Ferrari 458 Speciale, another "most powerful" ever
By C.C. Weiss
August 22, 2013
Ferrari has prepared an upgraded version of the venerable 458 Italia for debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The Prancing Horse has covered the 458 in improvements, from enhanced aerodynamics to increased power. This special variant promises to add an extra dose of excitement to a sports car already considered one of the best of the best by many a driver and publication.
Ferrari has been using the term "most powerful" an awful lot lately. The 730-hp F12 Berlinetta took on the role of most powerful road Ferrari ever back at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, ceding it rather quickly to the LaFerrari a year later. The LaFerrari gets its 950 horses from a hybrid powertrain, part of which is Ferrari's most powerful naturally-aspirated road engine ever, a 789-hp 6.3-liter V12.
The all-new 458 Speciale can't lay claim to "most powerful Ferrari or engine ever," but since both the F12 and LaFerrari are motivated by a dozen cylinders, it can rightfully boast about the most powerful Ferrari V8 ever. As usual, Ferrari isn't shy about advertising the claim. It further claims that the 135 cv per liter achieved by the 605-cv (596-hp) 4.5-liter engine is the highest ever put out by any of its road cars.
Of course, the Speciale is far more than just an extra 34 prancing horses over the Italia. The Ferrari Styling Center worked with Pininfarina to sculpt, carve and tuck the 458's physique into more aerodynamic shape, including active aerodynamics that help to optimize downforce and drag. Apparently not sick of superlatives just yet, Ferrari calls the Speciale its most aerodynamically efficient production car ever, citing a 1.5 E index.
The Speciale's upgraded vehicle systems give the driver better control and confidence when rallying the near-600 horses available at his toe tip. The electronic Side Slip angle Control (SSC) keep the car stable and responsive. The SSC system uses a new algorithm to compare the car's current side slip with a targeted number, adjusting torque management and distribution as needed. Michelin Pilot Sport Cup2 tires apply all that feedback to the ground below.
As a result of its enhancements, the 2,844-lb (1,290-kg) 458 Speciale cuts a few ticks off the 458 Italia's 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time, meeting the mark in a flat three seconds. It can run to double that speed from park in 9.1 seconds and lap Ferrari's Fiorano track in 1 minute 23.5 seconds, wedged comfortably between the F12 Berlinetta's 1:23 mark and the 599 GTO's 1:24. Not a bad neighborhood to live in.
Ferrari will reveal the 458 Speciale under the bright lights of the Frankfurt Motor Show on September 10. We anticipate having more in-depth information then.