The hard-core Ferrari
The Ferrari 458 Italia is back for another year of assaulting on-ramps, apologizing to law enforcement officers, and bending the laws of physics. As the 458 name suggests, the Italia is motivated by a 4.5-liter, direct-injected V-8 engine. That engine is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (a manual transmission cannot be had with the 458, a move that is sure to infuriate a whole handful of actual Ferrari buyers). Redlined at 9000 bellowing rpm, the engine produces an intoxicating 562 hp, enough to accelerate to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds and on to an exhilarating top speed of 202 mph. (The 458 Spider convertible manages “only” 3.5 seconds and 198 mph.) Thanks to its looks, sound, and heritage, the Ferrari creates a scene wherever it goes. Driven in anger, it emits none of the high-pitched sweetness of its V-8 predecessors; instead, it yells a baritone wail. Thanks in part to high-tech magnetorheological dampers, the 458 corners as if each tire had negotiated its exclusion from the laws of physics, demonstrating razor-sharp reflexes and chassis balance that no engineer could have dreamed of a decade ago. The 458 is about speed, and it speeds like no other sports car in the world.
Aston Martin V8 Vantage
Audi R8 GT
new for 2013
The 458 and the 458 Spider are unchanged for 2013.
The 458 has some of the world’s best ABS, traction, and stability control systems. If you crash one, you’ll find a picture of yourself on wreckedexotics.com, and everyone will know it’s your fault — so try to avoid that. The 458 has dual front air bags, too. Here’s hoping they never deploy.
9000-rpm V-8 engine
No manual transmission
Base Price Range: $239,500–$265,000 (est.)
TRIM LEVELS: Italia, Spider
BODY STYLES: Coupe, convertible, 2-passenger
ENGINE: 4.5L V-8, 562 hp, 398 lb-ft
TRANSMISSION: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
PASSENGER VOLUME: N/A
CARGO SPACE: 8.1 cu ft