A look at the Ferrari 458 Italia

It remains one of the best-looking supercars out there, so we had an in-depth look at the Ferrari 458 Italia to find out what Maranello's finest is all about.

Saying a Ferrari is special is like saying that chocolate is "nice" or that Germans are "efficient." That's a given. Of course a Ferrari is special; it's a car that comes from more precious lineage than the Thai royal family.

Each car is polished to within an inch of its life; Ferrari's engines are tuned to noisy perfection then thrashed to the ragged edge around Maranello's test track. They're more than merely "special" -- they're the epitome of a supercar. Every inch of them screams "I'M AWESOME" to anyone who'll look, which is most people, because Ferraris have a wonderful effect on people.

The 458 Italia was the first of the "new" breed of cars from Modena. Designed as much by hand as by computer, it was designed to go as quickly as possible in any given situation as well as turn heads and keep its occupants nice and comfy.

Every vent, dent, and detail on the 458 has a purpose -- some relieve pressure in the wheel arches, some vent heat, and others keep hot things cool. Each is needed for a specific purpose, yet doesn't look unsightly in any way.

The 458's interior is a thing of beauty: carbon fiber, leather, and Alcantara. The seats are sculpted so your body stays in place as you take corners, but also so your arse doesn't drop off to sleep. All the controls are within reach of the driver and become rather intuitive after a while, though to start with, they're very confusing.

However, everything else is just a sideshow to the main, sonorous event: 4.5 litres of V8 howling as it churns through 562 bhp and 398 lb. ft. The acceleration on offer is infectious not just because of the way it pins you into your expertly trimmed seat, but because it goes hand in hand with a noise unlike anything I've ever heard pour out of a car. It wails, screams, and tears its way through your soul in a way that no other car can. It'll ring in your ears for days after you're done driving it. It'll be a fond memory for years.

Naturally the 458's stats are impressive: 0 to 62 mph in 3.4 seconds, 202 mph at top whack. But unless you own a race track you'll never use them properly; you'll enjoy knowing they're there and hint at the car's full potential with an occasional throttle blip and a tear away at the lights.

The blue bombshell we drove turned all manner of heads -- people asked what it was, how fast it was, whether it was ours, how much it was (£271,125, if memory serves, or $412,000 U.S.), and so on. No one was rude about it, nobody swore at us. It was enjoyed by all who came across it.

The 458 Italia is more than a car, it's an ornament and an example to everyone that cars can evoke the best reactions in everyone. It's a supercar in every sense.

Specs
Engine 4.5-litre V8
Power 562 bhp
Torque 398 lb. ft.
0-62 mph 3.4 seconds
Top speed    202 mph

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