The engine is a dry-sump 90 degree V8 with a displacement of 4499 cc and is mid-rear mounted. It is an entirely new design engineered to reach a maximum of 9,000 rpm – a first on a road car – with a high 12.5:1 compression ratio and maximum power output of 570 CV. This equates to an outstanding power output of 127 CV/liter, a new benchmark for a naturally-aspirated production engine.
The generous torque available – 540 Nm at 6000 rpm, with over 80 per cent available from 3250 rpm ensures rapid pick-up from all revs. The specific torque output of 120 Nm/l is another record.
The F1 racing technology influenced the design of the engine components in order to achieve both performance and fuel consumption objectives and meet the most stringent international emissions restrictions.
To help further reducing internal friction, the cylinder block has four scavenge pumps: two pick up oil from the cylinder heads and front and rear of the engine via dedicated oil recovery ducts outside the crankcase area, and two pick up oil from below the crank throws. The recovery ducts of the latter are interconnected in two groups of four cylinders to optimize the scavenge function and create a strong vacuum (800 mbar) around the crankshaft. This solution prevents the excess of oil splashing out of the sump and onto the rotating crankshaft and thus reduces power loss caused by friction. It also reduces losses due to wind-age caused by the pumping action of the pistons.
The engine oil pressure pump features variable displacement geometry which reduces the amount of power absorbed at high revs. Lowering the pump’s displacement actually increases the power available at the crankshaft for the same amount of fuel used.
As is traditional for Ferrari engines, the new V8 is equipped with continuously variable timing on both inlet and exhaust cams. The aluminum intake manifold has been lightened by reducing the wall thickness. It has short, almost straight inlet tracts to reduce losses and a system that varies the geometry of the manifold, optimizing the volumetric efficiency throughout the rev range. This is achieved by incorporating three pneumatic throttle valves in the central section between the two plenums. The engine mapping provides four different configurations of the valves for optimum torque values at all revs.
The use of GDI with Split Injection improves engine performance by modulating the injection in two phases, increasing combustion efficiency and the torque at low revs (by up to 5 per cent). A high injection pressure (200 bar) guarantees adequate pulverization of the petrol and an optimal air/fuel mix right up to 9000 rpm.
The exhaust system has been designed to provide the thrilling soundtrack owners of Ferrari’s V8s are used to whilst also guarantee high levels of acoustic comfort. One of the exhaust main objectives is to reduce weight. The catalytic converter is attached to the central section of the exhaust by a flexible element to reduce the amount of vibration transmitted and to thus allow thinner metal to be used. Similarly the pre-catalytic converter has been eliminated, lowering overall weight and reducing back pressure whilst still respecting strict Euro 5 and LEV2 emissions.
One of the important innovations on the 458 Italia is the introduction of the 7-speed F1 dual-clutch gearbox which guarantees faster yet smoother changes. The technology is based on the independent management of even and odd gears which are pre-selected using two separate input shafts.
The gear shifting time (the overlap between the opening and closing phases of the two clutches) is zero and thus there is no interruption of engine torque to the driven wheels. Compared to the California gearbox, response times have been reduced and the 458 Italia has specific, sportier gear ratios to match the power and torque curves of the new V8, guaranteeing high torque even at lower revs. The E-Diff 3 electronic differential has also been integrated into the gearbox, resulting in a more compact and lighter unit.
Suspension and Steering
The 458 Italia’s front suspension employs a new double wishbone set-up which features an L-shape design for the lower wishbone, with the rearward facing arm longer than the one in line with the wheel axis to provide greater longitudinal flexibility. This in turn improves the car’s ability to absorb bumps and it also reduces suspension noise.
A greater transverse rigidity enhances handling whereas the new rear multi-link suspension combined with specific tire development improves the overall vertical rigidity for less body roll (+35% compared to the F430). A more direct steering ratio (11.9° compared to the F430’s 16.9°, a reduction of 30 per cent) allows a quicker and more responsive steering on both road and track.
