1999 355 has 380HP. Current 458 has 562HP. Difference over the 10 years is 182HP. So if that continues 562 + 182 is 744HP.
The differences are less with the V12's. 1999 550 has 485HP and the 599 has 611HP. Thats only 126HP difference.
Your math is a bit off - you should look at the year of introduction, which is 1994 for 355, 1996 for 550, 2007 for 599 and 2009 for 458. It works out at 12 bhp increase per year for V8s and 11.5 for V12s, so very similar.
As for the madness of it all - well I think that that speed is fun when enjoyed responsibly. Just like alcohol, women, ...life in general when you come to think of it. No-one needs a car that is quicker than my first Ferrari, a 550. But then no-one needs a car that is quicker than a 308 either. For me, it is the driving experience that counts. Therefore I've gone to classics after buying my 550: just as much fun at slower speeds.
But having said that - I love the 458 Italia and am seriously thinking of buying one. The 458 is 30% quicker to 60mph, and 30% quicker to 120mph than my 550.
Yes - 30%! That is an amazing speed increase! Do you need it? No. Is it fun? Yes - but only because the car handles so well. For me, the point of any car is that it must be fun to drive. The speed at which it does it is a largely irrelevant.
It does leave you to wonder where it will all end. Personally, I think that the 458's limit is more than quick enough for me. I hope that manufacturers will start concentrating on the pure driving experience rather than just accelleration numbers. If we can make cars lighter, then we do not need all the power. But the primary "problem" is grip - everyone wants the new model to go 'round the 'Ring quicker than the previous model. For this to happen, you need phenomenal cornering speeds, and this is where the danger lies. Unexpected oversteer at 100mph is usually not catchable, whereas at 50mph it would be. The same is true for Formula 1 - driver's skill is becoming more irrelevant because of grip levels, which is why the FIA regulations have made cars slower and slower over the years trying to stop technology's advances to a certain extent. If manufacturers would be left to implement all the F1 technology of the last 10 years, the cars would be 10 - 20 seconds a lap quicker. But needing less input from the driver.
I like driving. The mechanics of it, the feeling of controlling the machine. If I am not involved, I don't enjoy it so much. So for me, I will mostly concentrate on my classics and I have a feeling that trend will continue into the future - I might very easily end up in a 1935 Bugatti simply because I can drive it sideways, enjoy myself, and still not register on the radar gun.
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