Ferrari 458 Italia Review

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Style and performance are hallmarks of the Ferrari brand. And when the company debuts a new generation of its volume-selling midengine V8 model, each attribute is expected to rise appreciably. In the case of the Ferrari 458 Italia and the convertible 458 Spider, expectations have certainly been met. As a replacement for the already inspiring F430, the Ferrari 458 tops its predecessor in every performance metric and in the process raises the bar for all exotic cars.

Current Ferrari 458
In terms of performance, the Ferrari 458 Italia coupe and Spider convertible will likely take the breath away from even the most jaded of drivers. Acceleration is blinding and this top-tier exotic is so responsive, you'd think it was hard-wired to your brain. It is a Ferrari, after all, and as such is a treat for all senses. From the smell of the artfully tanned leather interior to the wail of the midmounted engine, the 458 doesn't just perform -- it inspires.

Powering the rear-wheel-drive Ferrari 458 Italia is a 4.5-liter V8 that produces 562 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual is the only transmission offered. Ferrari estimates acceleration from zero to 60 mph takes 3.4 seconds. Handling is likewise impressive, with lightning-quick steering and a very high level of driver engagement.

Along with the expected passion and performance, the Ferrari 458 comes with the sort of high-end trappings associated with a car costing in excess of $200,000. Equipment includes 20-inch wheels, carbon-ceramic brakes, adjustable driving and vehicle settings, leather upholstery and trim, Bluetooth and a sound system with an auxiliary audio jack.

With the Spider, you get a fully powered retractable hardtop that maintains the coupe's appearance when raised and then gracefully disappears behind the cabin when lowered. Unlike other such roofs, this one doesn't come with a punishing amount of excess weight. And unlike the awkward-looking soft top fitted to the old F430 Spider, rearward visibility is also improved.

Notable options include 19-inch run-flat tires, adaptive headlights, parking sensors, a rearview camera, cruise control, power seats, four-point race belts, faux suede upholstery and/or carpet, a navigation system, an iPod interface, satellite radio and a premium sound system. If time and money are not concerns, wealthy buyers may order custom interior and exterior color schemes.

While the Ferrari 458's performance is nothing short of breathtaking, there are some miscues. To permit unimpeded access to the paddle shifters, Ferrari relocated many of the column stalk controls to the steering wheel. The turn signals are particularly awkward, as they are activated via buttons on the steering wheel spokes. Other controls, like those for navigation and audio, are placed in pods that flank the wheel, well out of reach of a passenger. Points are also deducted for the fussy gauge cluster that is incapable of displaying speed and navigation simultaneously.

The rest of the cabin is a model of sporting refinement. Interior materials and build quality are top-notch and the driver's seating position is more comfortable than what you'll find in any previous Ferrari.

Used Ferrari 458 Models
The Ferrari 458 Italia debuted for the 2010 model year and remained unchanged until the Spider arrived for 2012.

Read the most recent 2014 Ferrari 458 Italia review.

If you are looking for older years, visit our used Ferrari 458 Italia page.

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