Ferrari 458 – Engineering Perfection

As I sat with the owner, Joe, of this beautiful Ferrari 458 Italia, I couldn’t help but stare at the car the entire time.

Lit Ferrari

It’s such a gorgeous design.  When it comes to the color red, no other car manufacturer can make it look quite as good as Ferrari – especially this kind of blood red which Ferrari calls “Rosso Mugello”.

Joe has put tons of work into his garage to create the ultimate home for the 458.  There was a bar table with stools where we were sitting and right next to us was a wine cellar.  What better way to spend your time than to sip wine and stare at a Ferrari?

There is a TV in there, but with the 458 sitting right there, who needs to watch TV?? If you need music, just bring the Ferrari to life and you’re good to go!

The recessed lighting throughout the garage makes the Ferrari sparkle like jewels.

Ferrari and Miata

By the way, the Miata quietly resting next to the 458  is in excellent condition as well and has been preserved for 23 years!  It’s about as “minty” as they get.

When Joe gets asked how much he paid for the car which is a question he has to answer frequently – he replies back, “4 years of college and 30 years of hard work.”

I like that answer!

Before the Ferrari, Joe owned a 1991 Nissan 300ZX twin turbo which he loved and kept for many years.  Going from that to the Ferrari is one humongous upgrade.  I wonder how long he will keep the Ferrari – maybe another 20 years?  He doesn’t buy stuff often but when he does it’s something he really really wants.

How Joe ended up with a Ferrari

The Ferrari 458 Italia is Joe’s first Ferrari.  His story of how he and his wife came to purchase the 458 Italia is actually pretty interesting so I thought I’d share it with you.

Ferrari angle

Joe and his wife love going to San Francisco every year, and during one of these yearly trips back in 2012 they stopped by a gift shop.  While in there, Joe picked up a magazine and on the cover of it he saw the most beautiful car he had ever seen.  He flipped through the pages to find out that he was looking at the Ferrari 458 Italia.

He had never seen a car that was as striking as what had seen on the cover of that magazine.

Both Joe and his wife knew after that moment that they had to get the car.  They did a bunch of research in the months following that fortuitous moment and eventually placed an order with the Ferrari dealer in Austin for the 458.

The first time Joe had ever driven a Ferrari was the 458 that was at the dealer the day he placed the order.  He only drove it a few miles and instantly fell in love.

The they say…is history.

The Drive

Joe has driven this car approximately 24,000 miles in the past few years that he has owned it which is probably unheard of in the Ferrari world because most people that own these cars keep them covered in a temperature-controlled garage and probably drive it at most once a year to get the oil changed.

458 engine

But why buy a car like this and not drive it?

The 458 Italia is so fast.  It has 562 hp and weighing only 3200 lb, you can be assured that you propel forward very quickly.  Because of unfathomably quick 40 ms shifts of the dual clutch transmission, there is no interruption in power delivery as you continuing surging forward.

There is way more speed and performance than you could ever experience on a regular road which made me realize that I would never fully appreciate the car unless I was in it at a place like the Circuit of the Americas (COTA).

Joe felt the same way and so he went to COTA to participate in the Ferrari Racing School at the Circuit of the Americas where he learned all about how to handle various models of Ferraris including the 458.  He loved it so much that he’s going back to take the  “advanced” class in 2015.

Here is another indication that the 458 is meant to be raced – there is a “pit speed” dial in the car.

You know Ferrari means business when it has this in the car.

Pit speed dial

Just kidding – the “pit speed” is actually Ferrari’s way of telling you that it’s cruise control; I actually had to verify this with Joe.

Cruise control doesn’t even come standard in the 458 – Joe had to get this as a special option.

Even with the car being pushed pretty hard with cold tires, I didn’t hear any squealing and or feel any hint of instability whatsoever.  The  grip was incredible.  The 458 was glued to the road through all kinds of curves and turns and I walked with a huge smile on my face after experiencing a Ferrari for the first time.

The Interior

The steering wheel in the 458 reminds you of an F1 wheel – of course – a much simpler version of one.

I liked the big bold red button with the words “Engine Start” on it – and also, the copious amounts of carbon fiber on the wheel.

458 steering wheel

It took me a couple seconds to realize that there were no stalks behind the steering wheel.  I have never been in a car that didn’t have them.

I love the fact that turn signals, wiper blades, traction control, lights can all be controlled by manipulating buttons on the steering wheel.  You can change your driving experiencing by changing from “race” (we all know what that means) to “ct off” (traction control off, but you probably shouldn’t push this button unless you know what you’re doing).

The interior itself was relatively sparse but had all the essentials that you would expect in a modern day supercar.  And whatever luxuries the car does have is very nicely done.

Ferrari 458 interior

The 4.5L V8 produces some of the best sounds you can imagine.  Here’s a little taste of what you hear.

Even Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear, who typically doesn’t like much of anything he drives summarizes the 458 by saying – and this is exactly what he said –  “It really is absolutely, unbelievably, mesmerizingly brilliant.”

What could Joe possibly get next that would top this?  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Time to save up for a 458 because it will most definitely be worth it.  I only have a few more decades to go…

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