Ferrari has just unveiled its latest supercar, the 458 Italia, claiming much improved green credentials. But who really cares? It's a new Ferrari with more power, better performance and an all-new style.
Update: Ferrari has now released photos of the car's interior, as well as more information about its entertainment/Bluetooth/navigation system, as well as the 458's electronic driving aids.
We can't think of too many people who would choose a Ferrari over a Lamborghini or a Porsche just because it emits fewer grams of CO² per kilometre, but even supercar makers are feeling the need to reduce their line-ups' CO² output. As such the new 458 emits 320g/km (down from 420g/km) thanks to a lower EU fuel consumption rating of 13.7L/100km (down from 18.3L/100km), although we doubt many drivers would go that easily on the gas.
More impressive, though, is that this improved economy occurs despite the fact that it's slightly taller, wider, longer and heavier.
Whereas the car it replaces, the F430, was a major reworking of the 360 Modena, the 458 is, essentially, an all-new car. Like the F430 and 360, the 458's body is made from aluminium, helping the car to tip the scales at 1380kg.
The new 4.5-litre V8 churns out 425kW of power and 540Nm of torque. It also looks gorgeous underneath its glass canopy.
Ferrari promised a revolution interior and to that end the designers have removed the high-beam/indicator and windscreen wiper stalks. Indicators reside on the steering wheel spokes, a switch for the high-beam lives on the left side of the steering wheel controls, with wiper functions on the right. Pressure pads for the 458's horn reside underneath the thumbrests at 10 and 2 o'clock. Stereo controls are on the back of the steering wheel.
The instrument cluster features three displays: a central analogue dial for the tachometer, flanked by two LCD screens; each screen is linked to a satellite control pod. The left pod features a D pad and is in command of the cruise control and vehicle settings; the left screen shows the cruise or vehicle settings screens, as well as ancillary gauges, like the voltmeter and temperature gauge. The right pod features an iDrive-style controller that directs the entertainment, navigation and phone systems; the right screen also displays those controls or a digital rendering of an analogue speedo.
The 4.5-litre V8 can propel the 458 from zero to 100km/h in 3.4 seconds, 0.6s faster than the F430 it replaces, which had an itty bitty 4.3-litre motor.
The handy manettino switch on the steering wheel allows the driver to select the amount of driver assistance offered by 458's Vehicle Dynamic Assistance system; it can be switched off completely for track work.
Headlights with extraneous slashes are all the rage, as are LED driving lights, and the 458's naturally got a pair.
Naturally only the rear wheels are driven. They are, however, linked up to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission; no manual gearbox will, initially, be offered.
We're not sure if three tailpipes are actually required, but it sure looks different.
Deliveries to Australians begin in mid-2010 and, although prices and specifications have yet to be released, the order books are open.