Ferrari 458 Italia

The Ferrari 458 is one of the most beautiful Exotic cars ever made……………even today, five years after its last model was on the showroom floor in 2015. The Ferrari has always been my dream car from as early as I can remember. I absolutely love my Z06 and would put it up against any car out there from a performance stand point……………. however there is just something about a Ferrari………… What makes a car Exotic………. they will be expensive, rare, have high performance and be somewhat impractical. The 458 is all these things, though it actually has some practicality………which we will discuss a little later.

So Let’s take some time here and discuss one of my favorite exotic cars of all time and why I have included it in my exotic car reviews. The best part of writing this is post is that I get to daydream about how much fun it would be right now, to be experiencing this car with the top down on a sunny spring day flying through the twistys on a winding two lane mountain road.

Ferrari 458 Italia

A Little History

Ferrari produces about 8400 vehicles per year. There mid engine super cars like the 458 deliver about half of that production. The 458 was first introduced in 2009 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, with its first model year being 2010. It replaces the Ferrari F430 which has the distinction of being the last Ferrari with a manual transmission, In fact, if you can find a F430 with a manual transmission they are much more valuable today than a F430 with an automatic.

In keeping with Ferrari tradition, the body was designed by Pininfarina under the leadership of Donato Coco, the Ferrari design director.

The interior design of the Ferrari 458 Italia was done by Bertrand Rapatel (Director of Ferrari Interior Design), a French automobile designer.

458 Steering Wheel

The car’s exterior styling and features were designed for aerodynamic efficiency, producing downforce of 309 lb at 120 mph. The front grille features deformable winglets that lower at high speeds, in order to offer reduced drag. The car’s interior was designed using input from former Ferrari Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher; in a layout common to racing cars, the new steering wheel incorporates many controls normally located on the dashboard or on stalks, such as turning signals or high beams. There is a noticeable difference between the F430 steering wheel and that of the 458.

F430 Steering Wheel

The 458 Spider was introduced at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. This convertible variant of the 458 Italia features an aluminum retractable hardtop which, according to Ferrari, weighs 55 lb less than a soft roof such as the one found on the Ferrari F430 Spider, and requires 14 seconds for operation. The engine cover has been redesigned to accommodate the retractable roof system. It has the same 0–62 mph acceleration time as the coupe but has a lower top speed of 199 mph due to the added weight.

The 458 Speciale was unveiled in 2013 at the Frankfurt Motor Show as the high performance variant of the 458 Italia. Distinctions of the Speciale over the standard 458 Italia are the forged wheels, vented bonnet, finned side sills, a taller rear spoiler and redesigned bumpers, which include active aerodynamics designed by Ferrari Styling Centre in cooperation with Pininfarina; front and rear movable flaps balance downforce and cut drag at speed.

Ferrari 458 Speciale A

The 458 Speciale A is the convertible variant of the 458 Speciale which was unveiled at the 2014 Frankfurt Motor Show. The ‘A’ stands for ‘Aperta’, which is Italian for ‘open’ – and the model was limited to only 499 examples (49 RHD examples).

Some Specs

The F136 V8 engine used in the 458

The 458 is powered by a 4,497 cc (4.5 L; 274.4 cu in) engine of the Ferrari F136 family, generating power of 562 hp at 9,000 rpm and 398 lb⋅ft of torque at 6,000 rpm with 80% of that torque available at 3,250 rpm. The engine features direct fuel injection, which was a first for Ferrari mid-engine setups in its road cars.

The only transmission available on the 458 is a dual-clutch 7-speed Getrag gearbox. There is no traditional manual option, making this the fourth road-car after the Enzo, Challenge Stradale and F430 Scuderia not to be offered with Ferrari’s classic gated manual. It was Ferrari’s first mainstream model not to offer a manual transmission.

The car’s suspension has double wishbones at the front and a multi-link setup at the rear, coupled with E-Diff and F1-Trac, traction control systems, designed to improve the car’s cornering and longitudinal acceleration by 32% when compared with its predecessors.

This is a really cool feature as the brakes include a prefill function whereby the pistons in the calipers move the pads into contact with the discs on lift off to minimize delay in the brakes being applied. This, combined with the ABS and standard Carbon Ceramic brakes, have caused a reduction in stopping distance from 62-0 mph to 107 ft. Tests have shown the car will stop from 62.1 mph in 90 feet or in 85 feet with run flat tires, 85 feet from 60 mph and 80 feet from 60 mph with run flat tires.

