With head-turning styling, neck-snapping acceleration and that indescribable but incredibly potent Ferrari allure, the 458 Italia supercar (along with its open-air 458 Spider counterpart) is one of the most desirable rides on the market. It is the latest in a long line of mid-engined, high-performance machines from Italian automaker that started with the legendary Dino.
Displayed underneath a glass window like the piece of art that it is, the 458 Italia’s heart is a direct-injected 4.5-liter V8 cranks out 562 horsepower at 9,000 rpm (125 horsepower per liter, a record for naturally-aspirated piston engines). Torque is rated at 398 lb-ft at 6,000 rpm, 80 percent of which is available from 3,250 rpm.
All of that power is sent to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automated-manual gearbox that manages to be both smooth and incredibly quick – shifts are achieved in four-tenths of a second.
Performance is impressive, with the zero-to-60 mph sprint dispatched in just 3.3 seconds on the way to a 201-mph top speed. Even more note-worthy is the Ferrari’s handling – the car feels like it’s hard-wired to the driver’s synapses, responding to control inputs with lightning alacrity yet remaining extremely forgiving (assuming the stability control isn’t shut off) for less advanced pilots.