Ferrari 458 Speciale A: On the way in the last 458

Achim Hartmann
Ferrari 458 Speciale A
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A Saying goodbye is seldom easy, not even from a car. Especially since it is such a special car that it has the word Speciale in its name and is only built 499 times. The special model heralds the last round of the 458 series, its successor will be presented at the Geneva Motor Show - with a biturbo V8. A separation that is doubly difficult, because a great vacuum cleaner has to retire.

We have the Ferrari 458 Speciale A ordered to Lake Garda. The fog-shrouded Venice would be the classic place for emotionally charged farewell scenes in winter, but the road network there isn't much. Never mind: Lake Garda also has its melancholy moments in the off-season. But most of all there are tunnels there.

Inferno at 9,000 rpm

That is important because that Ferrari 458 Speciale A is a tin roof convertible. His A stands for aperta - i.e. open - but also for Rabatz. And it doesn't take much imagination to imagine the inferno of eight high-speed hot heads at 9,000 rpm when the roar of the tunnel walls rolls back so hard that the seismographs in central Italy are still reacting. Because that's what we intend to do: We riot through the cleats one last time until our own sound waves lift us out of the seat. Wonderfully infantile, isn't it?

First, however, it goes discreetly along the lake shore. Temperatures just above freezing point do not stop us from electro-hydraulically raising the roof. It's icy, but the sun shining in reconciles the skin. Fold up the collar - and off you go. The main thing is that the ears are free. A cap is forbidden, it would mute the sound. But as it is, the Vento, the early morning north wind, blows the low-speed cooing of the eight-cylinder directly into the right ear canal.

This is where the intake tract seems to end - an acoustic illusion that the team around the departing chief technician Roberto Fedeli came up with Has. Unlike the Italia, the Ferrari 458 Speciale A not at the level of the two B-pillars for air, but through two gaps on the bonnet.

Ferrari 458 Speciale A witha compression ratio of 14: 1

The 4.5-liter exchanges blows with the driver: Only a few (racing) engines respond in a similarly reactive manner to modulations on the gas pedal. The naturally aspirated V8 of the Ferrari 458 Speciale A electrifies even at low speeds and feels like something special - also because even small jumps in speed cause a higher or lower keynote. That is important, after all, you can't let go of the reins always and everywhere. With other sports cars, this results in frustration.

However, when the opportunity arises for full throttle, the eight-cylinder explodes, thumps, and pounds the limiter. In the forward thrust you can feel the enormous compression of 14: 1. The greed with which he inhales fresh air. And the determination with which he exhausts exhaust gases. The V8 of the Ferrari 458 Speciale A accompanies everything with a Hollywood-style soundtrack that would shake any cinema.

We want to drive the level to saturation, head for the chain of galleries on the west bank. Breakthrough after breakthrough here. We dive into the throat of the tunnel; the dim lighting also dramatizes the scene with pale orange. So far the sound came in stereo, now in Dolby Atmos: the inferno echoes from all sides. Front, back, top, bottom - ferrarizing into the passenger cell of the two-seater from everywhere.

Hearing protection? Recommended!

Not to forget the dull gearshift salvos when the dual-clutch transmission rams the next gear into the drive train. And then it roars again in the tube. High speeds drive like pinpricks in the ear, the Ferrari 458 Speciale A ducks under its own thunderstorm of sound. He pushes a cloud of sound in front of him, which it has to push out of the tunnel long ago. Noise, pain, adrenaline. You can't help it, you have to keep turning up to 9,000 rpm. Does that already fall under compulsive self-mutilation?

Not only at heavy metal concerts, but also in the Ferrari 458 Speciale A hearing protection would be recommended - it is at home. Well, the ears have to go through that this time. This very last time. Or one more time? OK. One more tunnel, but then it's over. We take the junction shortly after the end of the tunnel and turn into the mountains, because the experience of the mid-engine two-seater is not limited to the acoustics. Under our buttocks we have the hottest eight-cylinder device currently from Ferrari. And that can produce more than just wonderful noise.

In addition to its ecstatic engine, the Ferrari 458 Speciale A also offers the steering wheel as an interface for human-machine interaction. She is no less reactive, but above all very communicative. The tasks are perfectly distributed between the two axles: rear drive, front feedback.

Ferrari 458 Speciale A supports withWell-coordinated electronics

Despite the enormous performance, you don't feel left alone in this open super sports car or patronized by electronics. Traction control and mechanical rear axle lock interlock so smoothly that the ESP has practically nothing to do. As motivated by the 4.5-liter V8, the rear rubber rollers claw into the asphalt at the exit of the bend.

The Ferrari 458 Speciale A jumps up the narrow passes like a mountain racing car, limited only through its enormous width. And so one is less worried about the limit area - it is almost utopian - than the fear of getting stuck on the rock and driving off the exterior mirror. We have already criticized it several times: today's super sports cars are much too big for narrow roads, but this is where their territory would be, because this is where the most beautiful curves can be found.

Whether Ferrari succeeds in something similar with the 458 successor as with the 458 F12? The twelve-cylinder super sports car has shrunk significantly compared to its predecessor - and driving pleasure has increased. Smaller, lighter, even more reactive - that would be it. Let's just think positively and look forward to the new one. That definitely suppresses the pain of parting.

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