Ferrari 458 Speciale

For the 458 Speciale introduced in 2013, the engine was revised, with power increased to 597 hp at 9,000 and 398 lb⋅ft of torque at 6,000 rpm. Electronic systems were updated too and side-slip angle control (SSC) was introduced to improve the cars control at the limit. SSC performs instant-to-instant analysis of the car’s side-slip, comparing it with the target value and then optimizing both torque management (via integration with F1-Trac traction control) and torque distribution between the two wheels (via integration with the E-Diff electronic differential). The Speciale accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in 3.0 seconds and to120 mph in 9.1 seconds. Ferrari declared a Fiorano test track lap time of 1:23.5, only 0.5 seconds slower than the F12 Berlinetta. Lateral acceleration now reaches 1.33 g.

The 458 Speciale A, (the ‘A’ stands for ‘Aperta’, which is Italian for open)was introduced in 2014. The Aperta has the same 4.5-litre naturally aspirated V8 engine found in the 458 Speciale, which generates a power output of 597 hp and 398 lb⋅ft of torque. 0–62 mph takes 3.0 seconds and the Spider is capable of a top speed of 199 mph. It was the most powerful, street-legal, naturally aspirated Ferrari automobile the company had ever launched in a convertible variant, until it was surpassed by the 790 hp naturally aspirated V12 of the LaFerrari Aperta in 2017.

458 Trunk

Comfort and Practicality

The Ferrari 458 is a comfortable car for two people. I have sat in an 458 and I have driven a F430 and I can tell you they are extremely nice and comfortable inside. The luggage space is a little snug at 8.1 cubic ft. This is almost half of what we had in the GT4 I wrote about which has 14.7 cubic ft and my own Corvette Z06. I have told you that I can easily get two carry on bags in the back of the Vette with plenty of room left over for other items such as the “shoe bag”. You would be hard-pressed to get two carry on’s in the 458. The good news is that Ferrari makes custom luggage for the 458 to maximize your space. Hey, if you’re buying a Ferrari you should be able to afford the Ferrari “custom luggage”.

Conclusion

The Ferrari 458 has been my dream car since it was introduced in 2009 as a 2010 model. For me, the 2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale A (spyder) would be my choice. The added power and the super cool slide-slip angle control (SSC) would be fun to experiment with. The fact that it is a convertible is awesome too. It is so nice to feel warmth of the sun, the wind in the air and the beautiful sound of the naturally aspirated Ferrari sound bounce off those mountain walls while flying through the twisties….Let’s go for a drive!!!

Please leave comments below.

Wes

Exotic Cars and Road Trips

Enjoy the Road

Easter Sunday 2020

Best California Road Trips series –

It was Easter Sunday 2020………….. Things are a little different this year, with the Covid-19 adventure taking place. Here in California, the entire state is in “Shelter in Place” mode. We are only allowed to leave our homes if going to work or for an “essential” job or to go to the grocery store………. not much else is considered essential. We can’t even go to our neighborhood parks and most state parks and lakes are closed as well.

Some have embraced this situation………… I will only say that I believe the whole thing is a bit overblown and I do not believe its necessary to shut down the entire state, country or the world for that matter. With that being said, it is difficult to embrace this whole thing and we were not ready to set up a “Zoom” meeting get together for Easter Sunday.

The Route

We decided to take a little road trip instead…………….yes, it was essential as we desperately needed to get out of the house. So we decided to make a little trip to the foothills just east of our home. We were hoping the roads would be empty with everyone staying at home and this could be one of our Best California Road Trips……………. though we were very surprised by want we encountered

The Plan

We planned a short little route that would take us about two hours round trip. Traveling these days can be a little tricky, its nice that gas stations and convenience stores are open, however the public restrooms in these places are closed. With restaurants also being closed or open for take out only, you really don’t have any good options to stop for a bite to eat or to use the facilities. For guys, it’s a little easier to stop on the side of the road, however it is a little more difficult for Miss Linda……………. hence our 2 hour road trip.

Downtown Jackson

We decided that we would leave around 1:30 in the afternoon. It was a little cool with overcast skies in the morning, with the clouds breaking up and the sun shining through as our departure time approached. It would be between 65 to 70 degrees for most of our trip. We would go through the little towns of Lockeford and Clements as we headed toward Jackson on Hwy 88. As you go through Jackson, Hwy 88 turns left and heads up toward the Lake Tahoe area. For this trip we would continue straight through Jackson as the road turns to Hwy 49. This section of road lasts 16 miles until it hits Hwy 26. This 16 mile stretch of road was the motivation for this trip as it is a lovely two lane road with some nice esses, big sweeper turns and some nice elevation changes.

