It's a rare and good day when Ferrari announces a whole new car. On Tuesday, we were all treated to the 458 Italia, a new model mid-engine two-seater that replaces the F430. Unlike 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 458 uses technology developed by Ferrari for its Formula 1 racing efforts. Winglets around the grille are designed to deform as speed increases, covering portions of the grille to reduce drag. The car has a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission -- the F1 type that Ferrari has been offering in the F430 and 612 Scaglietti. Other race technology appears in the form of the electronic rear differential, which is integrated with Ferrari's traction-control system, resulting in a claimed speed increase of 32 per cent coming out of corners.
Ferrari says the 458 uses "a new kind of steering wheel and dashboard that's the direct result of racing practice". Ferrari has incorporated plenty of controls in the steering wheel, along with the manettino (the dial used to select driving style). As with previous Ferraris, the tachometer takes centre stage on the instrument cluster, and a new colour LCD shows vehicle operating information.
The car's name refers to its engine, a 4.5-litre V8. This is a new Ferrari engine that uses direct injection, increasing power and fuel economy over the smaller 4.3-litre V8 in the F430. The new engine puts out 570hp and 398 pound-feet of torque, expected to drive the 458 to 62mph in less than 3.4 seconds. Ferraris have never been about fuel economy, but climate-change concerns have seen the company attempting to cut its carbon-dioxide emissions. The 458 Italia should get slightly more than 17mpg.
Click through our gallery to investigate the 458 from all angles.
Photo credit: Ferrari