It’s hard to believe the Ferrari 458 Italia has been around for 5 years. First introduced at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show the successor to the F430 has gone on to become one of Ferrari’s greatest cars. In its lifespan the 458 has had its roof taken off with the Spider variant and undergone some weight loss to become the Speciale. However as with all great things, its time has now come to an end.
A new 458 successor is due to be revealed at next year’s Geneva Motor Show and will follow Ferrari’s tradition of being a heavily revised evolution of the current car as opposed to a revolutionary model. Think of the change from the 348 to the 355 or from the 360 to the 430. Or an iPhone 5 to a 5S if that’s a better analogy. Either way it should still be the same 458 we all know and love bar a few major changes.
The main change will be to its engine. Currently the 458 is powered by a 4.5L naturally aspirated V8, hence the ‘458’ name. In ‘standard’ guise this engine develops a healthy 562bhp and 592bhp in Speciale form. Both variants redline at 9000rpm making this engine one of the loudest currently available. It also boasts one of the highest bhp output per litre of any naturally aspirated engine in the world with 131bhp/L in the Speciale.
However the 458’s successor will unlike drop this engine in favour of a downsized turbocharged unit. This will be the first time in history where a ‘mainstream’ mid-engined V8 Ferrari will be turbocharged. In a way this could be the spiritual successor to the F40. Rumours suggest the engine will be based on the Maserati/Ferrari 3.8L twin-turbo V8 as seen in the California T. Power is expected to be “in excess of 650bhp”. To put that into perspective the 458 Speciale develops 492, the Lamborghini Huracan develops 604bhp, and the Mclaren 650S develops 641bhp.
That’ll put this super-sports car on par with car we considered to be ‘super’ or ‘hyper’ a decade or so ago. 650bhp is roughly what the likes of the Carrera GT, Enzo, SLR, and Zonda F were pumping out and those cost a great deal more than what a 650S or Huracan are going for today. The rate of development of bhp and performance in cars today simply boggles the mind. No wonder Ferrari are working hard with Getrag to make a reliable connection between the new engine and dual-clutch transmission.
While nothing is confirmed, it is almost certain Ferrari will have an engine with a capacity under 4.0 in the next 458 to go around China’s tax on car with engine over 4.0. Ferrari are blaming this tax for slow sales of the 4.5L 458 in China whereas the Mclaren 650S is blessed with a smaller 3.8L engine and isn’t effected by the tax.
Ferrari’s other challenge will be perfecting the design. The 458, like many of the greatest Ferrari designs, was penned by Pininfarina. The car we’ll see at next year’s Geneva Motor Show will be designed wholly in-house by Ferrari. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as the LaFerrari was designed in-house and that’s not exactly a minger is it?
As mentioned before, nothing is confirmed. We’ll have to wait for next year as the Geneva Motor Show draws near to get any actual details of the 458’s successor. It’ll no doubt be a very exciting and technically brilliant car – all Ferraris of recent time have been. I’ll be sitting on the edge of my seat to see what it’ll looks like and what it’ll sound like, to me are those are what makes a Ferrari.
R.I.P. the naturally aspirated Ferrari V8.