As we would merge onto Hwy 26 and head back toward home, we would pass through the little towns of Mokelumne Hill, Valley Springs and Wallace. We would then merge back on to Hwy 88 which, again takes us through Clements and Lockeford as we headed home. As it turned out, our plans changed and our route was slightly altered.

The Cars

Audi R8

This was a bit interesting for an Easter Afternoon…………. there were a bunch of cars out on this Sunday…….. Of course, we were in the Z06 with the top off on this beautiful sunny afternoon.

Lamborghini Huracan

As we were driving up Hwy 88 toward Jackson, we saw a bunch of cars coming in the opposite direction. It was little difficult to catch all of them as they went by……….. but we will give it a try. We see car clubs often on our road trips, they are typically a group of similar cars, like a Porsche club, or Ferrari club. We even saw a group of about 20 mini coopers cruising together on our “Need for Speed” trip on Hwy 128.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

This trip, most of the cars were different. It was difficult to tell if they were all together or just a bunch of exotic cars that were out for a drive on the same day. Let’s see if I can remember all that we saw………… two Audi R8’s, two Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio’s, three Alfa Romeo 4C’s, one Ferrari F430, one Lamborghini Gallardo, one Lamborghini Huracan, two Ford Shelby GT 350’s and another Z06 that was all black. Quite a collection of cars you don’t typically see on this drive, though it was pretty cool!!

The Road

As I mentioned earlier, the motivation for this trip was this 16 mile stretch of road just outside of Jackson on the Hwy 49 bypass. I have been trying to catch this section of road empty of cars for many years and have so far been unsuccessful. The only time I have ever been on this stretch of road without traffic and to be able to truly enjoy it, was when my beautiful wife Miss Linda was driving her 97 Porsche Boxter……. I was simply a passenger and extremely jealous as she got a bit aggressive and enjoyed the road.

The Road Ahead

The drive to Jackson is a nice two lane road with some long straights and some big lazy turns………… not a lot of real aggressive corners. This section of road is usually always busy with the Highway Patrol waiting to write you a ticket and today was no exception. We saw one of the a fore mentioned Alfa Romeo’s pulled over……….. we knew then this was not going to be a great aggressive driving day.

When we hit that 16 mile stretch of road we were stuck behind quite a few cars…………… unfortunately they were not some of those exotics I mentioned earlier………….. no they were your local pickup trucks and SUV’s that were not even going the speed limit…………… I was super frustrated but decided to enjoy the nice weather and enjoy the road………………. this was OK for a while, however i soon found myself aching to get a little more aggressive, at one point we even pulled over to the side of the road in hopes of letting the slow traffic get way ahead but also looking out for other slow cars coming from behind…….this helped a little, but we always seemed to catch up to those slow cars again way to fast.

 

waiting for traffic

 

Our plans changed as we approached the main section of Hwy 49 to head home. We decided to turn around and head back the way we came in hopes of a chance of less traffic and a chance to enjoy the road. We definitely had better luck and we were able to enjoy the road a little more, though we did end up behind slower cars again.

The Destination

The original plan was to make a big circle and get home in about 2 hours. This is one of those rare trips that we did not have an actual destination or a cool dive bar to be found along the way…………. they were are all closed.

As we had mentioned we ended up turning around and going back the way we came. Our route home was just the opposite of the drive there.

Conclusion

Any road trip is a good trip. Just the joy of the drive, the feel of the wind and the perfect temperature for a great drive. We did not have the same adventure or opportunity to see or do new things, however the car and drive still reminded us of the true value of a road trip and the freedom it provides!!

Please leave comments below

Wes

Exotic Cars and Road Trips

Porsche Cayman GT4

Have you ever been asked what car would you most like to drive if price was no object ? Well for me it is the 2020 Porsche Cayman GT4. What………….. really……….. yes really. Of course, I would also like to drive a $300,000 Lamborghini, Ferrari or McLaren…….. I will get to these later. The GT4 to me is the best driver’s car on the market today!! This is why it is the first car on my exotic car reviews.

GT4

My wife, Miss Linda has a 1997 Porsche Boxter with a manual transmission. It is one of the most fun cars to drive. If you read one of my other post, the “Next 140 Miles”, you know that two of my Buddy’s on that trip had the Porsche Cayman S. There was just something about those cars and the graceful way they went through the twisties and back roads, so smooth and fast. Whether I was watching through my windshield as I followed or watching in my rear view mirror when I was leading……………… I just kept thinking I want to drive that car.

There are other exotic cars with more power that are faster…………… but for the pure joy of driving, the balance, power and manual transmission make for one of the best driving experiences ever!!

Exotic Car Reviews

A Little History

The original Porsche Boxster (the 986) was introduced in late 1996 as a two seat mid engine convertible sports car. It was Porsche’s first originally designed roadster since the Porsche 914. The original 986 was powered by a 2.5 liter flat six cylinder engine.

