The 458 Italia’s volumes have been honed to a compact and aerodynamic shape by Pininfarina and the Ferrari Centro Stile with the themes of purity, simplicity, technology, efficiency and lightness underpinning the concept.
It is unmistakably a Ferrari, incorporating the characteristics that have become a signature of every car that leaves Maranello. Yet it is also clearly a significant leap forwards from the sporty mid-rear V8 cars that preceded it. This was achieved by aiming for superb driveability in extreme conditions and ensuring that every last component was honed with performance and driving pleasure in mind.
Aerodynamic development in the wind tunnel aimed at sculpting the flanks and the tops of the rear wheelarches to naturally channel the air flow to the intakes above the tail. The gearbox and clutch oil radiators have been moved from the sill area to the rear of the engine compartment. The car’s powerful character is underlined by the swage line along its flanks, rising from the rear of the front wheelarch before dropping half-way along the door to the rear wheelarch. The result is sleeker surfaces higher up and a characteristic scoop over the rear wheelarches. The nose features a single opening for the grille and two large air intakes to channel air to the engine radiators.
The central area has sections and profiles designed to direct the air to the radiators and the flat underbody, with the air to the latter being channelled through the middle of the bumper beneath the central dam. The nose also sports two small aeroelastic winglets which deform at high speeds. Their main function is to generate downforce but they also improve cooling by channelling air to the radiators. The headlights are designed to give the 458 Italia a characteristic stance. The main lens is a rotating bi-xenon light with low- and fullbeam functions, which follows the car’s movements in line with the curves on the road. Above it is a vertical stack of 20 high-intensity LEDs for the DRLs or daylight running lights (their intensity increases with the intensity of daylight) and indicators. The characteristic brake air intake is a natural, harmonious part of the intersection of the headlight, wheel arch and bonnet volumes. On top of the wing outside the headlights is a vent for radiator cooling.
Below the characteristic rear nolder are two large air vents from the gearbox and clutch radiators with the prominent circular tail-light assemblies mounted on the edge of the wheelarches. The car’s sills are characterised 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 clearly hints at the 458 Italia’s sporty character. As is traditional for Ferrari’s 8-cylinder sports cars, the engine can be seen through the rear screen. The exterior architecture focused on keeping weight down, reducing the frontal section to reduce drag, and on lowering the car’s centre of gravity. The result of this mix is enhanced handling and roadholding as well as a correct ratio between the wheelbase, overhangs and front and rear track.