Driven: 2010 Ferrari 458 Italia

Mark Bramley

THE STALKLESS STEERING COLUMN

Ferrari's latest steering wheel looks even more like the ones in its Formula 1 racing cars than any of those in the past. No stalks means that it's easier for the driver to grasp the shift paddles, which are fixed to the steering column behind the wheel.

1 TURN SIGNALS This is the most unusual part of the steering wheel. Most owners will likely take some time getting accustomed to it.

2 HEADLAMPS This little switch not only turns on the headlamps but also operates the high/low-beam function.

3 SUSPENSION DECOUPLING Divorces the dampers from any electronic controls selected via the manettino, offering improved "filtering" of the road surface, should the driver choose.

4 MANETTINO Ferrari's signature "little hand" directs the complex electronics that control vehicle dynamics. The 458 Italia's predecessor, the F430, had an "ice" setting that's now gone. The CT-off setting deactivates traction control but maintains a degree of stability control. The various manettino parameters can be displayed on the screen to the left of the yellow tachometer.

5 WINDSHIELD WIPER/WASHER Self-explanatory.

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