Ferrari 458 Italia Review & Buyers Guide

It really is no surprise that the Ferrari 458 Italia is being praised as one of the best cars Ferrari has ever made. Whether on the road or on the track, there are very few complaints about what Ferrari has accomplished with the brand new design of the 458. It’s versatility and driving experience are second to none.

After all, the legacy of the brand stretches back to the late 1930’s. That is nearly 80 years of creative innovation, research, development, and of course the most important element of any Ferrari: passion.

The 458 has poised itself in such a way to stand out from its competitors with its exciting new design. One could say the 458 Italia is the most vivid example of Ferraris exponential advancement over the years. The level of refinement and improvement between the Ferrari F430 and the 458 can nearly be measured in light years.

As the entry level model from Ferrari, the 458 now features performance figures and state-of-the-art technological advancements of such a high caliber, that only a few years ago could they only be found in legendary supercars and hypercars. The future of the supercar automotive landscape has changed thanks to the 458.

The 458 Italia was first shown officially at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2009. It featured a Pininfarina designed body shell with the lowest drag coefficient of any Ferrari ever made. Snuggly fitted inside the newly designed modular aluminum alloy chassis is the 458’s naturally aspirated 4.5 litre V8 engine. This power plant was the first road going Ferrari to offer direct fuel injection and gave the 458 Italia significant power over its predecessor with a generous 570bhp and 400 ft-lbs of torque. Ferrari engineers have made most of that torque available in the lower RPM range giving the 458 an impressive 0-60mph time of only 3.3 seconds, while the top speed of this car is a blistering 210mph.

ferrari 458 engine

A seven speed dual-clutch transmission is the only available choice for buyers, making this car the second ever to only offer “automatic” transmission standard on all vehicles after the Enzo. The good news here is that the gear shifts are so quick you won’t even care.

Looking at the front bumper and either side of the front chin spoiler, there are active aerodynamics. Ferrari has designed these two winglets to deform and give the 458 extra downforce by funneling air beneath the car to be guided out of the rear diffuser, while at the same time drawing more air towards the radiators for extra cooling at higher speed.

ferrari 458 italia front

The already stunning front end of the 458 is made even more attractive with crisp LED headlights with low beams that turn with the steering wheel to illuminate the curves ahead. The vertical orientation of these headlights really accentuate how wide the 458 Italia really is while complimenting its sleek appeal.

Traveling down the side of the 458 you get a real sense for how easy the shape of this car must slice through the air. Aerodynamics play a massive role in the shape of the 458 allowing for 309lbs of downforce at 120mph, which is pretty impressive considering theres no conventional spoiler. Vents atop the fenders allow slower moving air out from underneath the headlight and over the fenders reducing lift, but also adding to the overall aerodynamic efficiency along the side of the car. Massive standard carbon ceramic brakes are visible from beneath the massive 20 inch wheels giving the 458 incredibly stable stopping power.

ferrari 458 italia

Engineers at Ferrari have pre-loaded the brake pads so the distance between them and the rotors is as small as possible. This action only occurs under abrupt deceleration to aid in more rapid braking. The engine intakes are tucked neatly beneath the roof pillars alongside the rear fender almost hidden from view, interestingly opposite of Lamborghini and their treatment of such air intakes.

At the rear of the car we have the familiar glass window into the engine bay displaying that gorgeous Ferrari V8 engine underneath. Two more intakes at the rear corners of the car provide fresh air for the oil radiators for the clutch and gearbox that are tucked below. Bright round LED tail lights are perfectly situated on the corners of the 458 and three exhaust pipes deliver that epic Ferrari sound. Above 3,500 rpm the outer exhaust pipes open their valves increasing flow and volume of the incredible sound the 458 makes.

458 italia rear

The previous iterations of Ferraris model line up until the 458 paint a progressive and enticing picture of the evolution leading up to the 458 with such easily visible influences from the Enzo, which can be seen in the overall shape of the car.  It’s apparent that these two cars share the same blood line and interestingly share a number of similarities.

