After previous high-performance Ferrari models like the 360 Challenge Stradale and F430 Scuderia, we knew a hardcore version of the Ferrari 458 was coming. Until now, though, we didn't know what it would be called. The 2014 Ferrari 458 Speciale, debuting at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show, is the latest version of Ferrari's mid-engine supercar and promises to be a lightweight, track-ready monster to top the already spectacular 458 Italia.
The 2014 Ferrari 458 Speciale is powered by the same 4.5-liter V-8 as the standard 458 Italia, but the engine gains 34 horsepower to bring the output to 596 hp. This V-8 remains a screamer, with peak horsepower produced at 9000 rpm and the same 398 lb-ft of torque coming at 6000 rpm. Ferrari says this high-revving engine has the highest specific power output of any road-going naturally aspirated engine, with 132 horsepower per liter. In combination with what we presume to be same Getrag seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox as the 458 Italia, this enhanced powertrain helps the 458 Speciale get from 0-62 mph in an estimated 3.0 seconds. This blistering time is 0.4 seconds faster than Ferrari's estimate for the 458 Italia, and, given that our test of the 458 Italia recorded 0-60 mph in 3.0 seconds, we wouldn't be surprised if the 458 Speciale breaks the 3 second barrier for the 0-60 sprint.
Much of the Ferrari 458 Speciale's enhanced performance can be attributed to the car's nearly 200 lb weight loss over the 458 Italia. The standard 458 Italia already uses lightweight aluminum body panels and numerous carbon fiber composite bits, so we imagine that lightening the car further was no easy task. We don't know yet how exactly Ferrari has brought mass down to a dry weight of 2844 lbs, but we can only assume that the car features an even more extensive use of carbon fiber composite materials, along with a hollowed out interior with much less sound deadening and fewer luxury and convenience features. Initial interior shots of the car reveal exposed metal floor wells, a simplified center stack and gauge cluster, and an interesting new carbon-fiber trimmed shift button pod that sprouts out of the center console area.
With its specially-developed Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, the 458 Speciale apparently pulls the highest lateral acceleration of any Ferrari to date at 1.33g. On Ferrari's own Fiorano Circuit race course, the 458 Speciale achieves a lap time of 1:23.5, making it one of the fastest Ferrari road cars ever, just 0.5 seconds behind the 730 hp Ferrari F12 Berlinetta and quicker even than the lauded Enzo hypercar of the early 2000s.
The exterior of the 458 Speciale distinguishes itself with white and blue racing stripes, along with numerous aerodynamic innovations developed by the Ferrari Styling Center in concert with Italian design firm Pininfarina. Ferrari says that the movable aerodynamic elements in the front and rear are able to balance drag and downforce, making this the most aerodynamically efficient Ferrari ever. There is also a new Side Slip angle Control system in the 458 Speciale, which Ferrari is calling SSC. This program is able to analyze the car's side slip angle to optimize torque distribution between the two rear wheels through the traction control system and electronic differential.