Ferrari 485 Speciale Review

The Ferrari 458 Speciale is not merely an upgraded model of the 458 Italia; it's an automotive masterpiece that stands in a league of its own. Building upon the legacy of its illustrious predecessors, such as the Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale and 430 Scuderia, the 458 Speciale takes the driving experience to unparalleled levels. With its unique blend of technical innovation, aesthetic brilliance, and sheer driving pleasure, the Speciale is a car that not only demands but also commands attention. 

This review aims to delve into the various facets that make this car a modern classic.

Technical Highlights

The heart of the Speciale is its 4.5-litre V8 engine, which produces a jaw-dropping 597bhp at 9000rpm. This remarkable feat is achieved through a staggering 14:1 compression ratio, resulting in a power output of 133 bhp per litre. But the engine is just the tip of the iceberg. The car is 90 kg lighter than the standard 458 Italia, thanks to a series of weight-saving measures such as a carbon fibre underbody, thinner glass for the windscreen and side windows, and a Lexan engine cover.

The Speciale also boasts magnetic dampers, stiffer springs, and anti-roll bars, significantly enhancing its handling capabilities. The gearshift logic has been meticulously refined, cutting down the time it takes for the engine speed to match the gear ratio on downshifts by 44%. Add to this the active aerodynamics that reduces drag as the car gains speed, and you have a vehicle that is a marvel of modern engineering.

Interior and Comfort

While the Speciale is designed for performance, it doesn't skimp on comfort. The interior is a study in minimalism, featuring high-quality materials and an ergonomic design that puts the driver at the centre of the experience. The cabin is stripped back to essentials, focusing on functionality without sacrificing luxury. The result is an interior space that feels both intimate and expansive, perfectly complementing the car's performance capabilities.

Driving Experience

Driving the Speciale is an experience that transcends the ordinary. The firm yet forgiving ride is perfectly balanced, providing a harmonious blend of accurate steering, responsive brakes, and a twin-clutch gearbox that delivers power with what can only be described as sweet brutality. The car feels more focused, more serious, and simply better than the standard 458 Italia. It's as if every component has been fine-tuned to work in perfect harmony, creating a driving experience that is both exhilarating and sublime.

However, it's worth noting that the Speciale is noticeably noisier, especially when in Race mode. But this is a minor quibble; given the car's performance capabilities, the heightened auditory experience only adds to the thrill.

Performance and Handling

The Speciale comes fitted with unique Michelin Pilot Cup 2 tyres, which offer astounding levels of grip. This allows the car to navigate challenging road conditions with an agility that belies its size. The Side Slip Angle Control (SSC) system is another standout feature, allowing drivers of all skill levels to explore the car's capabilities with minimal electronic intervention. The system is so advanced that it feels almost supernatural, enabling you to push the car to its limits while maintaining an extraordinary level of control.

Aerodynamics and Electronics

The Speciale's aerodynamic features are ingeniously designed to meet the dual objectives of reducing drag and increasing downforce. The car features moveable vertical and horizontal flaps that adjust automatically based on speed, optimising aerodynamic efficiency. This is complemented by a vast array of electronic systems that are incredibly complex yet intuitively simple to use, ensuring that the car performs optimally under all conditions.

Price and Comparison

When it was new, the Speciale had a price tag of £208,000, making it more expensive than competitors like the McLaren 12C. However, the Speciale offers a driving experience that is in a different league altogether. It was also around £30,000 more expensive than the standard 458, but the difference in overall composure, performance, and feel justifies the additional cost.


The Ferrari 458 Speciale is a car that seamlessly combines technical innovation with driving exhilaration. Its array of advanced features focus on performance, and attention to detail make it a standout model in Ferrari's illustrious lineup. Whether you're a seasoned driver or new to the world of high-performance cars, the Speciale offers an unforgettable driving experience that is both thrilling and rewarding. It's not just a car; it's an experience, a statement, and a testament to Ferrari's commitment to automotive excellence.


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