Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New Car: 2011 Ferrari 458 Italia

With a top speed of 203mph and a 0-60mph sprint of less than 3.5 seconds, this is the fastest car Ferrari has ever built.

So say hello to the F458 Italia - officially revealed in these first pictures.

Offering a staggering 570bhp at 9,000rpm it's also fitted with an advanced engine, and a new double-clutch, seven-speed gearbox.

Like all Ferraris, the new name references the engine - in this case a 4.5-litre V8. But what's equally important is important is the bit that comes next. Called Italia, this is the car Ferrari hopes will be the new pride of Italy.

While Ferrari is unlikely to admit it, the firm has been under huge pressure from rivals like the Audi R8 and Lamborghini Gallardo. Offering similar chassis technology and superior engine technology both cars offer a winning blend of performance, reliability and drivability.

The F458 is the car that insiders claim is set to change all that - stamping the famous firms authority on a class it has dominated for the past 15 years.

As a result, the F458 is much more than simply a refreshed F430 - sporting new engine, chassis and suspension technology - using exotic materials like magnesium and carbon fibre to keep the weight down.

And the technology push doesn't stop there. Leaked patent drawings last month revealed Ferrari is working on a hybrid powertrain, and a petrol-electric concept, possibly based on the 458, is mooted to debut as early as the LA Show this December..

It's also got a radical new look. Designed by Pininfarina, the car's signature lights include LED technology - pioneered by Audi - and a distinctive black front grille.

However, what makes the F458 so different to its predecessor is science behind its svelte bodywork. Look closely and there's an obvious lack of openings in the bodywork.

Reducing aerodynamic drag has been key to this cars performance - both on track and on the petrol station forecourt.

The holes but into the front and flanks of the bodywork feed air to the engine and radiators, but just as importantly, they also push it under the car's flat under tray, into a series of aerodynamic venturi tunnels.

This has the effect of sucking the car down onto the tarmac - in fact, the set up is so effective, that at around 120mph the car is generating around 140kg of downforce.

Another subtle, yet effective trick can be found at the front of the car, where two movable wings are hidden against the black of the radiator air intakes. This is part of the car's active aerodynamic package and helps to reduce drag at high speeds.

Performance is delivered to the rear wheels, and controlled using Ferrari's "e-diff" limited slip differential and adjustable F1-Trac traction control system.

Backed by lightweight carbon ceramic brakes, the car is said to be the fastest point-to-point machines the firm has ever built.

At the rear of the car you'll find the distinctive three-tailpipe arrangement, first seen in our spyshots. According to insiders, the exhaust note has been modelled on the firm's F1 car - sounding every bit as high-pitched.

The car makes its public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September - while first examples are set to hit UK roads early next year. As yet, there's no word on price, but as the car is even faster than the F430 Scuderia - priced from £172,250 - it's unlikely drivers should expect change from less than £175,000. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

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