BETTER and faster. Buyers of the new Ferrari 458 Speciale need no more incentive.
There is already a queue for this breathtakingly beautiful two-seater…so order now and you might get it in your driveway by mid-2015.
The price-tag is $25,500 more than the run-of-the-mill 458 Italia. Which kinda makes this roadworthy race car a bargain at $550,000.
But this isn't just a limited edition of the 458 which was first launched four years ago.
No. This is the spiritual successor to the 360 Challenge Stradale and 430 Scuderia.
Stripped out and built for pure performance and speed, there is no mucking around in this Prancing Horse. Forget cup holders. You might fit one of those girlie little macchiatos in the console, but you won't need any stimulant with the noise this thing generates. It gets your heart racing standing still.
What, you want to sit back and relax to enjoy the view? This thing is built to rip up the bitumen, not cosset you in the lap of luxury.
In fairness though, it's not a bad looking cabin. There is a beautifully stitched leather-clad dash, awesome sports steering wheel and figure-hugging seats fondle the body (in a good way).
Carbon fibre materials have been used everywhere to save weight and even the air vents look uber aerodynamic. If they perform anything like the car we look forward to having our face pummeled by the air temperature of our choice.
There is no carpet on the floor, and you won't find a stereo either. That is unless you ask nicely. Ferrari can option just about anything, but why would you want music to spoil the wonderful soundtrack emanating from the pipes?
On the road
This is the most powerful naturally aspirated bent eight road-going engine produced in the world. Not just by Ferrari, but all comers.
The 458 Speciale hauls from standstill to 100kmh in three seconds. Keep the hammer down and you'll spring past 200kmh in a touch over nine.
Compared to the standard 458, it's been on a diet so successful that Weight Watchers would be after the recipes.
It has dropped 90kg, with some 12kg sliced courtesy of the fancy-pants alloys this piece of weaponry sits on.
There are some gigantic disc brakes too, especially up front, making the biggest of dinner plates look like a saucer.
We didn't get to sample the 458 Speciale on the road. The display model revealed on Tuesday in Sydney was left-hand drive. But you can be assured that it will deliver "extreme performance, extreme power and extreme technology".
Engineers focused on four key areas: engine, aerodynamics, vehicle dynamics and design.
And one of the keys was to make the drivers look good, even if they don't quite have the skills. Side slip control uses all the electronic gizmos to deliver precise power oversteer.
All that adds up to 1:23:25. That's the time it took for the 458 Speciale to lap the Ferrari Fiorano Circuit - 1.5 seconds quicker than the famed Enzo.
"Mobile flaps" open and close at the front and the rear of the car to give maximum downforce as well as aerodynamic efficiency when needed. It all happens automatically.
The front flaps are mechanical and are closed up to 170kmh, the rear flaps are electronic, both operate to improve downforce and dragforce when required, while the front trio help cool the engine.
When deliveries of the 458 Speciale begin mid-way through next year it will be the sixth Ferrari to be offered Down Under.
It joins the 458 Italia, F12berlinetta, California, 458 Spider and the four-seater FF. That makes it the largest line-up Ferrari has ever had in this market and worldwide.
"The 458 Speciale is the ultimate expression of the V8 range from Ferrari and a natural progression of the Ferrari product line that our local customers are excited to see," Ferrari Australasia CEO Herbert Appleroth said.
"It is the essence of what a Ferrari is, with sleek lines, advanced aerodynamics and power that can translate to the track with ease this car brings another level of sophisticated design ethos, extreme technologies and ultimate power."
Customer demand inspired the 360 Challenge Stradale a decade ago, and the 458 Speciale is the latest for buyers seeking the best of the best.
This offering truly lives up to its moniker.
In the metal it looks spectacular. But its ability is more than skin deep, with a raft of Ferrari firsts it is sure to be high on the list of must-haves for Prancing Horse fans.
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