Ferrari 458 Speciale to debut at Frankfurt motor showTue, 20 Aug 2013 00:00:00 -0700
Update: Preview video added below, and yes, you can hear the car's engine -- barely -- through the thumping movie trailer-like music.
A new Prancing Horse is set to go public at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show: Ferrari will use the event to introduce the 458 Speciale, which will join the 458 Italia and 458 Spider at the lower end of Ferrari's range.
Visually, the 2,844 lb., mid-engined 458 Speciale doesn't depart too much from the 458 Italia, though the new model gets a more aggressive fascia and a massive hood duct that -- when coupled with an apparently F1-inspired interior -- hints at the no-nonsense sporting purpose of the car.
A giant hood duct and a more aggressive front fascia set the 458 Speciale apart from the rest of the lineup.
Ferrari is making a big deal about the active aerodynamics found at the front and rear; we're sure they'll help keep the 458 Speciale from going airborne at the track, but similar systems have been employed on earlier 458s.
What we really care about -- and what makes a Ferrari a Ferrari in the first place -- is the engine. The 458 Speciale's naturally aspirated 90-degree, 4.5-liter V8 should crank out 596 hp at a screaming 9,000 rpm (compared to the run-of-the-mill 458's 562 hp); 398 lb-ft of torque will be available at 6,000 rpm.
Crunch the numbers and it all works out to 133 hp/liter -- a specific output Ferrari says is the highest for a non-forced induction road-going production vehicle. The Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0's 500-hp flat-six seems to be the closest contender with a specific output of 125.1 hp/liter; the 458 Italia trails slightly at 125 hp/liter.
Like the exterior, the interior seems to suggest the no-nonsense sporting intent of the 458 Speciale.
We have no reason to suspect that a manual transmission is in the cards, so buyers will either have to accept the snappy seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox found in other 458s or start looking for a different car. Even so, if the 458 Speciale can top the performance of the 458 Italia, we doubt anyone will spend too long poring over the spec sheet.
Look for more information on the Ferrari 458 Special as the 2013 Frankfurt motor show approaches.
By Graham Kozak