Where the current roadgoing Ferrari coupe with its rear-mounted V8 can go beyond this Speciale edition, I don't know. The 458 Italia and Spider already hold a very dear place in the hearts of anyone who has driven them on a sunny day over great roads or tracks, and I was pretty sure nothing could beat the heady sensory combo presented in the 458 Spider when I first drove it back in 2011. I may have to change my opinion now. Companies like Ferrari are in the enviable position of sprinkling performance dust on their already-great base cars, all just to make them a skosh better and grab us again by the loins for one more model year. Some perspective: in 2002, the legendary Enzo set its personal best around Ferrari's 1.9-mile track at Fiorano, pulling a 1:24.9. This 458 Speciale with four fewer cylinders and more weight beats it with a time of 1:23.5, and not once during my laps did I feel as though I might die if my slightest judgment behind the wheel was less than on the money. Looking at the almost-all-aluminum 458 Speciale is the first step. Every added edge and flap is purposeful. The coefficient of drag is kept nicely at 0.35, while downforce front and rear has been increased, owing in great part to significant active aerodynamic touches that will be seen in larger form on the range-topping LaFerrari. Whereas on the 950-horsepower LaFerrari, these moving vanes will be there to help hold the supersonic sucker to the ground, here on the 597-hp 458 Speciale, they need to lower the drag and still provide enough downforce for super sports car frolics. To my eye, this 458 Speciale is closer than ever to looking like a large Lotus Evora S, which is never a bad thing. It just quietly goes about the business of making your life behind the wheel sensational... An eager Ferrari representative asked me after my afternoon track session, "So, did you feel the active aerodynamics come into play out there?" He was confused a tad when my answer was a very positive no. If I had noticed the moving flaps in the middle of the chin spoiler or within the large rear diffuser doing their duties, I would have been disappointed. For the driver, though, there is no overt added spectacle to it at all. The Speciale just quietly goes about the business of making your life behind the wheel sensational through aerodynamic optimization. The consequent added speed you can carry into and through curves just wouldn't have been possible in an Enzo, nor even in a 430 Scuderia back in 2007. Every bit of tech on the 458 Italia that we've been familiar with since production launched in 2009 – the SCM magneto-rheological dampers, seven-speed F1 dual-clutch gearbox, F1-Trac traction control, E-diff electronically activated locking differential, CCM carbon ceramic braking – it's all been notched up to a new level of competence. The really new deal here – besides …
Hide Full Review
Smart Buy Price
|MPG||13 City / 17 Hwy|
|Transmission||7-spd auto-shift man w/OD|
|Power||570 @ 9000 rpm|
Savings without having to haggle for it.
Switch to State Farm and save an average of $536* on your car insurance.