The Ferrari 458 first sported a mid-engined V8 berlinetta layout in the 1974 2+2 Dino 308 GT4. The 458’s more recent predecessor was the F355 in 1994, which made its mark as one of the more memorable two-seat “baby” Ferrari models. The public hasn’t been as welcoming to the concept of a junior Ferrari, but distinct models such as the V8-powered cars of Maranello have managed to take hold of a market. The Ferrari’s 308 GTB, however, is slowly changing such a notion. The fourth model is already being designed for the market after a softer experience from the Ferrari. But one shouldn’t underestimate this “junior’s” performance: its top speed goes beyond 200mph and delivers power at 562bhp.
The Ferrari 458 sports a more aerodynamic design and offers more downforces compared to the F430’s 360kg flat out. Another major change from the car’s design is the position of the engine bay cooling to the undertray, providing better rear diffuser operation and enhancement of overall efficiency. Triangular intake blending into the tapering windowline has replaced the F430’s and 360’s rear haunches. As a result, the 458 appears much more elegant. The efficient aerodynamics have helped thanks to a vent leading up the headlight, allowing the brakes to be cooled by air coming in. The air also goes out of the channel’s opposite side and reduces any lift on the front arches. Drag is also reduced at high speeds thanks to the upwards air angle of the inlet wings; at the same time, the wings provide downforce.
The interior is just as impressive, exuding a modern design that was missing from its previous generations. The abstract-like, protruding vents allow the dashboard to appear as if it is wrapping around the driver. The controls are practically positioned on the steering wheel or on the right side of the driver. Owners will have no problems easing into the driving position of the car. Other conveniently located controls include the windscreen wiper, indicator, and the headlight control.
The Ferrari 458 is definitely a powerhouse. The 0 to 60mph sprint time starts at three seconds. Its top speed can be achieved in just two, while 100mph is quickly accelerated into after seven. These impressive numbers are achieved through the 562bhp of the 4.5-litre engine. Years ago, packing that much power wouldn’t have been possible in a road car. The 458 isn’t just a junior sports car—it has achieved electronic technology, production, materials, and injection advances within its structure.
Although the main controls such as the windscreen wiper and headlight are on the steering wheel, drivers will have to get used to knowing them at first. Visibility isn’t all around either as the three-quarter view tends to get awkward. Looking straight ahead is no problem.
Luggage space is adequate, providing enough just behind the two seats. There’s also a boot up front, but it’s rather narrow in dimensions. The carbonfibre racing seats can be included for a shocking price; expect height adjustment to be a challenge with these chairs.
Putting aside its few flaws, the Ferrari 458 has to be one of the company’s greatest models.
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