Ferrari 458 Italia
Released at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Ferrari 458 Italia is a two-seat, mid-engined coupe replacing the F430 as the V8 sportscar in the range.
A radical new design is the result of an uncompromising approach that integrates styling and aerodynamic requirements. The Pininfarina design features compact, aerodynamic lines, underscoring the concepts of performance-oriented efficiency. The nose features a single opening for the front grille and side air intakes, with aerodynamic sections and profiles designed to direct air to the coolant radiators and the new flat underbody. The nose also sports small aeroelastic winglets which generate downforce and, as the speed rises, deform to reduce the section of the radiator intake and reduce drag.
The oil radiators for the gearbox and the dual-clutch are situated at the rear and are fed air from two intakes on the top of the rear wings. This solution provides a base bleed effect, an aerodynamic function that was developed by Ferrari for the FXX and which reduces drag by feeding the hot air out of the radiators underneath and into the slip stream. Using experience gained in aerodynamic development on the Ferrari F430 GT2, the flat underbody now incorporates the air intakes for engine bay cooling. These are positioned ahead of the rear wheelarches where they use pressure differences to efficiently channel air flow to the engine bay, at the same time generating more rear downforce.
Technical development of the car’s shaped started using CFD (Computational Fluid-Dynamic) techniques which helped optimise the management and interaction of the internal flows prior to wind tunnel testing. The latter was carried out on Ferrari’s rolling road facility using modular 1:3 scale models. The final solution chosen ensured adequate cooling to the running gear, while, at the same time, achieving a high level of aerodynamic efficiency (1.09) through excellent drag and downforce figures (Cd 0.33 and Cl 0.36 respectively) with 140 kg of downforce at 200 km/h and no less than 360kg at top speed.
The heart of the 458 Italia is an all-new dry-sump 90 degree V8 engine with a displacement of 4499cc – with a 12.5:1 compression ratio and maximum power output of 570bhp. This equates to an outstanding power output of 127bhp/litre, whilst the generous torque available - 540 Nm at 6000 rpm, with over 80 per cent available from 3250 rpm – ensures rapid pick-up from all engine speeds. The specific torque output is 120Nm/l.
The design of the engine components has been influenced by the carry-over of racing technology – F1 in particular – for maximum fluid-dynamic efficiency in order to achieve both performance and fuel consumption objectives, and meet the most stringent international emissions restrictions. The piston compression height was reduced as per racing engine practice. Similarly, thinner compression rings have been adopted to minimise friction between piston and liner. A graphite coating was applied to the piston skirt for the same reason.
To help further reduce internal friction, the cylinder block has four scavenge pumps. Two pick up oil from the cylinder heads and front and rear of the engine via dedicated oil recovery ducts outside the crankcase area, and two pick up oil from below the crank throws. The recovery ducts of the latter are interconnected in two groups of four cylinders to optimise the scavenge function and create a strong vacuum (800 mbar) around the crankshaft. This solution prevents excess oil splashing out of the sump and onto the rotating crankshaft and thus reduces power loss caused by friction. It also reduces losses due to windage caused by the pumping action of the pistons. The engine oil pump features variable displacement geometry which reduces the amount of power absorbed at high engine speeds.
As is traditional for Ferrari engines, the new V8 is equipped with continuously variable timing on both inlet and exhaust camshafts. The aluminium intake manifold has been lightened by reducing the wall thickness and has short, almost straight inlet tracts to reduce losses. It also includes a system that varies the geometry of the manifold, optimising the volumetric efficiency throughout the engine speed range. This is achieved by incorporating three pneumatic throttle valves in the central section between the two plenums. The engine mapping provides four different configurations of the valves for optimum torque values at all revs. The use of GDI with Split Injection improves engine performance by modulating the injection in two phases, increasing combustion efficiency and the torque at low revs (by up to 5 per cent). A high injection pressure (200 bar) guarantees adequate pulverisation of the petrol and an optimal air/fuel mix right up to 9,000rpm.
The exhaust system was designed to provide the rewquired sound, whilst also guaranteeing high levels of acoustic comfort. One of the main objectives with the exhaust was to reduce weight. The catalytic converter is attached to the central section of the exhaust by a flexible element to reduce the amount of vibration transmitted and to thus allow thinner metal to be used. Similarly the pre-catalytic converter has been eliminated, lowering overall weight and reducing back pressure whilst still respecting strict Euro 5 and LEV2 emissions.
Also all-new for the 458 Italia is the 7-speed F1 dual-clutch gearbox which provides fast and smooth changes. The technology is based on the independent management of even and odd gears which are pre-selected using two separate input shafts. The gear shifting time (the overlap between the opening and closing phases of the two clutches) is zero and thus there is no interruption of engine torque to the driven wheels. Compared to the California gearbox, response times have been reduced and the 458 Italia has specific, sportier gear ratios to match the power and torque curves of the new V8, guaranteeing high torque even at lower revs. The E-Diff 3 electronic differential has also been integrated into the gearbox, resulting in a more compact and lighter unit.
The modular chassis is an all-new design. New alloys join the traditional aluminium, along with high-resistance aluminium extrusions, and innovative manufacturing processes, such as heat-forming. The aim was to keep weight down to the benefit of performance and handling. The result is a chassis with improved structural rigidity, with torsional rigidity up 15% compared to the F430, and beam stiffness up 5%.
