enabled by having the brake pads moved into light contact with the discs on liftoff. This a new prefill feature which minimizes delay when the brakes are again applies.
So all in all, this car represents a fantastic design, Formula One technology, amazing performance and carries on the tradition of the Ferrari company of producing some of the most desired automobiles in the world.
Dennis Dater has been involved with cars for over 50 years. His first love was sports cars when he drove a 1952 MG to high school.