Join Date: Oct 2007
Ferrari Life Posts: 3,996
Test drive 458 Italia
Today, I testdrove the 458 Italia from my Ferrari dealer for a full hour over Autobahn and curvy hillside landscape.
My impression in short: Spectacular!
The car I drove had black sportseats. When entering the car first I realised the very nice smell of leather. All instruments are neat together and easy to overlook. The Sports-seats are very comfortable although a touch softer than the sportseats from the Scuderia. One may need to adapt to the fact that the side lamps are activated within the steering wheel, left/right you touch to blink and you touch a second time to stop the blinking. Side mirrors are way lower outside the doors than on the Scud but very easy to follow.
I started the engine and was very impressed about the "low" noise. Its a deep grumbling, more similar to the 550 than to the 360 (to compare its characteristics). I started driving thru the city with lots of traffic. Here the car is to drive like a Mercedes E class, silent, comfortable, good front and side overview, not so to the back but I did not expect this anyway. Looking out front to the bonnet on each side the front wheel wells (is this word correct) are higher than thos of the 430, at least they seem so as the middle part of the bonnet is probably flatter. The car drives effortless and easy. (Women will love this car) Steering is easy and perfect, like the mentioned "E" class. Gearchange was on "Automatic"
After that the engine warmed up and I went to the Autobahn and started to gearchange manually. This new double-clutch gearchanging is phenomenally fast. There is absolut no movement of the drivers head while gear-changing (The hammer man of the Scud is gone !) To test the torque I went several times from 50 km to 130 km in the 7th gear no problem. I'm sure this car will beat almost all american "massiv torque" cars. Driving at 90-100miles but being steady on the gaz, you hardly can hear the engine, really its a Mercedes when treating the gaz smooth. But as soon as one changes the pressure, the noise gets "almost" the same as on the Scud. Also when taking the foot from the gaz, the deceleration forces are very huge, like on the Scud (Boxer will know what I mean)
After that I left the Autobahn and went to a "hilly" road over fields and thru forrests. First I stop the car, checked oil and water Temp and then started without the launch control hillwise up from first gear with...pedal down! Now this is the very most impressive thing. The car accelerated so fast that you have hardly time to gearchange. The higher rpm's up to 9'000 are clearly once more a level up over the Scud. But again the acceleration is phenomenal! I must admit I have not eaten anything today and went to test this accelartion with a empty stomach. When stroming from 0 to...!?. I had to
stop because I felt like I must throwout. This is no joke. I had to wait for a minute or 2 until my stomach was settled. I then did it again and this time was prepared (kind of). The acceleration is blingingly fast, and while this car had winter-tires on it, while fully acceleration the cars back axle was trying to find grip, going slighlty to the left then to the right but never uncontrolled. Heading to the first curve the suspension system is very, very straight, no whipping, not correcting, straight and clear. Steering is extremly exact. But the power is out of this world (for a street car). I understand that there are cars more powerfull but the ability to bring this power and control thru engine, gearbox suspension system and steering to the road must be nowwhere so seemingless as with the 458 Italia. This car is fast like a blizzard and dangerously enough you feel like always being in 100% control.
When moving down the hill I tested the brakes, which felt equivalent great like on the Scud.
Its unbelievable that THIS is the "basic" Ferrari starter 8 cylinder car. This car is way above everything from Audi, Porsche, Aston or what else. Looking at the price, the car is very, very competitive. If I would be in for a first time sportcar buyer with the means to spend 190'-200' Euros, I would buy this car and forget anything else for a long, long time.
I like to add that besides the big pile of terrific arguments for the 458 Italia, I personally see only 2 disadvantages with it:
1. The car (sorry) is almost to perfect. (I know is a dumb saying). The car does not transmit any mechanical senses/feelings to the driver. This I missed a little and in that sense the Scud does better.
2. The disadvantage of price depreciation over time (I know, maybe a dumb argument as well, since the plus side is so enormeous)
Hope to have kicked you all out there to call your dealers to go and have a try as well in the new, very great 458 Italia.