Ferrari 458 Speciale is a prancing horse with more attitude – and power

Ferrari 458 Speciale front three quarter

Improving the Ferrari 458 Italia is akin to improving on perfection, but that hasn’t stopped Maranello from trying. Ferrari has unveiled the 458 Speciale, a hardcore version of its already stellar entry-level supercar.

As with previous Ferrari performance specials, such as the 360 Challenge Stradale and 430 Scuderia, the 458 Speciale differentiates itself from lesser cars with less weight and more tech.

The 458’s 4.5-liter V8 has been massaged to produce 597 horsepower at an absurd 9,000 rpm and 398 pound-feet of torque at 6,000 rpm. The stock 458 has 562 hp and the same 398 lb-ft. Still, the 458 Speciale is the most powerful naturally-aspirated V8 Ferrari road car ever made.

The Speciale has gone a diet and dry curb weight is now 2,843 pounds; down from 3,274 pounds. That will make the it much more lively.

Ferrari says the Speciale will do 0 to 62 mph in 3.0 seconds and 0 to 124 mph in 9.1 seconds. It also clocked a 1:23.5 second lap around Ferrari’s Fiorano test track, beating a stock 458 by 1.5 seconds.

The 458 Speciale also features a few aerodynamic tweaks. Front and rear movable flaps help balance downforce and drag, keeping the car slippery while allowing for maximum grip. The add-ons also visually link the Speciale to Ferrari’s flagship LaFerrari hybrid.

There’s also a side-slip angle control system that monitors the car’s speed, grip, and other parameters to allow for a bit of sideways action without sending the driver headlong into a tree. To keep things under control, the system modulates engine power and brakes individual wheels.

It may seem like yet another electronic aid meant to turn driving into a videogame, but slip angle control just might save a few Ferrari drivers who have more money than driving talent.

Why build a hardcore version of the 458? Ferrari knows it has customers that care more about performance than posing. The Speciale isn’t concerned with luxury or daily drivability; it’s more elemental.

The Ferrari 458 Speciale will make its first public appearance at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show in September, and will go on sale sometime after that. If you’re idea of Sunday driving involves a helmet and fire suit, this might be the car for you.

What do you think of the Ferrari 458 Speciale?  Are you going to buy a couple of them? Tell us in the comments.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Plant-based shoes and a ukulele learning aid

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Kia draws inspiration from Greek mythology to create a crossover for millennials

Kia will expand its global portfolio of crossovers and SUVs when it unveils a model named Seltos on June 20, 2019. Developed for milennials, the Seltos is a small, high-tech model named after the son of Hercules.

Don’t let the SUV bodies fool you, BMW’s X3 M and X4 M are bona fide M cars

BMW is launching the first M versions of its X3 and X4. The 2020 X3 M and X4 M Competition pack a new 503-horsepower 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-six and BMW’s usual array of performance tech.

After years of Le Mans misfortune, Toyota becomes impossible to beat

Toyota scored a one-two finish at the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans, its second win a row at the legendary French race. Toyota is the first Japanese automaker to win Le Mans twice, but its wins came without any real competition.

Uber drivers reportedly triggering higher fares through Surge Club

Uber drivers are reportedly participating in a so-called Surge Club to artificially trigger higher fares. Many drivers said that they do not want to join the shady practice, but they are forced to do so due to pay cuts.

Intel hates that your car is dumber than your phone. Here’s how they’ll fix it

Motorists are often underwhelmed and/or frustrated with their car's native infotainment system, so millions of them rely on Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Intel is helping Google and Volvo change that by bringing phone-like tech to the…

Fisker wants to make sure Tesla’s Model Y isn’t in a class of one when it lands

Fisker Inc. plans to launch an electric SUV with a base price of under $40,000, and a range of around 300 miles in 2021. The unnamed vehicle could compete with the Tesla Model Y, if it ever gets into production.

Could a high-performance Nissan Leaf steal the mighty GT-R’s lunch money?

Nissan developed the electric Leaf with range and practicality in mind, but the hatchback could lend its hardware to a high-performance flagship. One of Nissan's chief executives announced a four-motor, 850-hp model could arrive during the…

Forget turrets. Hummer could fight its next war in the electric SUV segment

General Motors is considering resurrecting the Hummer brand it axed in 2010 to make electric off-roaders. The plan hasn't been approved yet, and it risks alienating some die-hard Hummer fans, but it makes sense on several levels.

This futuristic driverless pod will soon be delivering pizza in Texas

Pizza delivery using driverless pods is about to become a thing. Domino's has partnered with autonomous-tech specialist Nuro to use the futuristic pods for a trial delivery service starting later this year.

Flat-six makes a brief but triumphant return in Porsche’s hot-rodded 718 duo

Porsche unveiled a pair of 718-based sports cars that brazenly buck the industry's downsizing trend. The 718 Cayman GT4 and the 718 Spyder ditch the turbocharged flat-four in favor of a naturally aspirated, 4.0-liter flat-six rated at 414…

Waymo at last fires up the self-driving smarts of the Jaguar I-Pace

A year after inking a deal with Jaguar to use its I-Pace crossover for its self-driving program, Waymo has started testing the electric vehicle in autonomous mode with a view to adding it to its driverless ridesharing service.

All the haters are wrong: The new Acura NSX is just like the original NSX

Journalists and enthusiasts have bemoaned the new Acura NSX for not living up to the original car’s greatness. They say this new NSX’s engine is too small, that it’s too complicated, and that it lacks character. Here’s why they’re…

Dainese Smart Jacket vest airbag breaks new ground so you won’t get broken

Regardless of the type of motorcycle you ride, your body is in jeopardy when you travel. When you share the road with cars and trucks, personal protection is a concern, and Dainese just launched the Smart Jacket, a new airbag vest, to help.