In conjunction with the first ever Ferrari Racing Days event in Malaysia, the Ferrari 458 Speciale was launched on Friday by the official importer of Ferrari, Naza Italia in Sepang. Organized by Ferrari Far East, Ferrari Racing Days 2014 is a three-day event from February 21 to 23, which features the first round of the Ferrari APAC Challenge 2014. However, the highlight on Friday was the launching of Ferrari 458 Speciale.
Many of you may think this is just a Ferrari 458 Italia with some fancy bodykit and awesome-looking go faster stripe. Well, you are wrong. Firstly, there are 20 new styling features to begin with. This one as what the Italians call it, is ‘Speciale’. Much like if you are buying a ‘Ramlee Burger Special’, you expect it to be special. This burger is powered by the most powerful naturally aspirated V8 engine ever made. Derived from the same engine as the Italia, Ferrari managed to churn out 597 horsepower from this baby. That’s 35 horses more than the standard 458 Italia! Which translate to 133hp per liter, and that’s a world record for a road going naturally aspirated engine. Maximum torque figure maintains at 540Nm. It takes off from 0 to 100kph in 3 seconds flat!
The recipe behind this massive power from the naturally aspirated V8 engine is the improved combustion efficiency. Compression ratio in the Speciale has been increased to 14:1, from 12.5:1 in the standard 458 Italia. With this, Ferrari has achieved the highest compression ratio in a naturally aspirated V8 engine, hence the extra horses.
Before I go into the high-tech aerodynamics, let’s discuss the weight-loss programme. Ferrari shed a total of 90kg of weight from the Italia to create the fittest 458. By removing some carpets, steels, comfort and certain basic functionality. It has 20kg lighter chassis and bodyshell, has saved 8kg from engine weight, 20kg from interior, 13kg from exterior and etc. With the 90kg of the dead weight removed, it changes the performance drastically.
One of the features that makes this Ferrari 458 Speciale really unique is the Side Slip-angle Control or SSC. Fitted for the first time in a Ferrari, it allows the driver to go sideways when exiting a corner while the car calculates the car angle and maintaining traction control at the same time to ensure nothing goes wrong. License to go sideways in a Ferrari! How cool is that!
Now, to the state-of-the-art aerodynamic engineering. There are a few new functions and design changes on the 458 Speciale that allows it to achieve the highest aerodynamic efficiency ever, at 1.50. The front of the car has a pair of vertial flaps and a horizontal flap that open when the car is going at the speed of more than 170kph. This allows better air flow which then reduces drag and eventually increases downforce for better grip.
There is a pair of aero fins on both sides of the car to increase downforce. At the back where the rear diffusser is, there are a tripel-flap mechanism that will be lowered to reduce drag and improve fuel efficiency. It retracts and back to the origianl position to increase vehicle downforce.
When asked if the numbers on the production units will be limited and to how many, Managing Director of Ferrari Far East, Giuseppe Cattaneo said, the production units will not be limited. However, he added that, since the Speciale is a performance breed of the 458, orders will not be overwhelming as many will still opt for the standard 458 Italia.
Till the day of the launch, there have been 20 orders in Malaysia for the special one. According the Naza Italia, potential customers will be flown to Ferrari HQ in Maranello for test drive session. The price of the Ferrari 458 Speciale is RM1,238,800. And that is before the duties. Knowing how Malaysia’s automotive scene works, the final price for the Speciale to go on Malaysia roads will be ‘speciale’, a whopper! Watch the videos below to learn more on how Ferrari made an even better car than the already superb 458 Italia.