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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale - Review

PRICE : 2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale $291,744

The Ferrari 458 Italia is arguably the best-driving supercar ever built, as well as the most accessible yet capable high-performance car from the Italian sports-car maker. And it's definitely one of the sexiest, wrapping the best of Ferrari's mid-engine, poster-car heritage with just the right gloss and gleam to flaunt all the modern, F1-derived wizardry on board.

There's a replacement in the works for next year; and the 458 is going to be a tough act to follow. In the meantime, with the 458 Spider (convertible), and the 458 Speciale also still relatively new to the lineup, there's lots of appeal in this master work.

And then there's the 2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale Spider—officially called the Speciale A (for Aperta, roughly meaning 'open'). As the eagerly anticipated variant that combines the Speciale's higher-output V-8 (597 hp), with the Spider's surprisingly well executed retractable hardtop, it looks like one that will appeal even to those with multiple prancing horses in the garage. The Speciale A has a limited production run of just 499 units. 

The 458 Speciale emphasizes the importance of performance by trimming weight and tweaking the exterior for greater aerodynamic efficiency, while tuning up the suspension, control electronics, and tire grip for even more impressive track-day ability.

Both coupe and convertible models of the 458 share a low, aggressive front end with futuristic-looking headlights, a tall, flared rear end that gives the car a muscular stance, and clean, mid-engined proportions that distill the essence of a modern Ferrari performance car. The 458 Italia's interior is modern and luxurious in its look, but not avant garde or striking.

Sitting just behind occupants' heads, the 458's 4.5-liter V-8 engine is rated at 562 horsepower in standard form, and it'll rev all the way up to a 9,000-rpm redline. It makes 80 percent of its peak 400 lb-ft of torque from 3,250 rpm. But the numbers don't tell the full story of the Italia's V-8. It emits a soundtrack that will delight even those who typically shake their head at noisy sports cars.

In sight and sound, and in poise—as well as performance numbers—the 458 Spider is unparalleled among top-down cars. It’s sexy beyond all the usual cliches, yet it’ll be happy to oblige all of them; it looks technical and racing-influenced in all the right ways; with the F1-derived gearbox snapping off clap-shifts when pressed to duty. It's activated by steering-wheel paddle-shifters, and can get a little tricky when parking on inclines—but we think most owners are willing to live with that compromise. What Ferrari 458 Spider owner is parallel-parking themselves, anyway?

The layout is adventurous, cockpit-like, and highly functional and driver-focused, of course. You sit very low; firm bolsters jut forward beside your rib cage (those with stockier builds will find the seats tight). The ‘frunk’ in the 458 Spider is huge—larger than what you’ll find in some Porsche models, and shaped in a way that could allow two carry-on-size suitcases, or several weekend bags.

Only a thin divider separates the engine from the passenger compartment, and that means there's a symphony of mechanical excellence each and every time you fire it up and plant your foot. The presence of the engine transforms the car from a fairly mellow cruiser to a race-bred thrill machine with just a quick stab of the gas. 

It's not all about the auditory experience, however. The 458 Italia and 458 Spider also deliver impressive speed and remarkable driver feedback. The coupe hits 60 mph from a stop in just 3.4 seconds (cut down to around 3.0 seconds in the Speciale), and carries on to a top speed of 202 mph. The Spider's slightly less-slick aerodynamics cap it at 198 mph. Both cars use the same Getrag seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, and both get gas mileage around the 12-mpg mark in the city and 18 mpg on the highway. 

The handling, however, is where the Ferrari 458 truly shines. Balance and grip are both evident in large quantities, imbuing a stability not often found in high-horsepower, mid-engine cars. The steering feel is among the very best we've ever experienced, with perfect weight and exquisitely detailed feedback about the road surface and the tires' comfort zones. We found the 458 Spider to be communicative in a way that many modern cars aren’t; you can feel the weight transfer in corners, as you’re easing into the throttle, far more than most other high-power supercars—and long before the tires get to their maximum grip or the electronic systems need to pull their weight.

In all, it's a case of the sum being even greater than its individually excellent parts—and we're anticipating the same for the 2015 458 Spider Speciale.  

The 458 family is built with modern engineering and materials to make a rigid, secure chassis. As with most other exotic or low-volume super-performance cars, the 458 Italia hasn't undergone testing by either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

A new, higher-power turbocharged engine for this model has also been reported, along with a potential name change.


The Ferrari 458 Speciale A's sculpted forms as is the case with all Prancing Horse cars are absolutely performance-oriented.Most of the bodywork panels have been redesigned without modifying either the passenger cell or the signature design features of the car. The composite bumpers have been redesigned and the front bonnet now features two deep air outlets to channel away the air exiting the radiator.

