Like Porsche and Lamborghini, Ferrari has the habit of releasing stripped out, track focused models based on their mid-engined supercars. Following the lineage of the F360 Challenge Stradale and the F430 Scuderia, the Prancing Horse has gone all 'Superleggera' on the 458 Italia.
Sporting a different front facia, rear end body work, fins protruding before the rear axle and a more flush and slippery body to accommodate the active aerodynamic systems, the V8 equipped 458 Italia that has been given a power bump in a trimmer package of almost 1.3 tonnes.
More power, lighter weight, active aerodynamics and a mid-engined V8 – sounds like the perfect cocktail of supercar awesomeness doesn’t it?
My only two gripes about this car is that it doesn’t look as pretty as the 458 Italia coupe. Heck the F430 Scuderia still looks better than this. I understand every design detail, no matter how over-the-top it can be, has a function more than fashion but with the additional bits and pieces the car has lost a certain charm and charisma the coupe had.
My other problem, is the name - Speciale. The PR department in Ferrari are in need of a holiday.
First was the LaFerrari which translates to ‘The Ferrari’ – which does not make any sense at all because there will be more Halo cars in the future and I believe the prefix ‘The’ is usually added for the ultimate model.
And I don’t think the LaFerrari is it. It is the most advanced, hyperactive Ferrari of the current decade but just like the F40, F50 and the Enzo, its successors would always be better and more engaging.
What would the LaFerrari successor be called? LaFerrari 2? La LA Ferrari ? LaFerrari Ultimatum? LaFerrari Rises? The name is so ridiculous that my colleagues and I have been inspired to affix the 'La' on our chat group name.
Similarly 458 Speciale. What is so special about the car? It doesn’t fly or transform nor is it powered by a flux capacitor. It still has two doors, two seats, a stripped out cabin and lots more carbon fibre but it’s the usual drill more than special.. isn’t it?
Its grinning widely, it looks silly and for some strange reason it has the colours of the Thai flag painted on the body. The bonnet is different, the self-deforming flaps are gone and so are the iconic triple exhausts. The rear diffuser is more dynamic and clearly F1-inspired. Perhaps, they should have called it the 458s – for speed and finished it in matte gold. Or yellow, green or blue.
However, like the Pagani Huyara, Porsche 918 and LaFerrari the 458 Speciale feature what seems to be the next big thing in sports cars - active aerodynamics. Unlike Pagani's, which is all theatrical and flamboyant, the system in the 458 is hidden and will become a standard feature of all new Ferraris in the future.
The 4.5-litre rump is the most powerful naturally aspirated eight-cylinder ever developed, punching out 597bhp at 9,000rpm and maximum torque of 540Nm at 6,000rpm. The engine is produced in the factory's in-house foundry using the same machinery and processes as employed by the F1 team for complex components. Around 8kg was also slashed off the engine's overall weight by the redesign of the intake and exhaust systems.
With this V8, the Ferrari 458 Speciale can sprint from 0 to 100km/h in just 3.0 seconds and 200km/h in 9.1 seconds.