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F430 replacement goes patriotic

2009-07-28 12:08
Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Ferrari
Model 458 ITALIA
Engine 4.5l V8
Power 413kW @ 9 000r/min
Torque 540Nm @ 6 000r/min
Transmission 7-speed dual-clutch
Zero To Hundred 3.4 sec
Top Speed 325km/h
Fuel Consumption 13.7l/100km
Weight 1 380kg
Front Suspension Double wishbone
Rear Suspension Multi-link
Ferrari’s F430 replacement is one of the most remarkable performance cars to ever be engineered by Maranello, and it’s not called F450 after all, like we thought.

Model designation is 458 Italia (how patriotic) and if you recall the Mille Chili concept car you’ll see clear styling inferences.

Technically the 458 will feature a full suite of Ferrari’s best performance technologies.

The chassis is an all aluminium set-up built by aluminium specialists Alcoa, who own a facility close to Modena. Double-wishbones attach the front wheels and a multi-link rear suspension manages aft-wheel travel, a change from the F430's double-wishbone all-round set-up.

Italia is 15mm longer, 14mm wider, a millimetre taller and sports a 50mm spaced out wheelbase compared to the F430.

Perhaps most importantly, it’s 70kg lighter too, with a mass of only 1 380kg, distributed in a 42/58 front/rear bias.

Purist styling and aerodynamically certified too

Styling is sensational, with virtually undiluted surfacing, mercifully devoid of sprouting spoilers and other aerodynamic pornography.

Despite the purity of the shape, aerodynamic trickery is onboard in the form of those front bumper air intakes which deform at speed, closing their aperture and reducing drag. Jolly clever.

Downforce is an impressive 140kg at 200km/h thanks to the aft diffuser and integrated rear spoiler combination expertly managing airflow fed across the rear third of the 458’s surfacing.

Triple tailpipes gas exchange the world's highest revving (and performing) naturally aspirated car engine.

World's greatest engine perhaps?

Powering the 458 is an amazing 4.5l V8 engine, which Ferrari claims is both the highest revving and most powerful specific output naturally aspirated engine in production. By the numbers it powers up 93kW per litre of swept capacity.

The V8 cues many technical highlights from the front-engined California, including direct-injection and a flat-plane crankshaft.

Featuring tiny piston skirts and a 12.5:1 compression ratio the 4.5l V8 produces 413kW at a con-rod snapping 9 000r/min – 500r/min higher than the F430 engine it replaces.

Although the new engine appears decidedly superbike like in application, rotational force is spread across a generous engine speed range, with 431Nm available at only 3 250r/min before peaking at 6 000r/min with 540Nm.

Styling and proportions are Pininfarina perfect - unsurprisingly. Mass is only 30kg more than current F430 Scuderia.

Dual-clutch box too

Delivering the 4.5l V8’s madcap power figures to the rear wheels is a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (actually the California ‘box in fact) which has been significantly redeveloped for the Italia’s mid-engined application.

Ratios are all new, whilst Ferrari’s fabled E-Diff keeps things neat (okay, neatish) at the rear when acceleration under power. Other F1 style technologies include F1-Trac skid control and a brilliant deceleration aid called ‘prefill.’

What prefill does is actuate the calliper pistons to move the brake pads closer to their disc surface contact points the moment a drive lifts from the throttle, pre-empting deceleration. The net result is a truncated 32.5m emergency stopping run from 100km to standstill.

In another impressive bit of lateral thinking Ferrari's electronic experts have employed a single ECU system for all the dynamic driving aids, instead of separate ECUs for the diff, traction control and brakes. This allows synergised algorithms which seamlessly integrate these dynamic driving aids.

Ferrari claims the new Italia will be good for a top speed of 325km/h and acceleration from 0-100km/h of 3.4 seconds. Driven sedately, EU consumption figures are 13.7/100km – but who cares about that, really?

Maranello's latest toy will be built alongside the California in a new production facility at Maranello.

The car will be officially launched at the Frankfurt motor show next month.

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