The air outlets to the side of the headlight assemblies now also include three louvers reminiscent of the powerfully sporty Ferraris of the past, such as the 250 GTO and the F40. The rear features a Kamm tail with a full-width grille and twin exhausts.

The Ferrari 458 Speciale A is being premiered in an unusual yellow triple-layer livery with a Nart Blu and Avus white centre stripe. Its new forged five-spoke wheels are available in three colours: Oro, Grigio Corsa and diamond-finish matt black.


The same thoughts go for the interior. If you have sat inside the 458 Speciale, you have essentially sat inside the spider version as well. The same bare cabin that highlights the focus of the Speciale is still there in all its exposed carbon-fiber glory, and the same squared steering wheel with its myriad of controls sits directly in front of you. There is a yellow stripe in the seats that matches the exterior paint though. I think that is a nice touch.


Price:$ 285000
Horsepower @ RPM:605@ 9000
Torque @ RPM:398 @ 6000
Displacement:4.5 L
0-60 time:3 sec.
Top Speed:199 mph


The 2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale and Spider are drastic redesigned compared to the cars that preceded them due to their smooth and curvaceous, wedge shapes. The German aftermarket tuning company took advantage of this and installed a new carbon fiber body kit that improves stability and performance at high speeds. The kit includes a new front lip spoiler and side flics that generate downforce and aid in cooling. A new lightweight and ventilated hood keeps things cool and reduces weight while a set of side skirts sit between the front , rear COR Wheels to optimize drag. At the rear sits new cooling vents to reduce engine temperatures, a carbon fiber lip spoiler, and a new diffuser setup with integrated exhausts.

After the body work was upgraded for better handling and performance, the team got to work on the chassis where components were upgraded to improve all aspects of performance and style. The entire super car was lowered by 20 mm with new sport springs and dampers. A new set of carbon ceramic brakes were installed to provide better stopping power. The last touch was a set of new COR Wheels that feature a matte black finish with Ferrari red highlights and contrasting brushed aluminum hardware.


Punching out 605 cv at 9000 rpm, the Ferrari 458 Speciale A's engine is the most powerful naturally aspirated V8 ever built in Maranello and also sets a new specific power record (135 cv/l) for a road-going power unit of this type. These two figures alone speak volumes about the extraordinary prowess of this 4497 cc mid-rear engine. The work carried out on the car as a whole has also delivered an exceptional weight-to-power ratio of 2.21 kg/cv which results in such unparalleled performance levels as 0 to 100 km/h acceleration in 3" (0 to 200 km/h in 9"5) and a Fiorano best lap time of just 1'23"5.

To achieve these results, the 458 Speciale A's combustion, mechanical and volumetric efficiency were all significantly improved with a focus on reaching ambitious targets such as boosting torque at all revs through upping the compression ratio to 14:1, the highest for an engine of this kind.

Clearly, the transfer of Ferrari's Formula 1 expertise and technology was fundamental too. This is true not merely of the design phase but also the production and control processes involved: the engine is the product of the cutting-edge in-house foundry which also casts leading-edge components with extreme structural and dimensional characteristics, exactly as happens with the Scuderia's single-seaters.

Improved combustion chamber fluid-dynamics, new intake geometries and a new cam profile are just some of the modifications that helped the engineers meet their goals. Several components were also reviewed (new materials were adopted for the pistons and con rod bushings) and this too made a significant contribution. Lastly, the crankshaft and intakes systems were also redesigned, with the latter slashing 8 kg off the engine's overall weight.

The soundtrack, both inside and outside the car, is full-bodied and uncompromising too, thanks to the position of the tailpipes, the configuration of the silencers and the redesign of the inlet tract.


I'm a manual transmission junkie, yet this Ferrari's dual-clutch gearbox has started to win me over for all the right reasons. Diving into a corner, the DCT will drop one, two and then three ratios quicker than you can belt out a two-word profanity. Its lightning-quick shifts are much more rapid and smoother than any human could replicate, allowing the driver to flirt with any specific gear for a few fleeting seconds just to extract a couple more miles-per-hour before catching the next cog. For the first time in print, I will call a dual-clutch gearbox in manual mode emotionally rewarding.


The Ferrari 458 Speciale A's is the most aerodynamically efficient spider in Ferrari history with a coefficient of 1.37, obtained as the result of a series of original and innovative solutions that delivered exceptionally high downforce (Cl 0.485) whilst keeping drag very low (Cd 0.355).

The use of Ferrari-patented active aerodynamics is pivotal too and allows different configurations to be adopted to suit different requirements: maximum downforce when cornering, minimum drag on straights.

