For many months, automotive enthusiasts have been expecting the replacement of the Ferrari F430 to be named the F450, Ferrari today have let us know that it will be named the 458 Italia. Official images have finally been released, and while the car looks completely different to the F430, the overall shape is familiar. But what will really get the Ferrari enthusiast's attention are the triple exhaust outlets at the back, a feature that has been unique to the F40 supercar.
As the name of the car suggests, the size of the flat-plane crankshaft V8 engine has increased from 4.3l to 4.5l. The new engine also has a direct fuel injection system. But the big news for the engine is that it now produces more horsepower per litre than any other naturally aspirated production car engine in the world. The record holder used to be the Honda S2000 with 120 hp/l, the 458 Italia snatches the title with 127 hp/l. A power output of 570 hp @ 9000 rpm, means that it is now more powerful than its main rival, the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4. However the 458 Italia, produces 540 nm of torque @ 6000 rpm (the same as the Lambo, but at 500 rpm lower), 80 per cent of which is available from 3250 rpm.
The Italia will be the second car in Ferrari's line-up to receive a seven speed double-clutch transmission. Ferrari also promises sportier gear-ratios while maintaining the smoothness of a double-clutch gearbox.
0-100 km/h is done in 3.4 seconds (0.6 seconds faster than the F430, and 0.3 seconds faster than the LP560-4). Other important numbers include a top speed over 325 km/h, a dry weight of 1380kg, a weight distribution of 42/58 front to rear, 140 kg of downforce at 200 km/h, a power to weight ratio of 2.42 kg/hp, Co2 emmissions of 320 g/km, and a fuel economy figure of 13.7l/100 km on the combined cycle.
Ferrari has also spent time trying to better the new car's handling over the F430. The Italia gets the latest version of the E-diff and F1 Trac system, which now comes with a single ECU as opposed to two from the F430. Ferrari promises quicker accelration out of corners, and better braking thanks to a new system that moves the brake pads closer to the brake discs when you lift off the throttle in order to reduce the delay between stepping on the brakes and the car slowing down.
Even though the above pictures are accurate representations of the 458 Italia, all we can do now is wait for Ferrari to reveal this promising new car at Frankfurt's motorshow in August to get a real taste of the Italia. We can't wait.