Ferrari unveils its most powerful road car ever

458 Speciale darts 0-100kmh in three seconds flat

Ferrari unveils its most powerful road car ever

Maranello, August 20 - Ferrari on Tuesday unveiled its latest supercar, the 458 Speciale, touted as the iconic sports carmaker's most powerful road car in history. The lighter, more powerful version of the mid-engine 458 goes from 0-100km/h (0-62 mph) in three seconds, down from 3.4 in the earlier models, thanks to a peak-power output of 9,000rpm driven by a naturally aspirated 4.5-litre V8 engine. "It has the highest power density in the history of Ferrari road cars," said Ferrari in a statement, besting its predecessors the 458 Italia and 458 Spider. Ferrari has yet to release a top speed for the eight-cylinder two-seater with a mid-rear mounted engine. But it's a safe bet it will beat the base model's 325 km/h (202 mph) by some margin. Ferrari unveiled the Speciale online ahead of its official curtain-raiser at the Frankfurt Motor Show September 10. Engineers in Maranello said it was designed with the target of raising performance and "driving emotion to the highest levels", while still guaranteeing ease of control in every situation. The revamped engine, which for two consecutive years won the best performance prize at the International Engine of the Year Awards, boasts an extraordinary power output of 135 cv/l, the highest ever achieved by a road-going, naturally air-cooled engine. The company also boasts that there's more to this car than what's under the hood. The Ferrari Styling Centre, in cooperation with legendary car designer Pininfarina, sculpted the car's forms to optimize performance. The most notable external features are the front and rear movable aerodynamics, which balance downforce and cut drag, helping make the 458 Speciale the most aerodynamically efficient range-production car in Ferrari history. Also, the smooth hood has been replaced with a massive scoop, while the tiny trunk has been made even smaller. Gone is the triple-pipe-exhaust system, replaced with two hefty pipes reminiscent of the old 430 Scuderia, which sit above a rear splitter. Designers have also done much to trim down the supercar to its bare essentials, even in the carpetless cabin, equipped with carbon-fiber seats, a stripped-out center console and a carbon-fiber gearshift, replacing gearbox buttons once on a glamourous panel. All of this to bring its weight down to a nimble 1,290 kilos, down 90 from the standard model. So far no word on its price, though car buffs speculate over $200,000.

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