Ferrari has lifted the veil off of the ferrari 458 Speciale, a lighter variant of the 458 Italia powered by an eight-cylinder engine that packs the highest energy density of any naturally-aspirated mill the Prancing Horse has ever built.
Mounted directly behind the front seats, the Speciale's 4.5-liter V8 churns out 605 horsepower at 9,000 rpms – a figure that equates to 135 horsepower per engine liter – and 398 lb-ft. of torque at 6,000 rpms. With it, the 2,843-pound coupe sprints from zero to 62 mph in three seconds flat and from zero to 124 mph in 9.1 seconds.
The ferrari 458 Speciale also holds the honor of being the most aerodynamic regular-production Ferrari has ever produced, an achievement partially accomplished by fitting the car with adjustable spoilers on both ends.
On-track handling is enhanced by Ferrari's Side Slip angle Control (SSC) system. SSC uses a new algorithm to precisely analyze the car's side slip, compare it to the car's projected trajectory and work with the electronic differential and the F1-derived traction control system to instantly change the torque distribution between the rear wheels. Michelin Pilot Sport Cup2 tires designed specifically for the Speciale help keep the extra power in check.
Following its debut in Frankfurt, the 458 Speciale will go on sale in the United States next year as a 2015 model. Pricing information will be available closer to its launch.
High-tech features like the adjustable spoilers and the SSC system will eventually be added to other members of the Ferrari lineup.
Ferrari has produced the most extreme version of its 458 Italia super-coupe yet seen, just as Porsche launches its most fearsome 911 ever.
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Porsche has just commenced the global launch of its fire-breathing new 911 Turbo and Turbo S (watch this space for our first drive), which can sprint to 100km/h in a staggering 3.1 seconds.Due on sale in Australia by the end of this year, Porsche’s new 911 flagships are expected to be priced similarly to their 997-series predecessors – the $396,900 Turbo coupe and $423,300 Turbo S coupe last sold here in June 2012.
Ferrari claims the new 458 Speciale, revealed here ahead of its world public debut at the Frankfurt motor show next month, can hit 100km/h in three seconds flat, undercutting the 911 Turbo S by a tenth and the ‘mainstream’ 458 by 0.4 seconds.
But the centrepiece of all Ferraris is the engine – in this case an uprated version of the 458’s 425kW/540Nm 4.5-litre V8, which delivers the same torque at 6000rpm but 25kW more peak power (now 450kW or around 600hp) at 9000rpm.
That gives the 458 Special the highest specific power output of any a road-going naturally aspirated engine (100kW/litre), says Ferrari, as well as a weight/power ratio of just 2.13kg/hp, thanks to a dry weight pared back to just 1290kg – down from 1525kg kerb.
The result is said to be 0-200km/h acceleration in just 9.1 seconds and a lap time at Ferrari’s Fiorano test track of just 1:23.5 – a whole 1.5 seconds faster than the standard 458 and just half a second slower than a Ferrari F12.
In case anyone cares, the 458 Special emits a claimed 275g/km of CO2 when its HELE idle-stop system is employed.
“The above mentioned technical content has improved the 458 Speciale’s single lap time and also delivers repeatability of that performance on subsequent laps that is absolutely unprecedented for a car not designed exclusively for track use,” said the Maranello car-maker.
“The Speciale is designed to boost performance and driving emotion to unprecedented levels, yet simultaneously guarantee smooth, effortless control in all kinds of situations.”