Ferrari 458 Speciale: More of everything (except weight)

Ferrari has announced a new take on the 458 Italia for the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, the 458 Speciale.

A third variation of the 458 Italia is soon to be upon us. The 458 Speciale is a hard-core, focused version of the already rapid Ferrari supercar.

Let's start with the numbers. The 458 Speciale boasts the same 4.5-litre V8 as the standard car, but it's been given a 35 bhp power hike and puts out 597 bhp. Some basic maths tells us that it puts out 133 bhp per litre, which is more than any naturally aspirated engine before it.

Extra power means extra speed; the 458 Speciale will now hit 62 mph from rest in 3 seconds, down from 3.4 in the "lesser" models. It goes 0-124 mph in just 9.1 seconds, which in more realistic terms is the amount of time it takes a Mini Cooper to hit 62 mph. Damn.

Ferrari hasn't released a top speed as of yet, but it's safe to say it'll best the "base" model's 202 mph by some margin. However, the Italian firm has said it's 1.5 seconds faster around its test track than an Enzo and only half a second off the F12 Berlinetta's pace. Again: damn.

Its speed comes not only from its power but also its tweaked aerodynamics. Gone are the entry-level car's bendable wings, in are two massive air dams. There are wings on the side of its chin to smooth airflow over the front wheels and another set at the back to calm the wind rushing over the rears.

Ferrari has replaced the smooth bonnet with a pretty massive scoop, which means the boot underneath is probably now only suitable for a spare pair of pants and some wet wipes for a passenger.

The rear has changed as well -- the Speciale's boot line ascends into a spoiler that sits over a mesh grille to allow its DCT gearbox to cool more easily. Ferrari has removed the F40-esque triple-pipe exhaust system and replaced it with two meaty-looking noise cannons reminiscent of the old 430 Scuderia. They sit above an intimidating looking rear splitter, too.

Technology has been employed to ensure the Speciale is as dynamically adept as ever. Ferrari has fitted it with Side Slip Control (SSC) so you can toy with its limits as much as you like. By measuring where the car is and cross checking with where the torque needs to be and where it actually is, SSC will keep you on the straight and narrow...unless you want to play, that is.

Weight was taken into account as well. Ferrari shed 90 kilograms over the "standard" car, bringing its unladen weight down to 1,290kgs. While much of its diet is under the skin, you get an impression of how much was done by looking in the cabin. You get no carpet, lightweight carbon-fibre seats, and a stripped-out centre console. The gearbox buttons once sat on a luxurious panel, now they perch on a carbon-fibre pointy stick of dreams.

Then we get to its name: Speciale. Ferrari felt it deserved such a title as its power, aero, and dynamic tweaks apparently make it the best it can be, putting it up there with the likes of the 360 Challenge Stradale and the 430 Scuderia.

You get less weight, more speed, racier looks, and more engineering with the Ferrari 458 Speciale. And we're 100 percent OK with that. What do you think of it?

 

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