The 458 Italia’s front suspension employs a variant of the double wishbone set-up which features an L-shape design for the lower wishbone, with the rearward facing arm longer than the one in line with the wheel axis to provide greater longitudinal flexibility. This in turn improves the car’s ability to absorb bumps and also reduces suspension noise. It also provides greater transverse rigidity. The same characteristics are shared by the new rear multi-link suspension and, combined with specific tyre development, overall vertical rigidity has thus been improved (+35 per cent with respect to the F430) for less body roll, and the engineers were able to introduce a more direct steering ratio (11.9° compared to the F430’s 16.9°, a reduction of 30 per cent) which makes for quicker and more responsive steering on both road and track.
The 458 Italia also features the latest, second-generation Magnetorheological Suspension Control damper system. Compared to the system first introduced on the 599 GTB Fiorano, SCM2 boasts an evolved ECU (-50% input time) and a damper force generation time of 8ms compared to the 599’s 15ms. There is also a new piston rod bushing in the damper which reduces internal friction (-35%) for more precise small-bump control and improved ride comfort.
There are two primary electronic control systems, the E-Diff and F1-Trac, which are integrated in the same ECU. The electronic differential continuously distributes torque to the rear wheels, both in Power Off (turning in for the corner) and Power On (accelerating out of the corner), guaranteeing excellent vehicle stability and control in all driving conditions and on all surfaces. The E-Diff 3 now works in a more integrated manner with the F1-Trac, using a series of F1-Trac parameters and evaluations (such as estimates of grip) both in manettino positions in which the F1-Trac is inserted (Sport – Race) and those in which it is deactivated (CT Off and CST Off). Compared to previous versions, E-Diff 3 delivers improved torque distribution coming out of corners (in Sport, Race, CT Off and CST Off), which translates into improved grip, better roadholding and more progressive handling on the limit. The result is an improvement of 32% in longitudinal acceleration out of corners compared to previous models and a lap time at Fiorano of just 1” 25 seconds
Since the beginning of 2008 Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes have been standard on all Ferraris. The 458 Italia is no different and is equipped with 6-pot aluminium callipers with 398x223x36mm discs at the front, and 4-pot aluminium callipers with 360x233x32mm discs at the rear. The 458 Italia boasts outstanding braking distances (100-0km/h in 32.5m; 200-0km/h in 128m) thanks to the development and optimisation of the Bosch control logic and the evolution of Ferrari’s Pre-Fill logic, which reduces response times by activating the pistons in the callipers, thus minimising the gap between the brake pad and the disc as soon as the driver lifts off the accelerator. Similarly, these excellent results were achieved thanks to a specific calibration of the ABS for medium/high grip surfaces, and by integrating the ABS control logic with that of the E-Diff 3 to ensure a more accurate estimate of the vehicle speed and hence better braking torque control, as well as enhanced vehicle stability.
The interior, designed in-house, reinterprets Ferrari’s traditional sports car interior in an innovative and functional way. The interior reflects the design rigour of the exterior of the car, with clean, uncluttered forms that highlight the new driver-oriented cockpit inspired by the racing world. Radically new and intuitive ergonomics see the driver set in the centre of a simple, streamlined lay-out. The upper and lower surfaces of the dashboard are trimmed in leather while the instrument binnacle sits atop an aluminium insert that forms a single, structural element housing the satellite pods and secondary commands. The original shape of the air vents was inspired by the design of Formula 1 exhaust chimneys in use up until a few years ago. The slim and minimalist centre console features a sculpted aluminium casting which houses the F1 panel. This panel includes the Launch Control along with the secondary gearbox controls for reverse and auto settings. There is also a leather-trimmed ergonomic wrist support for actioning the F1 panel buttons and the electric window lifts. The console also includes two Alcantara-trimmed storage trays for small oddments. The door panel is fitted with side airbags and its simple sleek lines are enhanced by the fact that the demisting vents for the side windows are now positioned on the corners of the dash. There is additional oddments storage space in the soft leather pocket at the bottom of the door
Working closely with the Ferrari Styling Centre, the engineers have reinterpreted the positioning of the major commands to provide a truly driver-oriented cockpit. All main controls are now located directly on the steering wheel, while secondary functions are set in two satellite pods either side of the dash and the panel ahead of the driver includes comprehensive instrument displays. These solutions represent an important safety aspect, enabling the driver to concentrate fully on driving.
In a radical move that emphasises the vicinity of Ferrari’s road cars to its F1 cars, the steering-column mounted stalks have been eliminated and all the major commands are now on the steering wheel for maximum vehicle control at all times. The 458 Italia is equipped with a Racing manettino switch which is biased towards more sporting set-ups, giving the driver a wider selection of track-oriented electronic control parameters. In fact the F430’s ICE setting has been dropped in favour of CT-Off which de-activates the traction control while maintaining the stability control.
The right-hand satellite pod on the dash incorporates controls for the infotainment, while the one on the left controls the Vehicle Dynamic Assistance display on the left-hand TFT screen. 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.
Engine 4499cc (94x81mm) 90deg V8 32v dohc (per bank) with 570bhp @ 9,000rpm and 540Nm @ 6,000rpm Suspension front : double wishbones and coil springs
rear : multilink
Adaptive damping with electronic control.
235/35-20 (front) and 295/35-20 (rear) tyres
wheelbase : 2650mm
track (front/rear) : 1672mm / 1606mm
Brakes ventilated discs all round with Brembo callipers, servo assistance and ABS
disc diameter front / rear : 398mm / 360mm
Transmission 7 speed duel dry clutch F1 style Steering rack and pinion with power assistance. Weight (kerb) 1380kg
distribution front / rear : 42% / 58%
Dimensions Length / width / height (mm) : 4527 / 1937 / 1213
model max speed 0-100 km/h 0-1000m ave fuel cons CO2 emissions 458 Italia 325 kmh 3.4 sec 20.3 sec 13.3 l/100km 307 g/km
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