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