Driving Experience

When behind the wheel of the 458, the driver is instantaneously flooded with a truly incredible driving experience. The 458 delivers a feeling of control and confidence without risking your well-being. The steering of the car is incredibly responsive and has been said to be more sensitive than most supercars. Because of that, it gives drivers a very accurate sense of where the wheels are during turns to allow plenty of stability.

Although the amazing steering is thanks to some technological assistance, it doesn’t feel numb like many other cars do. The 458 walks a very fine line with the drivers experience boiling down to skill level and driver assists.

The ease in which this car can be driven aggressively instills an electric feeling of confidence yet at the same time doesn’t limit the experience one can have while pushing the limits of the 458.

Whether you are a novice or a seasoned driver, the 458 will always have enough performance to provide a thrill. Around the track the 458 Italia has been shown to set lap times only one tenth of a second slower than an Enzo, which gives you an idea of just how much punch this car is packing.

458 track

The suspension of the 458 is a twin wishbone set-up at the front and a multi link set-up at the rear tuned for maximum grip and handling. Suspension sees further customization through different driving modes by using the ever famous Manettino switch on the steering wheel. Drivers can choose between wet, sport, race, CT off (traction control) and finally, ESC off which disables all the drivers aids.

The cockpit of the 458 is much more driver oriented than that of its predecessor. While still being adorned with the finest materials available, the thinned out cabin feels incredibly spacious and light, but with a beautifully simplistic and straightforward center console.

Ferraris approach to integrating the driver with the car is shown most vividly through the layout of the steering wheel. On the wheel itself, drivers find everything they need within reach, much like that of an F1 driver. The horn, signals, headlights, suspension dampener button, wipers, and of course the Manettino switch are all within reach. Michael Schumacher worked alongside Ferrari in the development of the interior to give the 458 a true race car feel on the inside.

ferrari manettino

A fully digital display features the bright central tachometer with screens on either side. The right pod displays the speedometer, radio, and satellite navigation while the left will project vehicle status and driving mode displays. To keep you focused on the track drivers will find a strip of bright red LED’s across the top of the steering wheel displaying the climbing redline of the tachometer.

Ferrari 458 Common Problems

The 458 Italia may be the best Ferrari the world has ever seen so far, but that doesn’t mean it can escape without a few problems.

Transmission Failure

There have been numerous reports of transmission failures for 2010-2011 model year Ferrari 458 Italias. There has been no official confirmation from Ferrari or even a recall issued, but its worth noting that Ferrari did release the 2012 models with a new transmission software, thus making us think they were aware of this all along.

Engine seizure (Recall #12V211000)

Ferrari have issued a recall for a faulty crankshaft that can cause sudden engine seizure, possibly resulting in a crash. It was found that some crankshafts were machined incorrectly during manufacturing and should be replaced. Ferrari has given owners the option of having a new crankshaft and bearings installed or a completely new engine instead. This affected 2011-2012 model years.

Trunk latch (Recall #14V487000)

The secondary component of the trunk latch may not release when car is stationary. This is a relatively small issue but nevertheless, should be replaced by the dealer. This affected 2010-2014 model years.

Rear Fender Adhesive (Recall #10V389000)

Ferrari issued a recall to 2010 458’s due to the adhesive in the rear fenders. At high temperatures this adhesive can ignite, leading to a fire in the engine bay itself and potential loss of the entire car. Ferrari has remedied this issue with scraping the use of a adhesive altogether and have opted instead for five rivets that will secure the components together. This fix will come at no cost for 458 owners.

ferrari 458 fire

Ferrari 458 Maintenance and Cost of Ownership

Many people may not be aware that Ferrari currently offers their no cost 7-year routine maintenance program on model years 2012 and on. However, there is a catch. This is a package that covers only routine services such as oil changes, fluids, filters, and other basic jobs. The good thing is, this 7-year maintenance plan does not have any mileage limits and is fully transferable to the next owner as it is tied to the car.

The services of the maintenance package must take place within +/- 30 days of scheduled maintenance or the owner will have to pay out of pocket which can run around $2,500. This is essentially a contract in which the owner of the 458 agrees to, and is obligated by Ferrari to maintain the vehicles status on a strict regiment.

