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The newest road rocket to carry the Italian supercar brand’s famous prancing horse badge, the 458 is unveiled today in production-ready form as the successor to the F430.
Its performance promises to be very special, matching or bettering the lightweight Scuderia version of the 430 with a top speed beyond 330km/ h and a 0-100km/h sprint time below four seconds.
But it will come at a price – more than $450,000 in Australia when deliveries begin in the second half of 2010.
The mechanical package of the F458 – its name comes from the 4.5- litre, eight-cylinder engine – is familiar to anyone who has tracked Ferrari history since the 308. It is a mid-engined car with a V8 motor and rear-wheel drive.
It sits alongside the California droptop and below the V12 models in the Ferrari family.
The car will not be seen in public until the Frankfurt Motor Show in September but more than two dozen super-keen Australian enthusiasts have already put money down to reserve an early delivery.
Full details are also being kept secret until Frankfurt but some things are obvious from the pictures.
The height of the F458 is considerably lower than the 430 and it has lost the signature side vents for the cooling system. It is also stripped of any sort of wings or spoilers. This shows Formula One thinking, as there is a secondary wing in the frontal air inlet and the body has been shaped to divert air to essential openings under high pressure. Downforce is all down to the underbody shaping.
Space has also been created in the tail for a large diffuser by siting the exhaust high in the back end. But the pictures show three pipes, pointing to an active exhaust which switches mode depending on speed and load.
The F458 will take electronics to the next level, with more driver adjustment of the chassis and engine parameters, including stability control.
The Australian importer, European Automotive Imports, says it has been flooded by potential buyers since news of the F458 – originally expected to be called the F450 – began leaking from Ferrari headquarters in Maranello. “We are into double figures on orders. As soon as there was even a hint there was a new car coming we were contacted by enthusiastic owner keens to move up to the latest model,” says spokesman, Edward Rowe.
He dismisses any suggestion that a new Ferrari is irrelevant in 2010 except as a dream machine. “For the car market as a whole they are very much testbeds for technology that spreads very quickly. The most obvious example is electronic stability control. This grew out of Formula One and Mercedes-Benz was the first to put it into production cars,” Rowe says. “This car will take that to the next level. It will be extremely easy to drive, and safe.”
“And then there are robotised manual gearboxes. The Ferrari F355 was the first. Now they are the type of gearboxes that give the best fuel economy and emissions. “It’s not stretching a point to say everyone benefits eventually from these cars. They advance the cutting edge of technology.”
[ Source : carsguide ]
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