The last of its kind, and Maranello on peak form


AS FERRARI’S FINAL NATURALLY ASPIRATED V8 model, the 458 is undoubtedl­y destined for classic status. Of course, the Speciale is the ultimate, but the lesser Italia is an outstandin­g supercar in its own right. At its launch in 2009 it offered true next-generation performanc­e, with a leap in output and technology over its F430 predecesso­r, and its abilities are standing the test of time as well as its Pininfarin­a styling.

Powered by the 4.5-litre flat-plane-crank F136 V8, 562bhp and 398lb ft of torque are sent to the rear axle for a 3.4sec 0-62mph time and 202mph top speed. Not only is it potent in a straight line, but the 458 offers some of the finest dynamics in a car of its kind – a quicker lap around Ferrari’s Fiorano test track than the hardcore 430 Scuderia is all the proof you need.

Finely honed chassis and relatively low 1485kg kerb weight aside, one of the 458’s most notable features was its new sevenspeed dual-clutch transmissi­on. Developed by German firm Getrag as its very first DCT, the Powershift 7DCL750 was a groundbrea­king piece of engineerin­g, offering almost zero latency between shifts (sub-50 millisecon­ds) for optimum balance and pace. Small wonder the same unit was later adopted, in different states of tune, by the likes of the Mercedes-amg SLS and GT and even the V6-powered Ford GT.

A cutting-edge electronic differenti­al and F1-trac stability control also help the 458 achieve its incredible performanc­e, as does bodywork capable of generating 360kg of downforce.

There’s active aero too – the winglets in the front air intakes drop by 20mm at speed to reduce turbulence and increase efficiency.

The 458 has eventually proven to be reliable, but immediatel­y after its launch numerous examples caught alight due to a poorly designed heat shield in the rear wheelarch. However, all cars with this component were swiftly recalled to resolve the problem. Occasional leaky dampers, sticking interior buttons, rippling dashboard leather and arch corrosion are items to look out for, but they needn’t be deal-breakers.

Pre-2011 examples have been known to develop gearbox glitches, but these are largely limited to electrical issues that can be solved with a simple software recalibrat­ion. The standard-fit carbon-ceramic discs are pricey to replace at £10k a set, so keep an eye out for excessive wear. Ensure the correct tyre sizes are fitted too, as the 458’s traction control system is prone to throwing numerous error codes without them. The F136 engine, meanwhile, is tried and tested with very few issues to note; its lack of cambelts also helps keep servicing costs down.

Around £115,000 is enough to secure a tidy early Italia. Consider that most examples cost their first owner in the region of £200,000 once options had been added and that figure looks even more appealing. An unmolested, well-specced car with around 20,000 miles could be yours for the £135,000 mark, or if you’d prefer a Spider, complete with its complex retractabl­e aluminium hard-top, one could be yours from £140,000.

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