The first time we checked out the Ferrari 458 Speciale, it was parked tantalisingly in the bowels of the Ferrari’s Maranello factory.
Tech boss Roberto Fedeli told us how Ferrari had calculated the Speciale would be an even higher performer: 10% lighter, 11% faster response, 40% quicker through the gearbox, and squeezing out an extra 34bhp from its 4.5-litre V8.
>> Click here for CAR’s tech lowdown on the Ferrari 458 Speciale
Since then, we’ve driven the 202mph 458 Speciale, which Ferrari claims is different (not better than) a 458 Italia, and designed to appeal to a different kind of customer.
Ben Barry was bowled over by the car’s dynamic abilities, but suggests that if you’re not a track-day regular, you’ll be just as happy sticking with the £20k cheaper 458 Italia. What a nice dilemma to find yourself in…
>> Click here for CAR’s review of the Ferrari 458 Speciale
As 2014 rolls around, the 458 Speciale finds itself at the precipice of supercar greatness – but new rivals are on the way to challenge for the throne. Top of the list is the replacement for Lamborghini’s venerable Gallardo: the Lamborghini Huracan. With 601bhp on board from its 5.2-litre V10, a new dual-clutch gearbox, and all-wheel drive, it boasts a big-league supercar specification, and will cost from around £180,000.
>> Click here for CAR’s full story on the new Lamborghini Huracan
Meanwhile, Porsche’s 911 GT3 – our reigning sports car of the year – is yet to meet the 458 Speciale in a direct fight. Given it costs half of the Ferrari’s asking price, could it be the bargain performance car to embarrass Ferrari’s finest creation to date? Bring on the challengers – they’ll have to be mighty to see off the Speciale in 2014.
>> Check out the previous car in our most wanted countdown here