As the first Ferrari dealership opens in Northern Ireland, we get behind the wheel of the 458. It will set you back £178,526 but the experience will live on writes Laura Keane
What is it? Powered by a 570bhp 4.5-litre V8 petrol engine, this Italian Stallion goes from 0-62mph in a mere 3.4 seconds and has a top speed of 202 mph
First impressions of the new Ferrari 458? The exterior is aerodynamically impressive, it certainly has presence. While the front will grow on you, I don’t know what Ferrari was thinking with the rear which is a bit akin to a preying mantis.
What about the interior? Immediately I fell in love with the leather stitched and plush velour interior, which is angled towards the driver. The seats aren’t as comfortable as I’d like and I found the lumbar support too excessive. The steering wheel has all major controls on it, including buttons for the indicator and wipers which are honestly, a bit fiddly. There are also different modes on the wheel, for example, in RACE mode, the dash changes to show you information like your fastest lap times, how hot the tyres are etc. Your rear view mirror is taken up the most beautiful sight you could ever see – a V8 powerhouse. And what a sound it makes
And on the road?
Ferrari 458 and the city: Disappointingly, there is no manual option with the 458 – instead Ferrari have opted for a F1 7 speed, dual clutch flappy paddle system which I was a bit sceptical about and rightly so, in traffic, there is a rather annoying ‘kangaroo’ type effect so best to opt for the auto button when keeping in lower gears.
Ferrari 458 and the open road: However, on the open road this system really comes into its own. There is no lag between shifts; power is fed through instantaneously and smoothly, continuing to pull all the way up through the gears. Another downside to the paddles is that it is extremely difficult to change gear when you are steering hard at the same time as they don’t move with the wheel, so you have to make that adjustment with your hands. Handling wise, the steering is short, sharp but heavy and the traction and torque are phenomenal. If you want to unsettle the car it is quite easy to do so even at low speeds of 40 mph, but it’s all very controllable. The suspension is stiff but not uncomfortable. The brakes are superb, with whiplash type severity. This car is quick, with a top speed of 202mph and a sequential red dot, LED gauge on the top of the wheel egging you on to rev it out more – you can easily find yourself in licence losing territory before you even blink.
How Much? It’s a steal at £178,526
How Loud? Check out the engine tune
3 words to describe the Ferrari 458: Exhilarating; Stylish; Dynamic
27th September, 2013