Missing a service interval would invalidate the maintenance plan entirely. Because of this contractual obligation, some owners may find themselves planing ahead having to ship the car to a dealer to meet this service schedule.

Not to be confused with the maintenance package, the 458 Italia would come with a 3-year warranty for all other parts.

ferrari 458 italia service

For those that end up buying a 2010 or 2011 model year, the Ferrari 458 is actually considered a low maintenance car.

Outside of routine service like oil changes, the 458 Italia needs not much. The DCT transmission is built to last the life of the car and does not require clutch replacement.

The brakes are standard carbon ceramic and also meant to the last the life of the car. Of course, if you track your car then that may be another story altogether.

Just like the Ferrari F430, the 458 Italia utilizes timing chains, not timing belts, and do not require replacement either.

If you do end up needing service outside the 7-year maintenance plan, here is the schedule, list of services done, and costs associated:

Annual Maintenance – $799 (Dealer Pricing)

Scheduled to be performed every 12 months and it is for vehicles that are generally driven less than 12,500 miles per year.

  • Engine Oil (replace)
  • Engine Oil Filter (replace)
  • Pollen Filter (replace)
  • Visual Inspection

Two Years or 12,500 Miles – $1,299 (Dealer Pricing)

  • Engine Oil (replace)
  • Engine Oil Filter (replace)
  • Pollen Filter (replace)
  • Brake System Fluid (replace)
  • Auxiliary Belts (replace)
  • Visual Inspection

Scheduled to be performed at specific time intervals regardless of the vehicle’s mileage

Four Years or 37,500 Miles – $1,799 (Dealer Pricing)

  • Engine Oil (replace)
  • Engine Oil Filter (replace)
  • Pollen Filter (replace)
  • Brake System Fluid (replace)
  • Auxiliary Belts (replace)
  • Spark Plugs (replace)
  • Visual Inspection

Scheduled to be performed at specific time intervals regardless of the vehicle’s mileage.


Ferrari 458 Model Year Changes

2010 Ferrari 458

The first 458 Italia’s would make their way into the world as the most exciting entry level Ferrari ever released. This model year would have the loudest exhaust system of all years until 2012 when a software update would rid the exhaust of it’s lively persona of pops and crackles.

2011 Ferrari 458

In 2011, a spider version of the 458 Italia would also debut this year featuring an aluminum retractable hardtop composed of two segments that would fold and be stored in a slim compartment behind the seats in only 14 seconds. Compared to the soft top version of it’s predecessor, the 458 spider would save 55lbs with this system. The trade-off of losing the clear engine bonnet in the spider was having the V8 roar behind in all its glory with the top down.

458 spider

2012 Ferrari 458

2012 brought with it some new software upgrades and options to the 458. The most enticing change was the addition of the no cost 7-year maintenance package on top of the 3-year factory warranty. Software upgrades for this model would deliver a harder kick when shifting up in race mode as well as a tamer exhaust note that got rid of pop, crackles, and bangs from the exhaust. Other changes included revised engine maps and revised damper and chassis updates to improve handling. Most of these updates were available to pre-2012 cars as a Handling Kit Upgrade for roughly $10k installed.

458 italia spider

2013 Ferrari 458

No known major changes for the 2013 model year.

2014 Ferrari 458

In 2014 Ferrari would introduce the 458 Speciale, a limited production (no known production numbers) street legal race car. Like its predecessors, the Challenge Stradale and Scuderia, Ferrari stuck to their winning formula: more power and less weight.

The Speciale would become the ultimate performance version of the 458 boasting some very impressive advancements taken from F1 racing and applied the standard model.

The new body design would feature all new vented hood, new bumpers, forged wheels, rear bumper and diffuser, and new side skirts that included a winglet. These changes not only increased downforce, but made the 458 Speciale the most aerodynamic Ferrari ever made at the time.

ferrari 458 speciale

Revised pistons, intake, ports, crankshaft, and titanium exhaust bumped up the compression and netted a 40hp power increase to 597hp. The Speciale would also see some upgrades in electronics as well with a Side Slip Angle control (SSC) system created to improve car control at the absolute upper limits by torque distribution via the electronic differential. This system essentially does a millisecond to millisecond analysis of the cars position to optimizing torque and traction control management.

