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Ferrari’s huge fire-risk recall

2010-09-02 07:34

Perhaps the world’s most accomplished contemporary performance car, driving Ferrari’s 458 with enthusiasm for prolonged periods is akin to playing with fire – literally.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Ferrari
Model 458
Engine 4.5l V8
Power 425kW @ 9 000r/min
Torque 540Nm @ 6 000r/min
Transmission Seven-speed DCT
Zero To Hundred 3.6 sec
Top Speed 325km/h
Weight 1 498kg
Front Suspension Double-wishbone coil spings
Rear Suspension Double-wishbone coil spings
Ferrari has issued a directive to its global customer base that will see 1248 cars returned to dealerships as part of a fire-risk recall.

The fabled Italian supercar maker has a seen a number of 458s destroyed in recent months due to fire.

After investigating incidents that saw four immolate themselves (one each in California, Paris, China and Switzerland) Ferrari issued the recall.

The issue appears to be with the wheel arch and heat shield assembly, secured by mechanical fasteners and an adhesive.

Due to the 458’s extreme exhaust heat signature (hardly surprising, considering its 4.5l V8 produces 425kW at 9000r/min) the adhesives can overheat, producing smoke which ignites off the gas exchange plumbing.

As the 458 Italia is constructed with rather exotic materials (to keep mass low and aid agility), it burns rather well too – unfortunately.

This is the flip side of any light aluminium and magnesium structure: the distressing rate at which it burns once ignited – as a few 458 owners have found out.  

Ferrari’s official factory line is slightly more diplomatic. "High outside temperatures and intensive use of the vehicle cause a distortion and the vehicle catches fire," a company spokesperson said.

The recall will involve 1258 cars, with Ferrari attaching a new heat shield free of charge (would you expect anything less?) as part of the fix, which sees the heat shield attachment secured exclusively with rivets instead of an adhesive.

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