There are two vertical flaps on the front of the car plus a horizontal one on the underbody. At relatively low speeds, all of these are closed, channelling air into the radiators to guarantee the necessary cooling for the engine. However, at over 170 km/h, the vertical flaps open, thereby reducing the volume of air reaching the radiators thus cutting drag. At speeds of over 220km/h, however, the horizontal flap lowers to balance downforce between the front and rear axles, leading to a 20 per cent shift in overall downforce towards the rear.

Part of the increase in downforce as well as the 4 per cent shift in the aerodynamic balance over the front are achieved by means of turning vanes at either side of the front bumper which make the most of the lateral sections of the splitters. Aerodynamic fins contribute too.

The front dam creates a separation zone in the air flow immediately after the leading edge of the front splitter while the hump does the same at the start of the flat underbody, reducing pressure on the front of the car.

A rear spoiler with a larger surface area and more pronounced shape has also increased Cl on the rear by 7 points.

Additionally, moving the tailpipes has allowed the diffuser to be redesigned to enhance the extraction capacity of the underbody thereby generating greater downforce across the latter's entirety.

Downforce is boosted still further by the mobile rear flaps which raise and lower as required (raised for more downforce, lowered to minimise drag): electronically controlled, they can be lowered to just 17°, which stalls the diffuser and reduces Cd by 3 points.


Although the 458 Speciale A weighs 110 pounds more than its Coupe counterpart, that extra mass doesn't seem to have impacted the performance potential of this hard-core convertible. Ferrari says it has an identical 3.0-second 0-62 mph sprint time and the firm's trick Side Slip Angle Control system also helps it match the Speciale Coupe's 1-minute 23.5-second clocking around the factory's Fiorano test track. While Ferrari cited no maximum velocity figure for the 458 Speciale A, it's certain to at least approach the 202-mph top-end potential of its hard-shell sibling. 

For its Paris coming out party, the 2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale A is finished in a unique triple-layer yellow livery set off with a Blu Nart and Bianco Avus central stripe as well as forged, 5-spoke Grigio Corsa wheels. While color-keyed to its exterior, the car's competition-inspired cabin design parallels that of the Speciale Coupe. New sport buckets are wrapped in in black Alcantara with yellow contrast stitching and 3D technical fabric inserts. Completing the look are new blue carbon fiber accents on the dash, door panels, central tunnel and door-sill plates

0-100 km/h (0-62 mph): 3.0 s
0-200 km/h (0-124 mph): 9.5 s


The greasy bits are the best bits when you are discussing a Ferrari, and the 458 Speicale A is no different. Sitting behind the two seats you will find a 4.5-liter, naturally aspirated V-8 that produces 596 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of twist. It is the most powerful naturally aspirated V-8 Ferrari has ever built for a roadster. It will complete the 0-to-60 mph run in less than three seconds. Expect a top speed at or around its coupe sibling’s 199-mph top speed.


The final part of the 2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale that was upgraded was the 4.5-liter V-8 engine. Here, engineers gave the naturally aspirated, high revving engine a new air intake system made from carbon fiber, a full stainless steel exhaust with new mufflers and valve flaps, and a custom ECU software tune.

How to purchase the 458 Italia? Simply visit your local Ferrari dealership in California to be added to the 458 Italia interest list. There is no debating; the 458 Italia is the vehicle of all vehicles.

Type: V8, 90° - Direct Injection - Dry Sump
Bore and stroke: 94 x 81 mm (3.7 x 3.2 in)
Overall displacement: 4497 cm3 (274.4 cu in)
Compression ratio: 14.0:1
Maximum power: 445 kW (605 cv) @ 9000 rpm
Specific power output: 135 cv/l (1.62 kW/cu in)
Maximum torque: 540 Nm (398 lb ft) @ 6000 rpm
Maximum revs (limiter): 9000 rpm


Sure, the Audi R8 V10 Spyder may not be as awesome as the 458 Speciale A in terms of weight reduction and overall performance, but few cars in this segment are. The Audi comes to the game with a 5.2-liter, V-10 powerplant that cranks out 525 horsepower at 8,000 rpm and 398 pound-feet of twist at 6,500 rpm. This is enough oomph to clip 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds and top out at 194 mph, both are much slower than the 458 Speciale.

The R8 V10 Spyder is priced from $168,950 with a manual transmission and $176,760 with a seven-speed automated manual trans. These lower prices and a proper row-your-own gearbox are things the R8 can hang its hat on in this competition.


By : Super Modified Sports Cars & Automotive News

Posted by : Shahen Tharammal

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