When Ferrari unveiled the Ferrari 458 Speciale, they claimed that this is not a variation of the Ferrari 458 Italia, but as a matter of fact a totally different car.
Ferrari 458 Speciale achieves 0-62mph in 3 seconds and 0-124mph in 9.1 seconds.
The 4.5-liter V8 engine was now tuned to deliver 597 horsepower maximum output at 9000rpm, which is a significant improvement over the Ferrari 458 Italia’s 562 horsepower. What engineers at Ferrari have done is, taking a masterpiece and make it better by making a huge number of changes, and delivering 133 horsepower per liter thanks to that. There’s more torque across the rev range and maximum torque is measured at 398 lb-ft at 6000rpm.
The main reason for this improvement was the 14:1 fuel compression ratio, a new cam profile that results in a five percent higher valve lift, new inlet manifolds with 10 mm shorter inlet tracts, new cylinder heads, revised piston geometry to improve combustion efficiency.
They also added a carbon fiber air filter box and carbon fiber plenums to reduce another 8 kg overall engine weight.
The Ferrari 458 Speciale is also 90 kg less when compared to the Ferrari 458 Italia, due to a carbon fiber underbody, thinner side windows and windshield, a Lexan engine cover, forged alloy wheels, and lighter ceramic brakes. The interior was stripped to lose weight as well.
Ferrari 458 Speciale was given new magnetic dampers with twin solenoids and a new CPU that can modify the magnetic field and improves damper response every millisecond. The springs are now stiffer and the addition of a new roll bar means a suspension system more focused on handling.
Gear shift logic was also revised to improve the time it takes the engine speed to match the gear ratio on downshifts, resulting in 44% quicker downshifts, a hard-to-believe fact when considering the super smooth downshifting capabilities of the gearbox in Ferrari 458 Italia. This also makes braking late into a corner a little more brutal process, as each shift brings a jolt as the gears change.
The Ferrari 458 Speciale’s aerodynamic applications were utilized to accomplish many divergent aims such as to provide optimum aerodynamic balance as well as to reduced aerodynamic drag. This also results in improved cornering speed, improved overall speed, the stability of the car with improved downforce even when maintaining the top speed of 202mph consistently. Lowered ride height, aero vanes, side fins, extended rear spoiler, and a deep rear venturi system make the car more aggressive and muscular than the Ferrari 458 Italia.
The centrally mounted two movable vertical flaps at the front, which are placed above a movable horizontal flap, remain closed at speeds below 106mph to channel air to the radiators. When traveling above this speed the force of the air pressure opens them, reducing the air volume flowing to the radiators to reduce aerodynamic drag. At 137mph the horizontal flap is forced downwards by air pressure to redirect the airflow, and resulting in a 20% shift in overall downforce towards the rear of the car for optimum high-speed aero balance.
Front turning vanes and the side fins of the car reduce the air resistance around the body and increase downforce.
The more profound rear spoiler provides increased downforce, which also results in better traction.
The Ferrari 458 Speciale also features active flaps in the new rear diffuser. These flaps sit flush with the rear diffuser for maximum downforce but can be opened up to 17 degrees at 137mph to stall the diffuser which results in improved aerodynamic drag resistance by 3Cd.
According to Ferrari, the Ferrari 458 Speciale produced 212 kg of downforce at 124mph.
The Ferrari 458 Speciale also features carbon-ceramic brakes derived from Ferrari LaFerrari to reduce stopping distances as well as handling of the car. Ferrari claimed that the brake pads will boast a lifetime of four times longer than before due to technological advances. Just like in Ferrari LaFerrari, the discs were 398 mm in the front and 360 mm at the rear. Despite that, the calipers and pads are actually smaller, but due to the use of a new higher silicon content structure, the performance increase is significant. Ferrari 458 Italia would have required 410 mm discs fitted to its system and a lot of weight shedding to achieve the same sort of performance, according to Ferrari engineers. This little fact is just the beginning of the differences it has with the Ferrari 458 Italia.
It also comes equipped with Michelin Pilot Cup 2 tires, the same basic tires that were available on the Porsche 911 GT3 (Type 997) and Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS Black series.
The Ferrari 458 Speciale was also the first Ferrari to feature a Side Slip Angle Control (SSC) system. The SSC system is all about allowing one and each driver to explore the depth of the abilities of the Ferrari 458 Speciale with as little electronic intervention as possible to provide a more driver-centric driving experience, but still, with a degree of assistance in the case, the driver overleaps his/her skills.
The SSC system was also developed to make the Ferrari 458 Speciale faster. SCC is not just another less intrusive stability control system. The SSC is using real-time information to calculate a side-slip target value, which is more like the perfect cornering attitude to achieve maximum speed, and then plots where the car is in relation to that value.
The SSC system now uses the electronically controlled differential to shift the car’s balance closer to the target value. If the slip angle of the target value is smaller, then the e-diff is unlocked to provide increased agility. If the driver’s side-slip angle is greater than the target value, then the e-diff is locked for improved stability.
The SSC system also takes advantage of the traction control system if necessary, but by manipulation of the e-diff, it is said to be reducing the moments when the electronic driver assistance technologies end up restricting the performance of the engine. Ferrari claims that with the use of SSC, the fastest drivers are even quicker.
With all this engineering precision and attention to detail, the Ferrari 459 Speciale provides astounding grip and heavier much accurate steering and precisely relays an impression of the surface and the tires to dig deeper. This effect also ends up creating an intoxicating neutral balance.
In CT-off mode, the Ferrari 458 Speciale’s SCC system delivers up to 65% more longitudinal acceleration on the corner exit and requires only 30% less steering movement.
To keep the weight down, the Ferrari 458 Speciale features stripped cabin floor, polished carbon fiber door trim. The seats and the trimming are done in Alcántara leather to give it a more luxurious feeling. The Center console also features a small little arc with buttons for reverse, auto mode of the transmission, and launch control. This little arc and its buttons are also made out of carbon fiber.
The steering wheel of the Ferrari 458 Speciale is full of controls and the dashboard is well styled despite its track-oriented sense of purpose.
Ferrari 458 Speciale when compared to the Ferrari 458 Italia, the ride of the car was slightly firmer but not harsh in any way, and when it comes to the handling of the car, it is now more responsive and even more accurate and the front end was now more responsive. The engine is tuned to be louder and more powerful at higher revs. The brakes are more responsive and powerful. The gearbox offered much faster downshifts and upshifts with silky smooth precision.
Ferrari 458 Speciale is not only stiffer, faster, handles better, more powerful, and louder, it is also serious, more track-focused, beautifully designed and engineered preciously, and just way better than the Ferrari 458 Italia.
Ferrari 458 Speciale was praised by Ferrari enthusiasts for its ability to convince people to gain confidence naturally, so they can drive smoothly and accurately.
When Ferrari claimed that this was not a version of the Ferrari 458 Italia, but a brand-new car, they were sort of right, because this is a clever packaging of ferocity with progression and incredible sense of purpose with such serenity.
CT-off mode provides to shut off all the electronic stability control and traction control and allows the driver to rely on their skill alone to go around the track. When SSC is on, it feeds on real-time information such as the steering angle and wheel speed sensors to provide more stability or agility to improve cornering, so the driver can easily get used to the car even without the knowledge and skill set of a proper racing driver.
Ferrari 458 Speciale was unveiled with a price tag of 208,000 Euro.