Newsletter 29: FERRARI 458 ITALIA – TIME TO BUY?
The Ferrari 458 Italia, launched in 2009 (South Africa receiving their first one in 2010) was a complete redesign for the company and the last V8 model to be completely designed by Pininfarina.
4.5 litre, normally aspirated V8, 0-100 Kmh – 3.4 Seconds.
Impressive figures, considering it is now over ten years old. Even pitting it against today’s turbo and hybrid offerings, it’s pretty competitive. The Bugatti Veyron Supersport, for example, is only 1 second quicker, and that costs one hundred and seventy hundred and forty million hundred……… (listen carefully), more!
The 458 represents Pininfarina’s discovery of the optimal aerodynamic shape, which many supercar manufacturers copy aspects of to this day.
When Luca di Montezemolo was shown the mock-up of the 458, he looked at the exterior, the interior, and the engine, and said this is the perfect car to represent Italian motoring, its style, its speed, its power, its grace, it’s looks, and that is why it’s called the 458 Italia. – This is Italy’s car!
The Ferrari 458 Italia isn’t just beautiful to look at, its design has a purpose. The two wings situated in the front grill, deform at speed to improve aerodynamics and reduce drag. Air flows down the body of the car into a vent just behind the rear side window, where it cools the dual-clutch transmission, the result of that though, warm air is forced out the back, and reduces drag in the car – It’s all rather clever!
It’s also one of the slipperiest Ferrari’s ever made. It’s drag coefficient, or how easily it slices through the air as it goes, is just 0.330, which is a very small number, but the thing is, it’s not just how it cuts through the air, it’s how it uses it to improve airflow aerodynamics and reduce drag. Someone put a lot of thought into this!
A certain Mr. Schumacher had a lot of input in the interior cabin, everything is driver-focused, within easy reach, and that’s because he wanted it to be like a Formula 1 car, so it becomes second nature just to fiddle with your controls, you don’t have to take your eye off the road, which is really smart, because in something like this, you really don’t want to take your eye off the road.
As a driver you have loads of information at your fingertips, the steering wheel has got everything you need. The engine start button, the suspension adjust, the indicators, and all the rest, there’s the manettino switch, which is a wonderful little invention, allows you to switch instantly between the traction control modes.
It’s basically derived from Formula 1 tech, and there are five modes to choose from; Wet, for when it’s raining, Sport, which is Ferrari speak for normal, then you have Race, which turns the traction control off a little bit, (Ferrari speak for….just a leetal beet crayzee), CT off, which turns it off quite a lot, (Ferrari speak for…. starta to aloosa de plota), and then you have to press and hold it for ESC off, which turns everything off (Ferrari speak for…. youa fuckina inasayna).
There’s two screens in this binnacle, as well as the rev counter. The one on the left gives you lots of information about the car tyre pressure, oil pressure that kind of thing, also there’s a little speedo, odometer and the fuel gauge. And on the right-hand side, well, when you’re not using the Sat-Nav or the phone or anything like that, you have a giant speedo, nice big numbers you can see just out of the corner of your eye, which is really quite handy.
The big question …. “What’s it like to drive?”
Well, when you look at it you think, will it be heavy, light, wayward, slippery, tricky – none of the above, thankfully, – it’s awesome!
If you drive like a saint, you can get up to 22 miles per gallon out of it. The gearbox in this thing is an absolute masterpiece, – it is once again derived from Formula 1 technology, so a dual-clutch. There’s one clutch always resting on the even gears, and one clutch always resting on the odd gears.
Everyone wants to know, just how long is the transition between the changes? If you ask a Ferrari rep, the response will be, “We’ve really stopped measuring that because well, it’s pretty instant.” – And they’re right, it really is! – You flip the paddle, down! Flip the paddle, down! Flip the paddle, down! – It’s just bang, bang, bang, – it is that instant, – it’s absolutely incredible, it really, really is!
The steering in this thing is absolutely incredible, it is just so direct you just pop the nose in and well, away you go, there’s no hint of understeer, and there’s no threat of nasty oversteer, with you spinning into a forest. It’s absolutely incredible, and you can get it out of shape if you drive like a bit of a numpty, or you really don’t know what you’re doing; – but as a car for a normal person, it’s really, really, good. Comfort-wise, you’d expect a car like this to be very uncomfortable, very hard riding, so you sit on the freeway and go, “God! I regret spending so much on this, oh it’s so uncomfortable, oh for the love of God, make it stop!” – But in actual fact, no, there are lots of suspension modes to choose from, so you can have a nice cosseting comfy Ferrari.
The 458 Italia is as Ferrari intended, a dream, it causes a stir wherever it goes, it has a visual drama that other cars struggle to match. It combines performance, agility and style in a way that few will ever see, let alone experience! – It’s a true Italian thoroughbred! – It’s the definition of desirability, of a dream! –
It is Italy’s car!
We are proud to be able to offer this
2012 Ferrari 458 Spider
R3 449 990.00