Awesome performance – not just speed, but flexibility, too. The Ferrari 458 Italia has a chassis that makes anyone feel like they can drive, plus it has a fabulous cabin. Amazing good looks, too.
The steering wheel has a lot of buttons, which might not be to everyone’s taste. Visibility at angled junctions is pretty awful.
On the road
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
It's fast. With a 570bhp 4.5-litre V8, of course it's fast, and the seven-speed twin-clutch semi-auto gearbox is more than capable of keeping up with the engine. However, it's the breadth of ability that really gets you. With the gearbox in full automatic mode, it will dawdle through town at 35mph in seventh gear. Seventh! Astonishingly flexible.
Ride & Handling
Ferrari has opted for multi-link rear suspension in place of the double wishbones it has traditionally favoured, and there's incredibly direct steering (two turns lock-to-lock), magnetic-fluid suspension, carbon-ceramic brakes and an evolution of the Formula One-derived traction and stability controls. The result is a car that grips, turns and stops like you wouldn't believe, rides well for a 200mph-plus supercar, and lets you choose how much electronic assistance you want.
It depends what you mean by refinement, really. Floor the accelerator and the decibel count rises significantly, although anyone with the remotest interest in cars will find the sounds soul-stirring rather than irritating. At low speed or when cruising the 458 is actually reasonably quiet, and the engine/transmission are very smooth. There's considerable road noise on coarse surfaces – a legacy of the fat rear tyres – but little wind noise at UK-legal speeds.