The glory of the Prancing Horse

In an issue dedicated to Italy we could not ignore the most famous maker of luxury sports cars in the world. After all, the very name Ferrari is synonymous with speed, power and beauty.

The Ferrari 458 Italia

To many, Ferrari’s are the stuff young dreams are made of. Ask an ambitious young man to describe his ultimate goals and they could often best be summed up in the form of a gleaming red bolide from the scuderia in Maranello, for Ferraris symbolise success, ambition and dynamism. These cars simply are brio on wheels. The recently opened Ferrari World in Dubai is a living testament to that.

While lovers of classic cars may debate the merits of different models and eras, the Man of the Moment knows exactly what he wants: a brand new flaming red Ferrari. This means that the latest offering from Maranello is always hotly desired and intensely anticipated, making the launch of a new model just about the biggest news in the motoring world.

A Ferrari 458 Italia in its natural habitat; the open road

Ferrari 458 Italia
Aptly named for the country that inspired so many of these great works of motoring art, the 458 Italia is Ferrari’s newest model, and therefore the car of the moment. While this sumptuous red beast, designed as ever by style gurus Pininfarina, has yet to go into official production, the waiting list has already grown to huge proportions.

Such has been the anticipation from press and eager buyers alike that reports have already come in of sightings of the pre-production model in Switzerland and Holland. The car, officially unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2009, is also a very important one for Ferrari itself, as it replaces the all-important F430.

Not since the Ferrari California has there been so much excitement, but with this comes the pressure to produce a model that is nothing short of a modern classic. The 458 Italia is pretty much the flagship of the company, and its success is of vital importance to Ferrari, so the brief entrusted to both the designers at Pininfarina and the Ferrari engineers themselves is one of huge responsibility.

errari 458 Italia; superb styling

A Ferrari for the times
In recent times Ferrari and Pininfarina have risen to the occasion, producing the one highly prized classic after the other. With the 458 Italia, the design is inspired above all by aerodynamic efficiency, coupled with the clever use of body details that move to ensure optimal down force and grip at different speeds. Many of these ‘clever’ techniques come directly from Formula One.

The result is a car that retains the handsome, low-slung appeal of its predecessor yet looks a little meaner and more aggressive. Inside, the designers have listened to the input of a very important consultant, namely Michael Schumacher, so you can trust the ergonomics to be balanced to perfection. Visually, it ranks among the most beautifully finished interiors of any Ferrari.

A Ferrari being a Ferrari the most important part remains what happens under the skin. In true style the hand picked engineers have created a car that is full of modern technology – from seven-speed F1 style transmission and much-improved traction control systems to breaks that really suck you into the road – whilst retaining the pure Italian sense of engineering.

The result is a sports car that most closely resembles the Enzo, but with a spirit that continues to evolve with the times. Nostalgic drivers will miss the option of the classic ‘gated’ manual, both this modern beast does manage to produce 0-100km/h in 3,4 seconds and a top speed of over 325km/h whilst using less fuel and being greener than any comparable Ferrari before it.

In a year in which Ferrari hopes to revive its F1 dominance, it already has a road-going car with which to intimidate the opposition.

(This article first appeared in TOUT Magazine  No.5)

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