Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ferrari announces F430 replacement.

Ferrari made it official. The replacement for the F430 will be called the 458 Italia. The car will not be revealed in the flesh, err metal, until the Frankfurt Motor Show in September but they have provided some renditions of what the car will look like along with details of what is under the skin.

The 458 Italia will be powered by a new 4.5L direct injection V8 producing 570Hp/398TQ routed through a 7 speed dual clutch gearbox like the one on the California convertible that debuted last year. No word on the option of a proper manual transmission.

The chassis will be all aluminum as was the F430 keeping the weight to just 3,042lbs. The results of this mean that the 458 should hit 60MPH in around 3.4 seconds and will top out at around 202MPH. All this while getting a combined 17.1 mpg US.

Ferrari's Press Release:

ITALIA - Ferrari's innovative new V8

The 458 Italia is the latest incarnation of the mid-rear engined berlinetta and will be unveiled at the next Frankfurt Motor Show

Maranello, July 28th 2009 – While it's true that every Ferrari is innovative by definition, it's equally true that in the course of the Prancing Horse's history, certain cars have marked a genuine departure from the current range. This is very much the case with the Ferrari 458 Italia, which is a massive leap forward from the company's previous mid-rear engined sports cars.

The new model is a synthesis of style, creative flair, passion and cutting-edge technology, characteristics for which Italy as a nation is well-known. For this reason Ferrari chose to add the name of its homeland to the traditional figure representing the displacement and number of cylinders.

The Ferrari 458 Italia is a completely new car from every point of view: engine, design, aerodynamics, handling, instrumentation and ergonomics, just to name a few.

A two-seater berlinetta, the Ferrari 458 Italia, as is now traditional for all Ferrari's road-going cars, benefits hugely from the company's Formula 1 experience. This is particularly evident in the speed and precision with which the car responds to driver inputs and in the attention focused on reducing internal friction in the engine for lower fuel consumption than the F430, despite the fact that both overall displacement and power have increased. However, Ferrari's track experience makes its presence felt in the 458 Italia not only in terms of pure technological transfer but also on a more emotional level, because of the strong emphasis on creating an almost symbiotic relationship between driver and car. The 458 Italia features an innovative driving environment with a new kind of steering wheel and dashboard that is the direct result of racing practice. Once again input from Michael Schumacher - who was involved from the very start of the 458 Italia project - played an invaluable part.

The Ferrari 458 Italia's Pininfarina design provides further evidence of the complete departure from the past that this new car hails. The Ferrari 458 Italia has a compact, aerodynamic shape, underscoring the concepts of simplicity, efficiency and lightness that inspired the project. As with every Ferrari, the car's styling has been very heavily influenced by the requirements for aerodynamic efficiency, as can be seen from the downforce of 140 kg at 200km/h generated by the new model. The front features a single opening for the front grille and side air intakes, with aerodynamic sections and profiles designed to direct air to the coolant radiators and the new flat underbody. The nose also sports small aeroelastic winglets which generate downforce and, as speed rises, deform to reduce the section of the radiator inlets and cut drag.

The new 4499 cc V8 is the first Ferrari direct injection engine to be mid-rear mounted. It has a very low piston compression height typical of racing engines which contributed to achieving its compression ratio of 12.5:1. Equipped with the traditional flat-plane crankshaft, the engine delivers 570 CV at 9000 rpm and, with an outstanding power output of 127 CV/litre, sets a new benchmark not only for the whole Ferrari range and the history of company, but also for the entire market segment. Maximum torque is 540 Nm at 6000 rpm, over 80 per cent of which is available from 3250 rpm. Specific torque is a record 120 Nm/litre. However, what is truly extraordinary is the amount of torque available while still maintaining high levels of power at low revs.

The car's soundtrack is also typical Ferrari, with an exciting, powerful growl emerging from the engine before it channels through to the exhaust's three rear tailpipes.

The 458 Italia is equipped with the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission which increases performance whilst providing very smooth shifts even at full throttle. The engineers have developed specific, sportier gear ratios to match the power and torque curves of the new V8, guaranteeing high torque even at lower engine speeds and allowing the car to reach its maximum speed in top gear.

This new Ferrari is also a major leap forward when it comes to cutting emissions. Despite the fact that the new engine is significantly more powerful than the V8s that preceded it, the Ferrari 458 Italia produces just 320 g/km of CO2 and fuel consumption is 13.7 l/100 km (combined cycle), the best in the entire segment.

The engineers also focused on weight reduction during the design phase for similar reasons. Consequently, the Ferrari 458 Italia has a dry weight of 1380 kg with a power-to-weight ratio of 2.42 kg/CV. Weight distribution is also optimal with 58 per cent over the rear axle. The result of the engineers' endeavours can be summed up in to two simple statistics which together perfectly encapsulate the Ferrari 458 Italia's exceptional performance: 0-100 km/h acceleration in under 3.4 seconds and a maximum speed in excess of 325 km/h.

For the new chassis, once more in aluminium, Maranello's engineers incorporated various types of advanced alloys along with aerospace industry-derived manufacturing and bonding techniques.

With regard to vehicle dynamics, the Ferrari 458 Italia's suspension features twin wishbones at the front and a multi-link set-up at the rear tuned for maximum roadholding and superlative handling. Along with a more direct steering ratio, the 458 Italia thus offers extremely rapid turn-in and body control whilst maintaining superior ride comfort.

