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2011 Ferrari 458 Italia Preview

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2010
2011 Ferrari 458 ItaliaCritical Knowledge:
  • All-new replacement for the Ferrari 430 model
  • Aluminum construction keeps curb weight to 3,042 pounds
  • New 4.5-liter V-8 powerplant rated at 562 hp and 398 lb.-ft. of torque
  • 7-speed dual-clutch transmission
  • Estimated 17.1 combined mpg
  • 0-62 mph in just 3.4 seconds, according to Ferrari
  • Claimed top speed of 202 mph
  • Planned debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September
Ferrari, the noted sports car maker based in Maranello, Italy, was founded in 1928. The company's original objective was to sponsor drivers and build race cars. Their plans changed in 1947, when Ferrari began making street-legal automobiles. Over the next several decades, with heavy influence from its continued racing participation, the Italian automaker built countless sports cars that would eventually become classics. These included the 250 GTO, 365 GTB and Dino.

In the late 1970s, Ferrari introduced its 308, a successor to the Dino 246-the automaker's first high-volume sports car. The mid-engine, two-seat V-8 model was followed by the Ferrari 328, Ferrari 348, Ferrari 355 and the Ferrari 360 (one of the automaker's best-selling models ever). The 2009 model is known as the Ferrari 430. It is available in berlinetta (closed coupe) and spider (open top) variants.

The announcement of the new Ferrari 458 Italia, the successor to the current Ferrari 430 model, represents a giant leap forward in design, technology and environmental efficiency for the Italian automaker. A two-seat berlinetta, Ferrari calls its 458 Italia "a completely new car from every point of view: engine, design, aerodynamics, handling, instrumentation and ergonomics."

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2011 Ferrari 458 ItaliaDesign
Like its predecessors, the 458 Italia is a two-seat, mid-engine sports car with V-8 power. Designed by Pininfarina, the exterior is compact, sleek and very aggressive, according to Ferrari. While it is instantly recognizable as a Ferrari, the Italian designers have paid close attention to aerodynamic efficiency, the company says. The front grille features a single opening, diverting air to the radiators, while a flat underbody reduces drag.

The cockpit, with an innovative environment influenced by noted Ferrari race car driver Michael Schumacher, is fitted with a F1-inspired new steering wheel that is clustered with most of the primary performance-oriented vehicle controls.

The heart of every Ferrari is found under its engine cover. The 458 Italia features an all-new, 4.5-liter V-8 powerplant. With a high 12.5:1 compression ratio, and a stratospheric 9,000 rpm redline, the engine is rated at 562 horsepower, and 398 lb.-ft. of torque. The direct-injected engine is mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission that helps send the newest Ferrari to 62 mph in just 3.4 seconds, according to the company. With the exhaust growl blaring out three rear tailpipes, Ferrari claims the coupe will race towards a top speed of 202 mph.

While most high-performance vehicles are anything but fuel efficient, Ferrari boasts its new 458 Italia will earn an estimated 17.1 mpg on the combined cycle.

Under its skin, the 458 Italia features double-wishbone suspension up front, and a multi-link setup in the rear, along with a direct steering ratio designed to deliver rapid turn-in.

2011 Ferrari 458 ItaliaTechnology
Harnessing more than 500 horsepower in a lightweight sports car is no easy task. Ferrari, like most other automakers, has turned to sophisticated electronics to control engine power, improve vehicle stability and increase safety. With high performance in mind, the 458 Italia features Ferrari's E-Diff and F1-Trac systems. The E-Diff system includes an electronic rear differential designed to harness wheel spin and deliver maximum grip out of corners by distributing torque to the wheel that needs it (a series of sensors monitor yaw, acceleration, steering wheel angle, etc.). F1-Trac is a traction control system that is designed to offer stability under all driving conditions. It is programmed to be equally effective regardless of if the vehicle is driving through inclement weather or on a dry track under racing situations.

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