The 458 Italia also features the latest, second-generation Magnetorheological Suspension Control shock absorber system. Compared to the system first introduced on the 599 GTB Fiorano, SCM2 boasts an evolved ECU (-50 per cent input time) and a damper force generation time of 8 ms compared to the 599’s 15 ms. There is also a new piston rod bushing in the damper which reduces internal friction (-35 per cent) for more precise small-bump control and improved ride comfort.
Vehicle Dynamics and Electronics
On the 458 Italia the E-Diff and F1-Trac control software are integrated in the same ECU to minimize communication times between the two systems and improve vehicle performance.
A new Power On strategy has been developed for the E-Diff. The electronic differential continuously distributes torque to the rear wheels, both in Power Off (turning in for the corner) and Power On (accelerating out of the corner), guaranteeing excellent vehicle stability and control in all driving conditions and on all surfaces.
In the 458 Italia, the E-Diff 3 works in a more integrate way with the F1-Trac. It uses a series of F1-Trac parameters and evaluations (such as estimates of grip) either in manettino positions in which the F1-Trac is inserted (Sport ? Race) or in those where it is deactivated (CT Off and CST Off). Compared to previous versions, E-Diff 3 delivers improved torque distribution coming out of corners (in Sport, Race, CT Off and CST Off), allowing enhanced grip, better road holding and more progressive handling on the limit. The result is an improvement of 32 percent in longitudinal acceleration out of corners compared to previous models and a lap time at Fiorano of just 1″ 25 seconds.
The modular chassis has a new design. New alloys join the traditional aluminum, along with high-resistance aluminum extrusions (developed by the aviation industry) and innovative manufacturing processes, such as heat-forming. The objective is to keep the weight down for better performance and handling. The result is a chassis with improved structural rigidity, with torsion rigidity up 15 per cent compared to the F430, and beam stiffness up 5 per cent.
Every Ferrari is the result of an uncompromising design approach that integrates style and aerodynamic. The nose 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 aero elastic winglets that generate down force and, as speed rises, deform to reduce the section of the radiator intake and cut drag.
The oil radiators for the F1 gearbox and the dual-clutch are situated in the tail and air is fed from two intakes on the top of the rear wings. This solution provides a base bleed effect, an aerodynamic function that was developed by Ferrari for the FXX and which reduces drag by feeding the hot air out of the radiators under the nolder and into the slip stream. The flat unde rbody now incorporates the air intakes for engine bay cooling.
The car’s sills are characterized by two keel forms that act as fairings to the rear wheels, while the rear bodywork between the rear diffusers acts as the surround to the novel triple exhaust tail pipes, a styling cue that recalls the legendary F40 and gives the 458 Italia’s tail an aggressive sporty stance. The engine is visible below the engine cover, as per the mid-rear V8 Ferrari tradition.
The CFD (Computational Fluid- Dynamic) techniques help optimizing the management and interaction of the internal flows prior to wind tunnel testing. A high level of aerodynamic efficiency (1.09) has been achieved through an excellent drag and down force figures (Cd 0.33 and Cl 0.36 respectively) with 140 kg of down force at 200 km/h and no less than 360 kg at top speed.
The front-mounted coolant radiators are trapezoidal in shape and positioned to minimize the impact of the internal cooling flows on drag and down force. The oil radiators for the gearbox and clutch are situated in the tail with air fed from two intakes on the top of the rear wings.
Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes are standard on all Ferraris since 2008. The 458 Italia is equipped with 6-pot aluminum calipers with 398 x 223 x 36 mm discs at the front, and 4-pot aluminum calipers with 360 x 233 x 32 mm discs at the rear.
The 458 Italia boasts outstanding braking distances: 100-0 km/h in 32.5 meters; 200- 0 km/h in 128 meters. The result has been achieved thanks to the development and optimization of the Bosch control and Ferrari’s Pre-Fill logics, which reduced response times by activating the pistons in the calipers thus minimizing the gap between the brake pad and the disc as soon as the driver lifts off the accelerator. Great braking performance are also possible thanks to a specific calibration of the ABS for medium/high grip surfaces, and by integrating the ABS control logic with that of the E-Diff 3 to ensure a more accurate estimate of the vehicle speed and hence better braking torque control, as well as enhanced vehicle stability.