It's a rare and good day when Ferrari announces a whole new car. Today we are treated to the 458 Italia, a new model mid-engine two-seater, which looks to replace the F430. Rather than the Ferrari California unveiled last year, which Ferrari had to defend as fitting into its GT tradition, the 458 Italia fits perfectly into the Ferrari stable, with front-end and cab elements that borrow from the Enzo and FXX. The car also shows a particular good-looking design from the front, with a uniqueness that hearkens to the Dino. Ferrari has had somewhat of a renaissance over the last decade, and the 458 Italia continues that trend.
Bringing in the modern tech, the headlight casings have stacked LEDs above a high-intensity projector. The 458 Italia uses technology Ferrari developed for its F1 racing efforts, a tradition with the company. Winglets around the grille are designed to deform as speed increases, covering portions of the grille to reduce drag. The car gets a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the F1 type Ferrari developed for racing and has been offering in the F430 and 612 Scaglietti. Other race technology appears in the form of the electronic rear differential, which gets integrated with Ferrari's traction control system, resulting in a claimed 32 percent better speed out of corners.
Ferrari says the 458 Italia uses "a new kind of steering wheel and dashboard that is the direct result of racing practice." Ferrari has incorporated a lot of controls on the steering wheel, along with the Manettino, the dial used to select driving style. As with previous Ferraris, the tachometer takes center stage on the instrument cluster, and a new color LCD on the left shows vehicle operating information.
The car's model designation, 458, indicates its engine, a 4.5-liter V-8. This is a new engine developed by Ferrari that uses direct injection, increasing power and fuel economy over the smaller 4.3-liter V-8 in the F430. The new engine puts out 570 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque, expected to drive the 458 Italia to 62 mph in less than 3.4 seconds. Ferraris have never been about fuel economy, but concern over climate change has Ferrari attempting to cut its carbon dioxide emissions, and the 458 Italia should get a little better than 17 mpg.