Feature

New cars: 2010 Ferrari 458 Italia

Automobile
We didn’t expect the 458 Italia “to raise the bar significantly.” Its predecessor, the F430, was so good that Ferrari could have easily “slapped on a new skin and a new nameplate” and made us happy. Yet Ferrari’s latest addition to the V-8 Berlinetta lineup is another example of its knack for translating its “hard-fought Formula 1 racing expertise” into desirable sports cars.

Car and Driver
With a direct-injection 4.5-liter engine and 9,000-rpm redline, the 458 was built for the track. Yet such features as magneto­rheological shock absorbers and multilevel stability control make driving at high speeds easy, “like strapping on parabolic skis.” The only knock against the 458 may be the aesthetic. “The 458 was designed less for sex appeal than for maximum ­efficiency in power production.”

Road & Track
Purists will consider it a “sacrilege” that the 458 isn’t available with traditional manual transmission. In its place is a twin-clutch, 7-speed manual transmission with “lightning-fast and error-free paddle.” Braking is also vastly improved, thanks to hyper-responsive carbon-ceramic brakes paired with a “pre-fill” function that ­“automatically moves the brake pads close to the rotors the moment the driver comes off the throttle quickly.”

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