Following the path forged by its predecessors the 360 Challenge Stradale and the iconic 430 Scuderia, the company revealed the 2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale which not only serves as the definite successor to the fore-mentioned models, but also pushes the 458’s limits into new levels of performance and technology especially against similar models from Lamborghini and other rivals. The exterior styling of the Speciale retains much of the base 458 Italia’s sensuous character which should please fans that first fell in love with the car when it was unveiled back in 2009. However, Ferrari has enhanced the car’s aerodynamic profile by outfitting the Speciale with front and rear adjustable spoilers that work together to give the Speciale the honor of being the most aerodynamic mass production Ferrari model the company has ever produced. The front fascia has also been slightly tweaked to give the Speciale a much more purposeful face, while the rear features a new dual exhaust system (a subtle nod to the 430 Scuderia) and which replaces the base car’s three pipe arraignment and improves the car’s already impressive soundtrack.
The interior also retains much of the 458’s basic layout but like its formidable ancestors, Ferrari stylists have removed many of the base car’s equipment in lieu of race friendly materials such as carbon fiber accents, exposed metal trim pieces, as well as swaths of Alcantara and other high quality materials which help trim precious weight while also upping the style factor at the same time. Despite the company releasing only one lone image of the interior, look for the Speciale to also feature reworked seats which should offer occupants the desired level of support and comfort needed for rigorous track work.
Performance for the Speciale comes from the familiar high revving 4.5 liter V8 that see’s duty in other 458 models but revised tuning by Ferrari engineers has increased horsepower slightly to 596 horsepower (a gain of 34 horses) while torque remains unchanged at 398 lb-ft. This may seem like only a small increase in performance (especially against rivals such as the more powerful Gallardo SuperLeggera), but Ferrari engineers have also cleaved 430 lbs of excess flab from the car which translates into about 4.77 pounds per horsepower and is on par with other rivals in its exclusive vehicle segment. This figure along with the revised aerodynamics, allow the Speciale to make the sprint to 62 mph in a blistering 3.0 seconds flat while 124 mph rockets by in an equally swift 9.1 seconds.
To make sure that the car can also carve corners just as easily as it does quarter mile times, the Speciale comes equipped with the company’s Side slip Angle Control System (otherwise known as SSC). SSC monitors the car’s angle of slip versus its predicted path of travel and works together with the traction control and electronically operated limited slip differential to distribute torque evenly between the rear wheels to prevent the car from going off course and ensure that drivers of varying skill levels can wield the car safely on and off the track. Specially developed Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires round out the handling tweaks and provide occupants with exceptional levels of grip as well as doing a good job of keeping the extra ponies under control.
Look for the 2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale to make its official debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show with the first production units arriving in Ferrari showrooms here in the U.S. sometime next year. Pricing has not been officially released as of yet, but look for the Speciale to command a considerable premium over the already-expensive 458 Italia when it eventually goes on sale.