Ferrari 458 Italia: A sharp but adult concept

Rossen Gargolov
Ferrari 458 Italia in the driving report
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Even if, apart from the red color, the beige leather and the jumping horse, hardly anything is as it was in detail : For this clarity, with the F errari builds Ferraris, there is no parallel. Is it just the design language or the engine sound? Is it the characteristic peculiarities (or the weaknesses) that make the reds from Emilia Romagna so typical? Or maybe it is the people in the design and production facilities in Maranello, who have long been closely involved with the matter, whose energy ultimately condenses so strongly in the vehicles that the object's gene code jumps to all receptors as soon as man and machine enter a certain one spatial relationship to each other?

There is always a myth surrounding Ferrari

Be that as it may: The objective approach has always been something when dealing with Ferrari more difficult test - simply because the factual argumentation was easily pushed out of focus for most viewers under the pressure of myth, tradition and racing successes. It is not easier to break down the essence of the new eight-cylinder Berlinetta because Ferrari has had a pretty messed up Formula 1 season - this derivation would be a bit too cheap. Nevertheless, the reason is as banal as it is plausible: The Ferrari 458 Italia spontaneously even to a contemporary less susceptible to myths without argumentative support - solely through a skillful appearance and the professional way of getting to the bottom of things simply through performance and ability. As is well known, this was not always the case.

Conceptually nothing has actually changed. As usual, the eight-cylinder works directly behind the crew of two, and the chassis, as in the direct predecessor models Ferrari 360 Modena and F 430, consists of an aluminum spaceframe construction in which various material characteristics are combined using special welding and casting techniques. But just as the 'little' eight-cylinder Ferrari has formally reinvented itself despite the many reminiscences of earlier icons,the further technical development did not follow a revolutionary but an evolutionary strategy.

Ferrari 458 Italia offers increased performance by working in detail

The four-valve eight-cylinder vacuum cleaner placed amidships still shows the typical 90-degree V-configuration and is still a four-valve engine, but now comes with a working volume increased to 4.5 liters. The fact that the power and torque are correspondingly higher - 578 hp and 540 Newton meters - was not only achieved with the classic means of increasing performance, but also through meticulous fine-tuning. The internal friction in the engine is significantly minimized - among other things through an intelligently managed oil supply, which not only better positions the oil quantities via two separate circuits, but also significantly reduces splash losses.

As the undisputed heart of the overall Ferrari system the engine coupled with the dual clutch transmission, which is already known from the California, is so dominant in the foreground of the action that it takes serious effort not to be distracted by this equally attractive and captivating drive - for example to concentrate on the new interior or that Steer driving behavior. The eight-cylinder sound, which sounds somewhat hollow in its typical way and is accompanied by an extremely silky barrel, is still something very special in its finely structured clock sequence - thanks to the 180-degree crankshaft offset that is common in racing engine construction.

Entry into the Ferrari 458 Italia without contortions

Despite its hardware programmed for maximum performance, the new design inspires with very ambivalent characteristics: First of all, its first appearance is significantly more civil than that of its predecessor . The pitch can be varied in frequency and speed over a wide range, which is why the performance arouses enthusiasm in urban quiet zones as well as on the racetrack - here cautiously quiet, there acoustically very present. Remarkably, the lazy shifting style of driving is also part of the standard repertoire of the super sports car, as is the automatic mode, which the dual clutch transmission contributed by Getrag provides as an alternative to the manual sports program. And all that with a thrill of revving, which, given the top speed increased to 9,000 revs, has no competition.

The striking sociability of the Berlinetta, which will be delivered from January, is actually expressed much earlier: The entry into the For example, thanks to the not excessively wide side sills, the Italia can descend without major contortions. The sitting position is already in theSeries seats arranged so perfectly that the sports seats slide to the back of the list of priority accessories. In terms of ergonomics, so many positive things have happened that, in view of the now sufficiently deep leg tunnel, the good thigh support and the steering wheel that can be precisely adjusted to arm length, one could get the bland idea that Ferrari has completely reformulated its own priority list.

The typical Ferrari touch is retained

But don't worry: the typical Ferrari touch has not suffered, on the contrary. The current version of the steering wheel is a wonderful instrument for increasing driving pleasure. The rationalization of the classic steering column stalk in favor of practical operation using buttons and switches directly on the three-spoke steering wheel - including the pushbuttons for the indicators - is a logical continuation of the Centralization of the interface set up between man and machine began in the Manettino. The haptically stimulating finger magic on the gearshift paddles is, in its playful lightness, a first indication of the highly entertaining and ultimately addicting interludes that the Ferrari 458 Italia brings to the best both in straight tempo booming and on winding roads.


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