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Ferrari unleashes 458 Speciale

Special delivery: Half of the local allocation of Ferrari’s 458 Speciale is already sold out, with the rest expected to be snapped up this week.

Hardcore 445kW/540Nm V8 Ferrari 458 Speciale arrives in Australia from $550,000

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4 Dec 2013

THE most powerful naturally aspirated V8 Ferrari ever has blasted into Australia, but don’t expect to see too many 458 Speciales lingering in showrooms, with half of the allocation already sold out.

Ferrari Australia CEO Herbert Appleroth confirmed this week that around half of the allocated 60 units locked in for Australia and New Zealand over the next two years are already accounted for.

He expects that the remaining cars will be snapped up at local customer launch events scheduled in Sydney over the next week.

Local pricing for the 458 Speciale starts from $550,000 excluding on-road costs, placing it right in the middle of its two siblings – the 458 Italia coupe that costs $525,417 and the 458 Spider priced at $588,451.

It is one of the more affordable Ferraris, sitting well under the F12Berlinetta ($690,745) and the all-wheel drive FF grand tourer ($624,646).

The Speciale is the hardcore version of the 458, with an uprated version of the rear-mounted 4.5-litre V8 now producing 445kW at 9000rpm and 540Nm at 6000rpm, up 20kW over the Italia coupe’s output of 425kW.

Ferrari engineers have stripped 90kg of weight from the Italia on which the Speciale is based, for a 1290kg kerb weight thanks to the extensive use of carbon fibre panels in the engine bay as well as alcantara throughout the cabin.

The weight-saving measures and the boost in power output has paid off, with Ferrari claiming a blistering zero to 100km/h sprint time of 3.0 seconds, an improvement over its Italia twin of 0.4 seconds.

This makes it just 0.1 of a second slower to 100km/h than arch rival Lamborghini’s 515kW/690Nm V12 Aventador hardtop and matches the Roadster version of the Lambo.

Reaching 200km/h in Ferrari’s latest rocket takes just 9.1 seconds, around the same time it takes the BMW 320d to get to 100km/h, while the top speed is 325km/h.

The Italian supercar-maker said the 458 Speciale lapped the Fiorano circuit in 1 minute 23.5 seconds, 1.5 seconds faster than the Enzo.

Further setting the Speciale apart from its siblings is the addition of active aerodynamics, with front and rear movable flaps to help balance downforce and cut drag. The company says this is the most aerodynamically efficient vehicle ever produced by Ferrari.

Ferrari has included its Side Slip Angle Control (SSC) system that ensures greater control at speed. The system calculates acceleration, yaw angle, steering wheel angle and speed and compares it with reference data for smooth controllable oversteer.

The Brembo braking system with Extreme Design calipers are a development of the system used in the LaFerrari hybrid hypercar and is capable of a shorter stopping distance than the donor car of 100-0km/h in 31 metres.

The 458 Speciale rides on Michelin Pilot Sport Cup2 tyres that have been specially developed for the car, while the newly designed 20-inch wheels are 12kg lighter than the ones found on the Italia.

In keeping with its racing pedigree, Ferrari has maintained a sparse cabin dominated by lightweight materials such as Alcantara and carbon-fibre and removed heavy items such as the infotainment system.

There is, of course, evidence of Ferrari’s meticulous craftsmanship, with hand-stitched materials throughout as well as aluminium tread plates and sills. The glovebox is removed to allow for extra knee padding, but there are storage pockets for small items in the doors and in the centre console.

A carbon-fibre ‘bridge’ covers the central tunnel putting the F1-style gearbox controls at an easy angle for the driver, while a leg-rest cushion is located on the driver’s side of the tunnel for extra comfort.

Fuel consumption for the thumping V8 is 11.8 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined European test cycle when fitted with Ferrari’s HELE (High Emotion Low Emissions) fuel-saving system.

Options for the 458 Speciale are limited, but include the blue and white stripes running down the centre of the vehicle, which is inspired by the historic North American Racing Team livery.

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