Ferrari brought around 300 guests to Sydney for an exclusive preview of the 458 Speciale – the lightweight, edgy version of the V8 supercar. Powered by the world’s most powerful naturally-aspirated V8 engine, the 458 Speciale is one for Ferrari enthusiasts – designed to be driven and driven hard.
But what the guests heard from Ferrari’s local boss Herbert Appleroth was ground-breaking news for Ferrari collectors. Echoing the words of the company’s chairman Luca Dimontezemelo, Mr Appleroth said, with order banks for most models out to beyond 12 month, Ferrari’s mission now is to guarantee value for its collectors – reflected by a cut in output from the factory from 7,500 vehicles per year to around 7,000.
You CarShowroom.com.au correspondent has been close to Ferrari for more than 30 years and this is the first time we can recall the company publicly talking about re-sale values. The objective is for collectors buying a Ferrari to be able to sell it for a profit some years down the track.
So Ferrari has the 458 Speciale priced at $550,000 – only $24,000 more than the standard 458 and somewhat of a bargain considering its extras. But, in any case Ferrari says most Australian buyers outlay an extra $60,000 per car on options.
Like others, the Ferrari 458 is not limited in the numbers which will be built in Maranello, but will likely cease production after two years. Ferrari expects its entire Australia/New Zealand allocation of the 458 Speciale for 2014/2015 to be accounted for within days and deliveries of right-hand-drive models will commence in the second quarter of next year.
Ferrari 458 Speciale Overview
Following its traditional direction, Ferrari developed the 458 Speciale as a lightweight, ultimate performance version of the model which was first launched in 2009. With 445kW/540Nm, the 4.5-litre is the world’s most powerful naturally-aspirated V8, and at 1290 kgs the Speciale is 90kgs lighter than the regular 458 and the chassis has been configured for oversteer – yep, that’s right oversteer.
The photos don’t do justice to the significant visual differences between the Speciale and the regular 458. It’s all aero efficiency and viewed from the rear the changes are massive and all about placing some large moveable flaps under the exhausts.
And inside you’ll see lots of beautiful carbon fibre work (even the dashboard air-vents) as part of the weight reduction.
Ferrari 458 Speciale Engine
Ferrari’s mid-mounted 90-degree 4.5-litre V8 is a screamer – naturally one of the world’s best engines. It sits under a clear glass rear window surrounded by magnificently crafted carbon fibre structures including intricate cool air ducts behind the rear doors.
In the 458 Speciale, maximum power of 445kW is delivered at an ear-shattering 9000rpm and the peak torque of 540Nm arrives at 6000rpm.
The result is zero to 100km/h in 3.0 seconds – that’s right three seconds! – and a lap time around the famed Fiorano test track of 1min 23.5secs.
Ferrari 458 Speciale The Interior
It’s a 458 but not as you know it. Hardly a stripper, but in standard form alcantara replaces leather, there’s lots of carbon fibre, a knee-pad for the passenger to brace in cornering and even thinner floor mats.
But, my-oh-my this is without doubt the benchmark sports car interior.
The glorious F1-style Steering wheel, the curved console with transmission buttons and the race-style seats (complete with safety harnesses) all point to the Speciale being the ultimate road-going Ferrari 458.
Ferrari 458 Speciale Exterior & Styling
Front and rear moveable aerodynamic devices and stunning side winglets just ahead of the rear wheels allude to the 458 Speciale being the most aerodynamic production Ferrari so far. Balancing downforce is vital in a car with this much performance potential.
In fact the aero work was conducted in Ferrari’s own wind-tunnel and was a collaboration between the Ferrari Styling Centre and Pininfarina.
Ferrari 458 Speciale On The Road
No we didn’t get to drive the Ferrari 458 Speciale – the left-hand-drive version we sat in is on an air-freight tour of international markets as a customer preview.
But it’s technically fascinating with a new Slide Slip Angle Control System (SSC) plus F1-Trac traction control and E-Diff electronic differential. And here’s the thing –its all calibrated to permit controlled power oversteer – trust Ferrari to get this right!
Ferrari 458 Speciale Verdict
Any new Ferrari is a headline-grabber and the 458 Speciale is…well it’s special. Ferrari reckons some 50-60 examples will be snared by lucky owners in Australia and New Zealand.