Of course the drivetrain could not be left untouched, so a revised transmission software allowed for 20% quicker upshifts and 40% quicker downshifts. Borrowed from the LaFerrari hypercar were new brakes that reduced rotating mass at each corner and were better at dissipating heat. Suspension dampers even had their own software and CPU that instantaneously allowed the car to adapt to all road conditions.

Lastly, putting power to the ground were specially made Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires wrapped in new forged wheels.

ferrari speciale

With the usage of carbon fiber, alcantara, and deleting unnecessary items like carpets and glovebox, Ferrari managed to shave off 90kg off the standard 458 Italia.

All of these advancements would shave off nearly half a second from the standard 458’s 0-60mph time and lap Ferrari’s Fiorana test track 1.5 seconds faster than a standard 458 Italia. Wildly, impressive considering that the circuit is only 1.9 miles long.

458 speciale interior

2015 Ferrari 458

In honor of closing out the 458 generation with a bang, Ferrari decided to offer a very limited (499 built) open top version of the Speciale called the Speciale A. The Speciale A was identical to the coupe, but with added weight due to the foldable hardtop roof. I’m sure you can sacrifice being 1/10th slower to 60mph if you have a 597hp V8 howling behind you all the way to 9000rpm.

If you missed your chance buying the Speciale A, good luck acquiring one as prices for these are now $800k on the used market.

All four variants of the 458 Italia would be produced this year with little to no changes otherwise. Ferrari was wrapping up the life-cycle of the 458 to prepare for the new highly anticipated 488 GTB.


Ferrari 458 Options

Over the years, Ferrari has offered a wide variety of options to all their vehicles like the 360 Modena or F430, and with the 458 it’s no different. The skies the limit when it comes to spec-ing your Ferrari.

On the exterior of the vehicle owners can choose from a variety of aesthetic options like custom paint color, brake caliper color, wheel options (Stock, Sport, darker Sport, Diamond Cut Sport), and scuderia shields on the side.

Inside the car there is even more opportunity for customization with choices like rev counter color, front and upper dashboard color, leather headliner, steering wheel color, alcantara lining, seats options (Race and Daytona), colored seat belts, and more.

ferrari 458 red interior

The desirable options for 458s include scuderia shields, sport wheels, carbon fiber trim, race seats, and of course a good (or safe) color like Rosso Corsa red with a compatible matching interior.

Just like its predecessors, the 458 Italia does have an optional carbon fiber rear grille (Challenge inspired), but it is not highly sought after.

Many of these options can run up the price of your 458 so it pays to be well aware of what options are fitted to the 458 you’re are looking at to match your needs. Here is a price sheet of options that you can refer to so you know what to look for when you search.

ferrari 458 options list

Best Year Ferrari 458 to Buy

With this being one of the best supercars ever made, picking which year to buy can actually be easier than expected as the differences in model year are overall very subtle.

Across the years there are very few changes made to the 458, with the biggest difference being the maintenance package in 2012. These cars are more desirable and command a $30k premium over the 2010-2011 years. However any car between 2010-2014 is a good bet for hack-ability.

With that said, buyers should look out for the normal signs of a good car, reasonable mileage, and extensive service record (including fixed recalls). With Ferrari’s scheduled maintenance program this makes searching for a worthy 458 that much easier.

For buyers looking for a better stock sound, the 2010 and 2011 models will sound slightly more aggressive. The Handling Kit Upgrade is a nice added bonus if equipped.

On the other hand, buyers who want a newer model year will simply just have to buy an aftermarket exhaust system and worry about nothing.

In short, there is no bad year in which to buy a Ferrari 458, which is quite possibly the ultimate measure of how good this car really is.

ferrari 458 TDF blue


It’s not very often that a car comes along that completely changes everything. A car that can literally be used everyday, but double as a track car and have minimal upkeep costs. The Ferrari 458 is just that, a car that for now is the one to beat.

The 458 will surely be a sought after car in a few years, as it is the last of the naturally aspirated breed, which makes now a great time to invest in a piece of automotive history.

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