Ferrari 458 Italia review
The Ferrari 458 Italia delivers awesome performance, razor-sharp handling and jaw-dropping looks
When the Ferrari 458 was unveiled in 2009 as a replacement for the Ferrari 430, it quickly became the benchmark for the supercar world.
A rival to the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Porsche 911 and McLaren 650S, the mid-engined Ferrari 458 Italia is available in two body styles - a coupe, and a Spider convertible. Both have eyewatering levels of performance thanks to the 4.5-litre V8 in the coupe, and the 4.4-litre V8 in the Spider.
In terms of looks, the Ferrari 458 ticks all the supercar boxes thanks to a gorgeous, aerodynamically influenced body capable of turning heads at 1,000 paces. Inside, the high quality cabin is focused on the business of driving with a Formula 1 influenced steering wheelcarrying all the major controls.
The 458 doesn't disappoint behind the wheel either. The Ferrari seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox shifts in the blink of an eye, while the standard ceramic brakes deliver massive stopping power.
Top it off with searing performance, hugely engaging handling and some old-school Ferrari magic, and the 458 is simply sensational. If the standard car doesn't provide enough thrills, Ferrari also makes a more hardcore 458 Speciale version that takes the visceral excitement to another level.
The Ferrari 458 Italia comes at a premium almost as sobering as its 0-62mph time of 3.4 seconds. It starts at around £179,000 and that's before you've even looked at the options list.
Our choice: Ferrari 458 Italia
The Ferrari 458 is a seriously good-looking car and it's safe to say that there are few cars out that which deliver more head-turning appeal.
Designed by the iconic Italian styling house Pininfarina, the Ferrari 458 looks like everything a supercar should be. The body combines advanced technological features such as active aerodynamic and cooling elements with the traditional looks you'd associate with a supercar - an aggressive nose, slender headlights, taught profile and a stunning rear end.
Step inside the 458, and the cabin provides everything you'd expect from a modern Ferrari. It's exotic, performance orientated and most of all, well-built - a far cry from some Ferraris of old.
You don't need to be Fernando Alonso or Kimi Raikkonen to enjoy driving the Ferrari 458, as the Manettino dial on the steering wheel allows the throttle, gearshift, stability control and dampers to be tailored to the driver's ability level.
Generally speaking though, driving the Ferrari 458 is a sensory experience like no other.The engine note from the V8 is fantastic, the acceleration is beyond words and the controls transmit massive amounts of feedback. What's more, the steering is sharp and precise and there is a huge amount of grip, too.
Overall, the Ferrari 458 remains fast and packed with character both on the road and the track.
The Ferrari 458 is well-engineered and packed withFormula 1 inspired technology. What's more, it's exceptionally well built, and UK buyers also benefit from a four-year warranty.
In addition to the driver and passenger airbags, Ferrari also fits the 458 with side airbags and the stability control system helps it feel well planted in all weather conditions.
The Ferrari 458 is proof of how much supercars have moved on over the years, as it's surprisingly easy to get on with in the real world.
The adaptive dampers mean the 458 has a reasonably compliant ride, while the supportive and comfortable seats mean its great for long journeys.
As it's strictly a 2+2, the Ferrari 458 isn't exactly the first degree in practicality butthat's not what you buy one for, is it?
Ferrari aims to make life easier thanks to a small but deep boot in the nose, as well as a useful luggage shelf behind the seats.
There is also an extensive options list for the 458, and most customers specify several thousand pounds worth of bespoke trim and detailing. Ferrari also sells personalised luggage kits, if that's your thing.
The Ferrari 458 Italia may be many things, but with its starting price of around £178,000, cheap isn't one of them.
It also won't be too kind on the wallet as a result of high running costs. The 4.5-litre coupe emits 275g/km of CO2 and returns 20.6mpg, while the 4.4-litre unit which powers the Spider and the Speciale manages 23.9mpg. If you drive the 458 as Ferrari intended, you’ll be lucky to see double figures.
Ferrari has done its bit for the environment, however, by offering its HELE (High Emotion Low Emission) stop-start system as an option.
As part of the price, Ferrari includes its Genuine Maintenance programme that covers all standard items. With 12,500-mile intervals, there's no mileage restriction and the deal is transferable when the car is sold.