Sadly it look as though my days of Ferrari ownership remain as far into the future as ever. At a suggested price of £205,000, Maranello’s new 458 Speciale is probably beyond most price bands. For those who either can’t afford or have not been offered a £1 million LaFerrari, however, this looks like the next best thing. For a fifth of the money, Ferrari will now sell you a 458 offering 600bhp from its 4.5-litre engine without a turbo in sight. That’s 133bhp per litre or, put another way, roughly where the Ford DFV was when it first slotted into a Lotus 49 in 1967. No other normally aspirated road car engine compares.
Ferrari says it will circulate Fiorano in 1 min 23.5sec, a convenient half second slower than the flagship F12 but still faster than Ferrari’s previous fastest car, the 599GTO. The lap time comes not only from the extra power but also a 90kg weight loss. Although Ferrari says the Speciale (which is not a limited edition car as the name suggests, but a standard production car) is a far more civilised machine to use every day than predecessors such as the 430 Scuderia and 360 Challenge Stradale, this is clearly a hardcore driving machine and should be treated as such.