The Ferrari 458 Italia Spider Sports Car

The Ferrari 458 Italia Spider – A close look at this sports car performance, technical data, features, comparing rivals, history, used prices

from Classic to Modern

THE CAR

The 458 Spider sports car, also referred to as the Ferrari 458 Italia Spider, was introduced in 2011 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and priced at $257,000.

It was the convertible version of the 458 Italia, and featured a unique retractable hardtop.

This was, in essence, a roadster that replaced the conventional soft top with an automatically operated hardtop, made entirely of aluminium, which stored itself away in front of the engine bay in as little as 14 seconds, and without affecting the car’s aerodynamics. The coefficient of drag remained at 0.33.

The engine cover of the 458 Italia was modified to contain this new system, which actually weighed 25 kg less than that of the soft top used in the F430 Spider.

An additional benefit was that extra space was created behind the seats in order to store luggage, etc.

Externally, this sports car looked very similar to the coupe variant, with the front section remaining unchanged, whilst the rear area received minor styling changes to maximise the flow of air to the engine’s cooling ducts and oil cooler.

A further innovation was that the 458 Spider was fitted with a large, adjustable, electrically operated wind break, which was designed to slow down and dissipate the airflow throughout the cockpit so that conversation between the occupants was not affected, even at high speed.

The Spider weighed in at 3153 lbs, slightly heavier than the 3042 lbs of the 458 Italia.

It had an aluminium body on an aluminium chassis which had been strengthened in order to withstand the additional stresses consistent with the removal of the roof section.

It used rear wheel drive, with 20 inch wheels, and carbon ceramic ventilated and drilled disc brakes.

There was a steering wheel mounted Manettino switch which controlled the limited slip differential (E-Diff), the traction control (F1-Trac), ABS, dampers and transmission, all activated electronically.

THE ENGINE

The 458 Spider was powered by the same 4.5 litre, V8 mid-engine, with the new direct fuel injection as used in the 458 Italia.

It produced the same 0-60 mph time of 3.3 secs, whilst the top speed was 3 mph slower at 199 mph.

It had a huge 12.5:1 compression, and used a seven speed Getrag F1-style paddle shift gearbox with a dual clutch.

The Spider produced 570 bhp at 9000 rpm (the red line), and 398 ft/lbs of torque at 6000 rpm, with most being on tap down at 3250 rpm.

Overall fuel consumption was 21 mpg. Technical data:

COMPETITION

Typical of the competition of the Ferrari 458 Italia Spider were the following sports cars: Audi R8 GT Spider, and Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster. Ferrari performance:

SPORTS CARS FOR SALE

A Ferrari 458 Italia Spider in good condition could fetch around $300,000, whilst an example in showroom condition could command up to $525,000.

Another supercar from Ferrari.

This marks the end of my Review of the Ferrari 458 Italia Spider sports car.

The Ferrari 458 Italia Sports Car

The Ferrari 458 Italia – A close look at this sports car performance, technical data, features, comparing rivals, history, used prices

from Classic to Modern

THE CAR

The Ferrari 458 sports car, a two seater Berlinetta, also designated the 458 Italia, was introduced at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show with a price tag of $275,000.

It was the natural successor to the successful F430 which was discontinued earlier that year.

As was the case with the F430, it retained E-Diff, the electronic limited slip differential, and F1-Trac, the electronic traction control system, plus electronic ABS and dampers, all connected to the Manettino switch on the steering wheel.

Between them, E-Diff and F1-Trac increased the cars cornering abilities and subsequent acceleration out of the corners by as much as 30% over that of its predecessors.

A unique feature of the 458 sports car was that the brakes were fitted with a function which caused the pads to just come into contact with the discs as soon as the car accelerated away.

The result was that the distance taken to stop the car, in conjunction with ABS and Carbon Ceramic brakes, ws noticeably improved, with 62 to zero mph in just 32.5 metres.

With body styling by Pininfarina, one interesting addition was that the front grille was fitted with small winglets which, as speed increased, began to change shape to reduce the cross section of the radiator intake, and so reduce drag.

In this way, airflow beneath the car was increased, and by the time it reached the rear diffuser, it had generated significant downforce.

Once again, the external styling emphasised the cars aerodynamic characteristics such that downforce was increased to 140 kg at 124 mph.

In common with racing cars, the steering wheel now contained a number of the controls that would normally be positioned on the dashboard, or on an antenna,

The rear of the car sported very distinctive triple exhaust pipes.

It used an aluminium body and chassis, with rear wheel drive on 20 inch wheels.

The slightly increased size and weight of the 458, compared with the F430, was more than countered by the engine’s additional output.

