Hardcore Ferrari 458 Speciale Revealed


Packed with new tech, lighter and faster, the Speciale is set to take the 458 to a new level.

360 Stradale, 430 Scuderia and now 458 Speciale. This is the latest in Ferrari’s line of lighter, faster, more hardcore mid-engined variants. The 458 Italia is undoubtedly a very special car but as is often the case, many potential buyers were giving it a pass in anticipation of the inevitable road racer. It was rumored that this car would be called the Monte Carlo but as has become routine with Ferrari, they pulled a last minute side-step and named it the Speciale.

Based on the 458 Italia, the Speciale’s 4.5 liter V8 now puts down 596 hp (an increase of 34 over the Italia) and 398 pound-feet of torque. Ferrari claims that at 133 hp/liter it’s the highest specific output ever attained by a normally-aspirated engine.

As you would expect, the Speciale is also lighter. In this case, it loses 90 kg/198 lbs, or about the weight of an average male passenger. 0-60 now comes in less than three seconds and 124 mph in a hair over nine seconds. It’ll lap Fiorano (is Ferrari still too cool for the Nurburgring?) in 1:23.5, which is 1.5 seconds faster than the Italia, but 0.5 seconds slower than the F12 Berlinetta. A new Side Slip Control system (SSC) helps the F1-Trac traction control system and the E-Diff electronic differential to communicate more effectively to better manage rear grip. New wheels are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires.

Though it’s based on the Italia, owners won’t have to worry about onlookers mistaking it for the standard 458. There are plenty of additional aero aids that set it apart, not to mention the giant blue and white stripe running down its spine. Included in all this modified bodywork is a revised active aerodynamics system that helps make the Speciale Ferrari’s most aerodynamic road car to date. The revised front fascia helps channel the air to all the right places, and the GT racer-like outlet channels on the hood are new to a Ferrari of this type.

The back is all business. An open mesh vent extends between the taillights, and the three centrally mounted exhaust exits of the Italia have been ditched in favor of two outlets integrated into a massive diffuser.

The stripped-out interior reflects the weight saving. There doesn’t appear to be any carpet in sight, but carbon fiber is everywhere. The carbon protrusion housing the reverse, auto and launch control buttons is easily the interior’s most unusual feature.

Top speed, production numbers and pricing will be announced at the 458 Speciale’s public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show. We respectively anticipate high, low and expensive.