The integration of the E-Diff and F1-Trac (now controlled by the same ECU) and their respective mappings is even greater, resulting in a 32 per cent increase in longitudinal acceleration out of corners compared to previous models. The evolution of the control logic, with even faster and more accurate calculation of levels of grip, ensures even greater roadholding, better handling and ease of control on the limit.

The same ECU also governs the high-performance ABS, providing even more precise control over the logic threshold and greater efficiency. The brakes also feature a prefill function whereby the pistons in the callipers move the pads into contact with the discs on lift off to minimise delay in the brakes being applied. This combined with the ABS has cut the 100-0 km/h braking distance to a mere 32.5 metres.

The Ferrari 458 Italia's interior is another area of the car that exalts its sporty personality. The driver is welcomed by a new layout and a revolutionary ergonomic interface where the main controls are all clustered on the steering wheel.

With the Ferrari 458 Italia, Maranello has brought a highly distinctive new car to its 8-cylinder range. The company now offers two models that share a common, race-derived DNA, both exceptionally sporty and fun to drive in true Ferrari tradition, but aimed at two very different kinds of client. While the Ferrari California was created for owners requiring a more versatile sports car with a practical edge, the 458 Italia is designed for owners for whom the priority is uncompromising on-road performance with occasional track day capability, but who still demand a car that is useable in day-to-day driving like all Ferrari's recent models.

Ferrari 458 Italia – Technical specifications


Length 4527 mm (178.2 in.)

Width 1937 mm (76.3 in.)

Height 1213 mm (47.8 in.)

Wheelbase 2650 mm (104.3 in.)

Dry weight 1380 kg (3042 lbs)*

Weight/power ratio 2,42 kg/CV (7.16 lbs/kW)

Weight distribution fr/r 42%/58%


Type V8 – 90°

Displacement 4499 cc (274.5 cu in.)

Maximum power 570 CV (425 kW)** @ 9000 rpm

Maximum torque 540 Nm (398 lbs/ft) @ 6000 rpm

Specific power output 127 CV/l

Compression ratio 12.5:1


Front 235/35 ZR20 8.5"

Rear 295/35 ZR20 10.5"


Maximum speed >325 km/h (>202 mph)

0-100 km/h

Fuel consumption + emissions

Fuel consumption*** 13.7 l/100 km

Emissions*** 320 g CO2/km


Dual-clutch, 7-speed F1


E-Diff3, F1-Trac, high-performance ABS

* With forged wheels and Racing seats

** Including 5 CV of ram effect

*** Combined cycle (ECE+EUDC)

Monday, July 27, 2009

July 2009 Dream Car of the Month - Maserati MC12

In 2004 Maserati (then still owned by Ferrari) introduced the MC12 as a homologation special to allow them to go racing in FIA GT competition. It was to signal Maserati's return to racing after a 37 year hiatus. Each car was priced at over $1,000,000 and a total of 50 road version MC12s were sold to the public.

Underneath the carbon fiber, Giorgetto Giugiaro/Frans Stephenson designed body is the chassis and drivetrain of a Ferrari Enzo. The 6.0 liter V12 produces 621HP/481TQ and is connected to a 6speed paddle shifted manumatic transaxle. Combined with a curb weight of around 2,900lbs, the MC12 can accelerate from 0-60mph in 3.8 seconds on it's way to an 11.3 second 1/4 mile and a top speed of 205mph.

Although it was a homologated race car, the street version of the MC12 did feature some level of luxury. Exposed carbon fiber and exotic materials adorn the interior. One notable exclusion however is the option of a stereo system or even anywhere to put one. A detachable targa top is standard on the road MC12 but there is nowhere to store the removed panel.

In order to maximize the body design, the MC12 was extensively tested in a wind tunnel to get the aerodynamics and downforce right for racing. The bottom of the car is covered for smooth airflow under the car and diffusers at the rear help keep the car stable and glued to the road at speed.

A total of 50 MC12s were sold to the public over a 2 year production run (2004-2005) and several more racing versions were produced. The MC12 GT1 race cars debuted in 2004 and began to rack up podium finishes. Unfortunately, the MC12 was not allowed to score any points from many of those finishes due to a dispute with the FIA over the car's homologation status. It wasn't until the last race of the year that the matter was settled and the MC12 was allowed to score championship points. The MC12 won that race at Zhuhai. In 2005 the MC12 won the manufacturers championship beating out Ferrari and in 2006 and 2007 the MC12 won the Teams' Championship. Campaigns in Italian GT, Super GT and ALMS racing were not as successful.

MC12 Corsa

In 2006 Maserati developed the MC12 Corsa which was based on the MC12 GT1 race car but available to private owners who wanted a dedicated track car much like the Ferrari FXX. Costing around $1.5 million each, there were a total of 12 sold to specially selected owners. The MC12 Corsa featured the same engine as the race version and put out 744HP. The body was also slightly different in that it used the shorter nose section used on the MC12 GT1 raced in the American LeMans Series. Each Corsa was kept and maintained by Maserati with the owners only able to use them on track days. A lot of money for a weekend toy that you can't even go out to the garage and drool over.