Though it's hard to believe, Ferrari's sexy, sporty 458 Italia is nearly four years old. It certainly doesn't look middle-aged.
Introduced in 2009 at the Frankfurt auto show, with the Spider added to the range in 2011, the Ferrari 458 Italia continues to be one of the best driver's cars on the road today.
It's not the 562 horsepower from the 4.5-liter V-8 engine, or even the song it sings as it nears its 9,000-rpm redline that makes the 458 Italia great, though they certainly contribute. It's the way the car's inputs become outputs that give the driver an extrasensory perception of what the car is doing, fully drawing one into the driving experience.
Though the engine is a screamer, it also delivers at least 80 percent of the rated 400 pound-feet of torque from 3,250 rpm.
Of course, the 458 Italia also ticks all the appropriate supercar boxes: 0-60 mph in less than 3.4 seconds; 202 mph top speed (198 mph for the Spider); 12 mpg city and 18 mpg highway; and of course a price tag north of $200,000.
Balance, grip, stability, and agility are among the 458's most noticeable traits, and they just seem to become better as the driver pushes harder. Steering feel is the highlight of the Italia's interfaces, however, with light weight and exquisite feedback from the front end.
A seven-speed Getrag dual-clutch gearbox handles shifts, combining with the engine, suspension, and chassis to create a truly synergistic system that enhances driving at any pace.
While expensive, exclusive cars like the 2013 Ferrari 458 Italia aren't typically crash-tested by the major agencies, Ferrari's engineering is modern and its construction uses high-grade materials. Some concern over potential fire risk early in the model run has since been remedied.
Among the world's elite modern supercars, the Ferrari 458 Italia isn't the fastest or the quickest, but it is undoubtedly one of the very best to drive.
For more details, visit our review at The Car Connection.