Viva Italia: Ferrari 458 Italia

Paul Barshon

After a good dollop of the Italia, I can assert that (a) it makes nearly every previous mid-engine Ferrari look a bit dowdy, (b) you wouldn't want the sport seats if you plan to do anything besides track driving, and (c) Ferrari has achieved something path-breaking here. It's a very accommodating car with exceptional ergonomics and evocative performance. I wouldn't have used the term "everyday Ferrari," but Blakeney did. I relished each moment of driving it, although my sloppy entrance into that roundabout on the return to the Portsmouth hotel remains regrettable. Memo to the irate bloke driving the Vauxhall Insignia: With left-hand drive in an Italia, in not-so-merry old England, rearward vision through the engine exhaust screen is terrible. Yet your maledictions didn't mar my day. I had thirty minutes remaining with Ferrari incarnate.

Ferrari 458 Italia

BASE PRICE: $230,275

ENGINE: 32-valve DOHC V-8
DISPLACEMENT: 4.5 liters (275 cu in)
HORSEPOWER: 562 hp @ 9000 rpm
TORQUE: 398 lb-ft @ 6000 rpm
TRANSMISSION: TYPE 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
DRIVE: Rear-wheel

STEERING: Power rack-and-pinion
SUSPENSION, FRONT: Control arms, coil springs
SUSPENSION, REAR: Multilink, coil springs
BRAKES: Vented carbon-ceramic discs, ABS
TIRES: Michelin Pilot Sport K1
TIRE SIZE F, R: 235/35YR-20, 295/35YR-20

L x W x H: 178.2 x 76.3 x 47.8 in
WHEELBASE: 104.3 in
TRACK F/R: 65.8/63.2 in
WEIGHT: 3274 lb
FUEL MILEAGE: 13/18 mpg (est.)
0-60 MPH: 3.0 sec
1/4-MILE: 10.9 sec @ 134 mph

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