Ferrari has started work on the replacement for the 458 Italia, with the hardcore Speciale unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show thought to be the final version of the 458 and possibly the last of the automaker’s cars to be powered by a naturally aspirated V-8.

Yes, Ferrari’s 458 replacement is expected to adopt a twin-turbocharged engine, possibly with a V-6 configuration. The move is in response to tougher fuel economy and emissions regulations, but also due to competition from McLaren’s latest 650S and previous 12C, which have proven to be more formidable on the track than Ferrari’s 458 Italia and 458 Speciale (the McLarens’ twin-turbo V-8 mills are notorious for producing prodigious amounts of low-end torque).

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A test mule for Ferrari’s 458 replacement was spotted in northern Europe recently, but this was still in the very early stages of development. It is likely being used to calibrate traction and stability systems; the mule was first spotted driving on a frozen lake.

The new car it will eventually spawn won’t be a direct replacement for the 458 but rather a substantial update, meaning a common chassis. Ferrari did the same with the California’s transformation into the California T, and we saw something similar with the 458 Italia’s predecessor, the F430, which shared its chassis with its own predecessor, the 360 Modena.

With the 458 first hitting the scene in 2009, it’s likely we’ll see its replacement late next year.


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