THE ENGINE

The 458 Italia sports car was powered by a 4.5 litre, V8 mid-engine, derived from the 4.2 litre, V8 unit specifically designed for Maserati following Ferrari’s acquisition of that company, and which was first used in the F430.

The engine developed 570 bhp at the redline of 9000 rpm, and 398 ft/lbs of torque at 6000 rpm, the majority of which was available around 3250 rpm.

It produced a top speed of 202 mph, a 0-60 mph time of 3.3 secs, and an overall fuel consumption of 21 mpg.

A feature of this engine was that it was fitted with direct fuel injection, the first time such a system had been applied to a mid-engine unit.

Since the classic H-gate manual gearbox was not offered as an alternative, it was only fitted with a seven speed Getrag sequential unit, which could change gears in 40 milliseconds.

It used dry sump lubrication, and employed a flat plane crankshaft to prevent uneven firing into the exhaust manifolds.

Compared with the F430, the compression was increased from 11.3 to a huge 12.5:1.

Technical Data:

COMPETITION

Typical competitors for the Ferrari 458 Italia included the following sports cars: Audi R8GT, Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4, and Aston Martin DBS. Ferrari performance:

SPORTS CARS FOR SALE

A Ferrari 458 Italia sports car in good condition would fetch around $225,000, whilst one in showroom condition would command anything up to $350,000.

This marks the end of my Review of the Ferrari 458 Italia sports car.

The Ferrari 348 TB and TS Sports Car

The Ferrari 348 – A close look at this classic sports car’s performance, technical data, features, comparing rivals, history, used prices

from Classic to Modern

THE CAR

The Ferrari 348 TB

The Ferrari 348 TB sports car, launched in 1989, was the replacement for the 328 and 308 Series which were, over a period of some fourteen years, amongst the best selling sports cars produced by Ferrari.

The 348 was offered as both a TB Berlinetta coupe, and a Targa-style TS variant, where the “T” referred to the fact that the gearbox was positioned transversely.

In line with the nomenclature of its predecessors, the “34” in the car’s name referred to the engine capacity, whilst the “8” indicated the number of cylinders.

The 348 TB represented the very first model to be announced since the death of the Ferrari founder in 1988.

The body styling was by Pininfarina, and exhibited a distinct similarity to the Ferrari Testarossa, especially in relation to the side air intakes, and the rectangular-shaped rear lights.

It used a monocoque chassis to which was bolted the engine sub-frame for ease of engine removal during maintenance. Both were made of steel, as were the body panels.

In previous front radiator models, the coolant hoses ran under the cabin. Now, with the 348, both oil and coolant radiators were moved to the sides, so that it was easier to keep the cabin cool.

Consequently, the radiator grille at the front now served no useful purpose apart from retaining the traditional image of the car’s front section.

Parts of the suspension were designed so that the ride height could be adjusted to the prevailing conditions.

The interior was well appointed, and included air conditioning, leather seats with adjustable head supports, electrically operated windows, and heated door mirrors.

It had vacuum assisted vented disc brakes all round and linked to ABS, as well as two Bosch Motronic 2.5 engine control units.

In later models, the battery was moved to the left front wing in order to produce improved weight distribution.

When production ended in 1995, a total of 2,895 units of the 348 TB had been built.

The Ferrari 348 TS

Introduced alongside the 348 TB in 1989 was the 348 TS sports car, with a Targa top, in which the specification of both was identical.

By 1995, when production ended, 4,230 units of the 348 TS were built.

THE ENGINE

Both variants were powered by a mid-engined, double overhead cam, V8 unit, with four valves per cylinder, that was previously fitted to the 288 GTO.

It was positioned lengthwise, with a transverse gearbox, which produced a very balanced ad stable arrangement.

It was fitted with a Bosch Motronic unit, which controlled both fuel injection and the ignition system, a five bearing crankshaft, and a compression ratio of 10.4:1.

The 348 TB developed 300 bhp at 7000 rpm (with the redline at 7500 rpm), and 229 ft/lbs of torque at 4000 rpm.

Fitted with a five speed manual all synchromesh gearbox, it produced a top speed of 171 mph, and a 0-60 mph time of 6.0 secs.

It used dry sump lubrication in order to eliminate oil starvation when driven or cornering hard.

THE COMPETITION

The Ferrari 348’s immediate competition consisted of: Porsche 964 Carrera, TVR Griffith, and Lotus Esprit Sport 300. Ferrari performance:

SPORTS CARS FOR SALE

On the second hand market, a Ferrari 348 TB sports car in excellent condition sold at auction for nearly $75,000.

On the other hand, a Ferrari 348 TS in good condition would fetch $50,000, whilst a showroom example would command $85,000.

More classic cars from Ferrari.

This marks the end of my Review of the Ferrari 348 TB and TS sports car