The car is an all-new effort from Ferrari, rather than being based on the outgoing F430, so there is a raft of new technology to be gawped over by enthusiasts and potential owners alike.
Included are the first photographs of the 458 Italia’s interior and of the steering wheel and instrument binnacle, which represent a significant step forward in the concept of the ergonomic interface between driver and car.
In fact the main commands are now grouped on the steering wheel, the secondary commands are handily set in two satellite pods either side of the dash and there are now comprehensive instrument displays on the panel ahead of the driver.
Ferrari says these represent an important safety aspect, enabling the driver to concentrate fully on driving.
Similarly this layout ensures maximum control of the car in high-performance driving, an uncompromising approach that derives directly from Ferrari’s F1 experience.
Working closely with the Ferrari Styling Centre, the engineers have reinterpreted the positioning of the major commands to provide a truly driver-oriented cockpit.
All steering-column mounted stalks have been eliminated, with the indicators, full beam, flash and windscreen wiper functions now being activated by buttons on the steering wheel boss.
The button to select the shock absorber setting is now positioned next to the ‘Engine start’ button where it falls readily to hand.
Behind the wheel are a number of secondary functions, such as the stereo, while the gearbox paddles are now longer making shifts even easier from any steering angle.
The right-hand satellite pod on the dash incorporates controls for the infotainment, Bluetooth, satellite-navigation, digital speedo and rear parking camera.
Clustered on the left-hand satellite pod instead are the optional cruise control, buttons for choosing the video setting of the left-hand dash TFT screen and the on-board computer interface. The latter controls the trip computer, the Vehicle Dynamic Assistance and the display of the car’s set-up.
The Vehicle Dynamic Assistance monitors the operating parameters of the most important areas of the car - engine/gearbox, tyres and brakes.
The VDA is enabled in the following manettino settings – Race, CT off and CST off – and provides visual confirmation of the status of each component based on an algorithm from parameters reading lateral and longitudinal acceleration, revs and speed.
This enables the driver to assess the ideal operating conditions for the car from three status settings: WARM-UP (operating temperature too low), GO (ideal operating conditions) and OVER (one or more components are no longer at their optimum level and need cooling).
Along with the photos, the Ferrari website www.ferrari.com also includes an exclusive video-interview with Paolo Pininfarina, Chairman of Pininfarina S.p.A., who provides in-depth insight into the 458 Italia’s design philosophy and exterior styling.
Ferrari also plans to include on www.ferrari.com an analysis of the car’s performance characteristics with an interview with seven-times F1 World Champion Michael Schumacher.