In 2005, Porsche debuted the second generation of the Boxster, type 987, with a more powerful engine and styling inspired by the Carrera GT. That was followed by the introduction of the 2006 Porsche Cayman. The Cayman is a coupe derived from Porsche’s second generation Boxster roadster. The car is not named after the Cayman Islands. Both the car and the islands are named after the caiman, a member of the alligator family. When the first Cayman arrived at dealerships for sale, the automaker adopted four caiman alligators at Stuttgart’s Wilhelma Zoo.

Introduced in 2016 for the 2017 model year, the Porsche Boxster and Cayman were renamed the Porsche 718 Boxster and Porsche 718 Cayman. The bad news at this time was the fact that Porsche had replaced the flat six cylinder engines with turbo charged 4 cylinder engines. While performance in most cases was a little better with the turbo 4, the soul of the 718 was not the same. There is nothing quite like the sound of a Porsche flat six cylinder engine with its steady linear acceleration!!

GT4

The first Cayman GT4 was available in 2015 and 2016. It had a slightly detuned 3.8 liter from the 911 GT3 making 385 HP and 310 lb-ft torque. It road 1.2 inch lower than a standard Cayman and came with a six speed manual transmission. The GT4 was a track focused car with limited production. The production numbers were supposed to be around 2500 worldwide with approximately 1200 coming to the US………….. not sure where the final numbers ended up.

Some Specs

The Porsche 718 Cayman is considered by many to be the perfect sports car. It handles with precision and engages the driver like no other car can. The proportions and mid engine design and weight make this one of the best handling cars on the road today.

The new 2020 GT4 takes all that the Cayman has to offer and enhances it with precision and poise. The best part of the new GT4 is the return of a naturally aspirated six cylinder engine along with a six speed manual transmission with auto blip feature, which is also referred to as rev matching. If you are not familiar with rev matching…………in my opinion it is one of the coolest features ever! If you are like me and only get to the track once a year or even once every other year, your track skills are not at their peak. One of the things I never got good at was the whole heel toe thing. This is where, during braking, you keep a portion of your foot on the accelerator to keep the rpm’s up as you downshift so you can accelerate faster out of the corner, the auto blip or rev matching does this for you………… it is so cool!!

The Wing

The engine is based on the turbocharged 3.0 liter from the 911 GT3 RS. It has been bored and stroked to 4.0 liter and is now turbo free for use in the GT4. The free breathing six cylinder can rev to 8000 rpm and makes 414 HP at 7600 rpm and 309 pound-fee of torque from 5000 to 6800 rpm. The suspension technology and brakes have also been borrowed from the 911 GT3 RS where the lower control arms have ball joints instead of bushings and the rear control arms have helper springs to offer incredible handling, the brakes have 15 inch rotors all around with six-piston calipers up front and fours in the rear. You can also option for the 16.1 inch fronts and 15.4 rears with optional carbon ceramics and adaptive dampers.

Comfort and Practicality

The GT4 is a track focused car. Most of the suspension parts can be manually adjusted for track use and it has only one driving mode………… sport. Most cars these days have multiple driving modes for comfort, sport or track………… not here as this car again is focused for the track. That being said, for the pure pleasure of driving, this would be a fabulous car for a road trip. You would want make sure that the roads you are headed for are in good repair and mostly smooth as the ride in the GT4 will be stiffer than most.

The interior is plenty comfortable for two people. I have experience riding as a passenger in Miss Linda’s Boxster and have also ridden as a passenger in my Buddy’s Cayman S. I was comfortable and had plenty of room in both. The GT4 interior is very similar save for the strap door handles.

Door Handle Strap

With two luggage compartments, the Cayman GT4 is a surprisingly practical. The rear compartment measures 9.5 cubic feet and the front 5.2 cubes. At 14.7 cubes combined, that’s about as much cargo space as in some sedans. Of course, because the GT4 doesn’t have one large trunk, larger items will struggle to fit, however you should have plenty of room for luggage for a weekend get away.

Interior

Conclusion

The Cayman has always been recognized as a great driver’s car, though in recent years it had lost its soul with the turbo 4 cylinder. With the new GT4 and its new 4.0 liter six cylinder singing the tunes we love while being engaged in the driving experience as we roll through gears while braking for corners and then accelerating out of them……….. could there be anything better. Yes, there are cars out there that have more power, more features for less money, but you won’t care if you are driving a GT4 because you will be having more fun than any of them.

This is the car that I most want to drive!!!

Please leave comments below

Wes

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