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Ferrari 458 Italia: Farewell to a legend


THERE have been some blindingly brilliant - as opposed to merely great - Ferraris over the past few decades and the 458 is one of them.

Indeed, since the 458 Italia was officially unveiled in 2009, it has scooped truckloads of awards. And the 458 Spider - which made it onto our market in 2012 - has garnered titles such as the 2014 Car Magazine Best Buys Awards, as well as being named the 2011 Cabrio of the Year by Top Gear Magazine (UK).

Now it's not hard to understand why and it's also hard to not write rapturously about this machine, which truly does conspire to be so much more than a conglomeration of inanimate elements, brimming as it does with passion and soul.

Just the other week I reacquainted myself with the fixed-top 458 Italia, arching along KZN's winter roads, its award-winning, mid-mounted 4 499cc V8 singing a rapturous song, with the entire car seeming to live and breathe. Output? Figure on 425kW at a wailing, whooping 9 000rpm, and 540Nm of torque at 6 000rpm, with lightning-fast gearshifts coming courtesy of a dual-clutch seven-speed F1 'box.

And yet, it's a surprisingly user-friendly beast - for a supercar - with the entire package being beautifully assembled. The days when Ferraris were apparently engines with the rest being an afterthought - albeit a lovely afterthought - are long gone.

It was also something of a swansong. Production of the 458 recently ceased - and this machine will be replaced on our market come early 2016 by the 488 GTB. A machine that forms part of Ferrari's new swing towards turbo technology, and a machine that, as impossible as it might sound, is even more achingly beautiful than the 458, as well as substantially more potent.

We look forward to telling you all about this Maranello missile in the fullness of time. But official dealers Scuderia South Africa do still have a few 458 units available. You'll pay R4 079 000 for the Italia here, R4 610 000 for the Spider and R4 977 500 for the Speciale.

Now it'd be silly to pretend that that's not a lot of money. But you are getting, well, an automotive legend - and while the term "legend" is grossly overused in modern marketing, the 458 is precisely that.

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