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Breaking: First Real Photos of Ferrari 458 Italia

New exotic to feature more driver-focus cockpit with more steering wheel-mounted controls

 |  Aug 27 2009, 9:55 AM

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Ahead of its debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show in just a few weeks Ferrari has released a new selection of images of its upcoming 458 Italia – the successor to the F430. Previous photos were just computer generated images, but this latest selections show the 458 in the flesh and driving at speed.

While you’re likely to spend time staring at the dynamic track photos, Ferrari is more interested in the interior pics. The reason for this is that Ferrari engineers and designers worked hand in hand to create the interior of the 458 Italia, inventing ways to make the cockpit a more driver-focused environment. To do this all of the steering-column mounted stalks have been eliminated with items like the turn signals, high-beams and wiper functions now located on the steering wheel. Even the button to select the different shock settings has been moved onto the wheel, directly next to the Engine Start button.

With all main commands on the steering wheel, all secondary items have been moved to one of two satellite pods on either side of the dash. The pod on the right side now includes all infotainment, Bluetooth, satellite and back-up camera items, while the left side pod includes items like cruise control.

The idea is to allow the driver to focus more on the road, both enhancing safety and increasing the driving experience.

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Powering the 458 is a 4.5-liter V8 that puts out an incredible 570hp at 9000 rpm and 398 ft-lbs of torque at 6000 rpm – 80 percent of which is available at just 3250 rpm.

The new engine it a typically high compression Ferrari V8 rated at 12.5:1 and uses direct-injection technology. This means it gets better fuel economy that otherwise might be expected with a combined city/highway rating of 17.2 mpg. In comparison, the F430 only got 16 mpg on the highway.

Using an aluminum chassis and plenty of other light weight metals and materials the 458 Italia weighs an astonishingly low 3,043 lbs in its dry form (expect an extra 100 to 200 lbs with all fluids in place).

Combining these factors with a new smooth-shifting dual-clutch 7-speed transmission (that Ferrari claims is faster than the current F1 tranny), the 458 Italia can hit 62 mph in just 3.4 seconds and blast on to a top speed of 202 mph.

As expected, however, the 458 is about far more than straight line speed and so Ferrari has worked hard at applying its racing technology to improve the E-Diff differential and F1-Trac traction control systems to allow the newest prancing horse to put down 32 percent more power out of the corners.

GALLERY: 2010 Ferrari 458 Italia

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Official release:

Press Release

Maranello, 26 August 2009 – In the run-up to the official unveiling of the Ferrari 458
Italia at the Frankfurt Motor Show on the 15th of September, enthusiasts can find out
more about the car on www.ferrari.com. There they will find the first photographs of
the 458 Italia’s interior and of the steering wheel and instrument binnacle which
represent a significant step forward in the concept of the ergonomic interface between
driver and car.
In fact the main commands are now grouped on the steering wheel, the secondary
commands are handily set in two satellite pods either side of the dash and there are
now comprehensive instrument displays on the panel ahead of the driver. These
solutions represent an important safety aspect, enabling the driver to concentrate fully
on driving. Similarly this layout ensures maximum control of the car in high-
performance driving, an uncompromising approach that derives directly from Ferrari’s
F1 experience.
Working closely with the Ferrari Styling Centre, the engineers have thus reinterpreted
the positioning of the major commands to provide a truly driver-oriented cockpit. All
steering-column mounted stalks have been eliminated, with the indicators, full beam,
flash and windscreen wiper functions now being activated by buttons on the steering
wheel boss. The button to select the shock absorber setting is now positioned next to
the ‘Engine start’ button where it falls readily to hand. Behind the wheel are a number
of secondary functions, such as the stereo, while the gearbox paddles are now longer
making shifts even easier from any steering angle.
The right-hand satellite pod on the dash incorporates controls for the infotainment,
the Bluetooth connection, sat-nav, digital speedo and rear parking camera. Clustered
on the left-hand satellite pod instead are the optional cruise control, buttons for
choosing the video setting of the left-hand dash TFT screen and the on-board
computer interface. The latter controls the trip computer, the Vehicle Dynamic
Assistance and the display of the car’s set-up.

The Vehicle Dynamic Assistance monitors the operating parameters of the most
important areas of the car – engine/gearbox, tyres and brakes. The VDA is enabled in
the following manettino settings – Race, CT off and CST off – and provides visual
confirmation of the status of each component based on an algorithm from parameters
reading lateral and longitudinal acceleration, revs and speed. This enables the driver to
assess the ideal operating conditions for the car. There are three status settings:
WARM-UP (operating temperature too low), GO (ideal operating conditions) and
OVER (one or more components are no longer at their optimum level and need
cooling).

Along with the photos now on-line, the Ferrari site also includes an exclusive video-
interview with Paolo Pininfarina, Chairman of Pininfarina S.p.A., who provides in-
depth insight into the 458 Italia’s design philosophy and exterior styling. The next
release on www.ferrari.com will include an analysis of the car’s performance
characteristics with an interview with seven-times F1 World Champion Michael
Schumacher.