The first thing that is noticeable about the Ferrari 458 Italia when you first catch a glimpse of one is that it is a much bolder, different design over the F430 than the F430 was over the 360 Modena. There are one or two design homages paid too, especially from the likes of the Enzo and the simply stunning one off Pininfarina designed P4/5.
There are things you immediately notice when you climb in and start one up as well. Firstly, it is much more dignified when you start the engine up. It doesn't scream into life and blow out all the neighbours windows. The engine catches and then quickly settles into a gentle tickover. It will turn the heads of peopl walking down the street but it won't wake the neighbours up.
The Ferrari 458 Italia shares some things with the Ferrari California. Most noticably when you move off you find that the gearbox is much nicer than the one in the F430. The Italia's is the same gearbox that is in the California, being a 7 speed dual clutch system which makes the car much easier to drive, especially in traffic. It seems though that these gearboxes are getting so good, it will be the only gearbox option on the 458 Italia.
The engine is the same block as used in the California too, except it takes on different characteristics after the aluminum has been cast. The stroke has been increased to give 4.5 litres instead of 4.3 and it is now good for 9000 revs and 562 bhp. That's 125 bhp per litre. And there are no turbo's or superchargers involved here. That's also a 70 bhp increase over the ordinary F430 but despite this, the 458 Italia is more economical and produces less CO2.
So from that 562 bhp we're looking at a top speed of 202 mph and a blistering 0-60 time of 3.4 seconds. That means that the new Ferrari 458 Italia will hit the same top speed as a Lamborghini Gallardo, it is quicker by 0.3 seconds to 60 and you will go 2 extra miles on a tank of fuel. Move over Lambo, the king is back.