Ferrari-458-Speciale-right-side-on-the-trackThe 2014 Ferrari 458 Speciale follows Ferrari’s recent history of developing sharper-edged, higher-performance variants of its front-line sports cars. Thus, the 360 Modena spawned the Challenge Stradale, and the F430 spawned the F430 Scuderia. It’s reasonable to jump to the conclusion that the Speciale is the latest and most exotic entry in a long line of wings-and-things, wheels-and-tires upgrades created by cynical automakers to goose profits. In fact, the Speciale is a, well, special vehicle that unveils a raft of innovative technology, ranging from patented aerodynamic aids to a state-of-the-art stability control system. “It is not the ‘plus’ version of the 458,” Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa insists. “The aim is not simply going faster. It is giving amusement and emotion to drivers who aren’t really driving on the limit.”

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Ferrari-458-Speciale-InteriorThe interior of the 2014 Ferrari 458 Speciale is elegant but purposeful.  Sabelt race seats featuring carbon-fiber shells are standard and there’s enough Alcantara to cover a garage door. Still, the eyes and then the fingers are drawn irresistibly to the perfectly sculpted steering wheel, which holds plenty of buttons, none of them controlling mundane functions such as audio volume or cruise control. At the lower right, housed in a carbon-fiber insert, is the red lever of the Manettino that controls the five performance settings. At the lower left is a scarlet Engine Start button.

 

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2014 Ferrari 458 Speciale

Base Price: $298,000
As Tested: $298,000 (est.)
Powertrain
Engine: 4.5-liter DOHC 32-valve V-8
Horsepower: 597 hp @ 9000 rpm
Torque: 398 lb-ft @ 6000 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Drive: Rear-wheel
Measurements
L x W x H: 178.2 in x 76.3 in x 47.8 in
Curb Weight: 3,076 lb