First Look: 2010 Ferrari 458 Italia

If you’ve anxiously awaited the successor to Ferrari‘s F430, you’re in luck. Although the 2010 458 Italia won’t be unveiled until the 2009 Frankfurt motor show this September, Ferrari’s released a number of details ahead of its launch.

Although some could argue the 458 is yet another evolution of the F430’s recipe, there’s quite a bit of all-new content aboard the Italia. We’ll start with what lurks behind the cabin: an all-new 4.5-liter, direct-injection V-8. Ferrari claims it produces 570 hp at a screaming 9000 rpm, and yields most of its 398 lb-ft of torque at 3250 rpm — a significant bump over the F430, considering the track-tuned Scuderia model produces 503 hp and 346 lb-ft of torque.

This new V-8 is coupled to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, similar to the gearbox used in the Ferrari California, and a departure from the traditional “F1” single-clutch transmission found in the F430. Ferrari hasn’t mentioned the possibility of opting for a true manual gearbox, but we’d be surprised if one isn’t in the cards.

With the new tech-laden powertrain, Ferrari expects the 458 Italia will do 0-62 mph in less than 3.4 seconds, and ultimately hit a top speed over 202 mph. That’s yet another improvement over the F430 Scuderia, as it bests that car’s 0-62 mph time by 0.2 seconds, and can reach speeds at least 5 mph higher. Ferrari also claims the 458 Italia has 32 percent more lateral traction than its predecessor, although we’d love to see for ourselves how this affects the car’s skidpad numbers.

Ferrari’s wrapped all this new technology inside an equally advanced skin. The 458 Italia is a significant departure from the F430, which was largely seen as a conservative evolution of the 360 Modena itself. Pininfarina granted the 458 a voluptuous body, highlighted by an aggressive snout and strong character lines.

The interior of the car is also an interesting affair, with the absence of any steering-column mounted stalks (e.g. turn signals, headlights, etc.). Instead, everything is operated via the steering wheel or the VDA display, which can be accessed using knobs on either side of the driver.

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