Power in the 458 comes from a 4.5L V8 engine mounted mid-ship, and makes an impressive 570 horsepower and 398 lb-feet of torque in standard guise. In the Speciale, it makes 597 hp. The only transmission choice is a 7-speed double-clutch transmission, connected to the rear wheels via a limited-slip differential. The suspension is of the active, self-leveling variety.
In an effort to improve fuel economy, the 458 employs several fuel-saving technologies. A type of "multi-displacement" system that turns off some cylinders when they're not needed and an innovative alternator that only charges the battery when the car is decelerating or coasting helps reduce parasitic loss on the engine, is also used to improve fuel economy.
The 458 gets big 20-inch alloy wheels and Z-rated tires as standard equipment. Up front, the Ferrari's headlamps are composed of a series of advanced LEDs, which are brighter, consume less energy and last longer than conventional bulbs. Inside, power windows and locks are standard as is dual-zone climate control. Safety equipment includes anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control as well as tire pressure monitoring.
Like many exotics, the Ferrari 458 is available in a dizzying array of colors that include five shades of blue, seven shades of gray and three reds. If none of them are to the customer's liking, their Ferrari can be painted to the color of their choice. The standard seats are beige leather, but can be optioned with blue, charcoal, gray or any number of other hues.
The customization options menu is extensive, and includes a special performance brakes, run-flat tires, carbon fiber trim as well as a premium JBL stereo with 11 speakers and iPod integration. Power seats are optional, as is navigation and cruise control. A parking camera is a $3,637 option and parking sensors cost $1,323.
The 458 Spider is the convertible version of the 458, it provides all the thrills of its Italia sibling, but with a foldable top. Thanks to slick packaging and an elegant design, the 458's profile is essentially unchanged from the coupe. The electric retractable hard top features two sections that each rotate rearward 180 degrees and stack neatly inside a compartment between the cabin and the mid-mount engine. The whole process takes just 14 seconds, and Ferrari says the Spider is the world's first mid-engined berlinetta with a retractable hard top.
Extraordinary Power And Handling
Standard 7-speed Transmission
After the introduction last year of the exclusive 458 Speciale, Ferrari has followed it up with a convertible edition, called the "458 Speciale Aperta." The Speciale Aperta gets the same uprated, 597-hp powerplant as the regular Speciale as well as the same version of the vert sophisticated stability control system.
The 458's base price starts right around $230,000, which places it among the most expensive performance cars available in North America. While the Lamborghini Gallardo and Porsche S Turbo compete in terms of performance, style and price, the Ferrari brings extensive racing heritage and the newest in fuel-efficiency technology. A multi-displacement system, active aerodynamics and a clever alternator that only charges the battery when the engine is not under load are among the technologies Ferrari has employed to increase vehicle efficiency. The 458 is an extremely capable track-ready car, but it also features a luxurious leather interior with all of today's necessary technologies, which can be driven comfortably to work. With the addition of the 458 Spider, with its clever retractable hardtop, sunshine-lovers now have an Italia to call their own.
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