Ferrari 458 Italia — from Scottsdale Ferrari-Maserati – Arizona

The new Ferrari 458 Italia —

Begin with the legacy of Enzo Ferrari. Design a sinuous, sexy body by Pininfarina. Ensure supercar status at Fiorano with seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher. And, call on the Penske Automotive Group team at Scottsdale Ferrari-Maserati, led by General Manager John Schlitt, to service and maintain the newest Prancing Horse from the masters at Maranello.

The two-seat mid-engine berlinetta is new in engine displacement and design, with F1-inspired improvements in aerodynamics, handling, instrumentation and ergonomics. Its numerical component references cylinders (8) and displacement (4.5 liters or 274.5 cubic inches). And “Italia,” well, this car epitomizes speed, style and smarts.

The 458 carries the first Ferrari direct-injection engine to be mid-rear mounted, and the results are impressive. With a compression ratio of 12.5:1, the engine puts down 564 horsepower all the way to 9000 rpm and 398 pound feet, with 80 percent coming on after 3250 rpm.

Power is translated to movement via a dual-clutch, 7-speed F1 transmission, with performance gear ratios mated to the power and torque curves of the new V-8. The Italia aggressively meets track or highway with ZR20 tires created exclusively for the car: 235/35 front and 295/35 rear.

The performance results are new standards for Ferrari — itself extraordinary for the trend-setting marque. Maximum speed is somewhere above 202 mph, and you’ll exhilaratingly accelerate to 60 mph from stop in less than 3.4 seconds.

In unveiling the car to Arizona last month at the Penske Auto Museum, 7125 Chauncey Lane in north Phoenix, Ferrari Sales Manager Gary Simon was enthusiastic, saying, in part: “The new Italia not only represents the cutting edge in current automotive technology. It also shows how Ferrari uses its racing expertise to define their street cars.” Gary is one of 32 experienced, knowledgeable employees at the long-time Scottsdale dealership, 6825 E. McDowell Road.

Gary added: “Look at the aerodynamics of the 458, the engine technology, the stability systems. All are based on experience gained on the race track. The amazing thing is they have been able to combine all of this technology in a car that is easier to drive, gives us better gas mileage and lower emissions and requires far less maintenance.

“It can match an Enzo’s lap times around Fiorano, a 599’s 0 to 60 times and still gives you 18 mpg on the highway,” Gary notes. “What more could you want?”

Base MSRP is $230,275. Still, the car offers more than 80 options, essentially making each 458 bespoke, he explains. In fact, buyers can customize the Italia with Ferrari at three levels of uniqueness.

The 458 will be available by order only; the dealership already has people on the waiting list. “Ferrari has not given us an allocation yet, so it is hard to say what the waiting time is going to be, but a safe bet would be three years or so,” he adds.

Simplicity, efficiency and lightness characterize the Italia — direct results of F1 experience, input from Schumacher’s track runs and the ingenuity of Maranello’s engineers.

The chassis is aluminum, with various alloys bonded with aerospace industry-derived manufacturing methods. Dry weight is just over 3,042 pounds, and weight distribution is an excellent 58 percent over the rear axle. The weight/power ratio is a superb 7.16 pounds per horsepower.

The 458 Italia’s suspension incorporates twin wishbones at the front and a multi-link set-up at the rear, maximizing control and ride comfort. Similarly, aerodynamic efficiency derives from the body design as well as from features such as a front grill opening and side air intakes and profiles directing air to the trapezoidal radiators.

The nose also features small flexible winglets which deflect air from the radiator as speed rises, thereby cutting drag. In the rear, the Ferrari signature growl intensifies from low to intense, depending on engine curve. This resonates like a symphony inside and an announcing fanfare outside through three rear tailpipes.

The E-Diff and F1-Trac and ABS are now controlled by a single computer, increasing longitudinal acceleration out of the corners and significantly cutting normal and high-speed stopping times.

This is a driver-centric car inside and out. Main controls are clustered on the steering wheel, with no stalks. Paddles are longer, facilitating shifts. On the steering wheel, too, is the Vehicle Dynamic Assistance manettino, allowing you to dial in your chosen level of control dynamics given conditions and driving mood.

Secondary commands are set in two pods on either side of the tachometer, allowing you to concentrate on the ecstasy of the road or track. These include connections such as Bluetooth, sat-nav, digital speedo and buttons for choosing the setting of the left-hand dash screen, which registers performance dynamics such as lap times.

While the 458 Italia is for owners demanding everyday on-road performance as well as track capability, the Ferrari California, in the company’s Granturismo tradition, is available for order as well at Scottsdale Ferrari-Maserati. “We’ve been selling the California well because it’s a Ferrari that meets everyone’s needs: It’s Ferrari beautiful and Ferrari fast, of course, but it’s also a car you can drive every day to work or to the market, if you choose,” Gary says.

A franchise for 11 years in the Valley, Scottsdale Ferrari-Maserati also maintains $8 million-plus in used-car inventory at all times. The dealership is ranked in the top three of the 35 Ferrari dealers nationwide in used Ferrari sales.

“When you have a boutique dealership like ours and you only get 30 new Ferraris a year and 40 new Maseratis, we really rely on our used car sales, which has always been my strong point,” says General Manager John Schlitt. With 11 years in the auto business, he started with the dealership as a used car manager six years ago and was promoted about a year and a half ago.

“We price our inventory to be competitive on a national market — not just locally,” says John, noting that 70 percent of the dealership’s used cars are sold out of state. On average, Scottsdale Ferrari-Maserati sells 80 used cars a month with an average price of about $90,000.

“If you’re looking for a used exotic vehicle priced right, we are not just one of many dealers locally, we are the premiere exotic used car dealer. Penske Automotive: The name says it all.” Scottsdale Ferrari-Maserati is one of 155 Penske locations nationally and 325 worldwide.

“We stand behind all our vehicles and customer satisfaction and service is our number-one goal,” he says. “I love to boast about our dealership and all our employees.”

Supporting sales, new and used, is a complete service and parts department with 20 bays and factory-trained technicians, including two Master Techs for Ferrari and Maserati with more than 30 years combined experience. The facility services all used-car makes and models at the same highest levels, and only factory-certified parts are used. “There are no shortcuts at Scottsdale Ferrari-Maserati,” John says.

You can request onsite detailing, window tinting, clear bra installation and other highline products. Loaner and town car services are also available.

“We want to be our customers’ one-stop shop,” John says. “We understand that our clients are very busy with their professional and personal lives, so we make their service as easy as possible.”

He adds: “We don’t pass on an opportunity to buy a nice car if we feel it’s a good value for our customers. When you’re selling new cars like a new Italia or used cars like a 10-year old Modena or a one-owner 599, cars that have been serviced by factory-trained technicians, that are priced right on a national level, and you have the qualified sales consultants that we have, how can you lose?”