A few months ago I was down at a local airfield to take a look at one of my father’s friend’s hangars. After perusing through a few helicopters and private airplanes for about an hour, I happen to get a call from one of my friends who owns a few very exotic cars. He told me “I’m at my garage and I’ve got a special car with me. You’re welcome to stop by and see it.” This, of course, was more than enough motivation for myself to get to my car as fast as possible and meet with my friend.
I pulled up to his garage and there it was. A 458 Italia in stunning giallo modena paint basking in the sun. Though it was far from being the first 458 I had ever seen, I never cease to be amazed by the car’s immaculate beauty. I looked inside the cabin and tan leather was abundant throughout. It’s was truly marvelous.
After I had looked over the car for a while, I talked with the owner for a little while to catch up. His garage was filled with many other expensive, exotic sportscars, but my attention was fixed upon the yellow Italian stallion in front of me.
I asked my friend a few questions about the car such as when he got it, if it’s comfortable, etc. But then came the big one “What’s it like to drive?” The owner paused for a second, dug into his pocket, pulled the key out, and dropped it into my hand. He then said “Why don’t you find out?” I’m sure that if you were able to take a picture of my face when he said that, I would have had the biggest grin of my life. Then I uttered the phrase “OK!”
We got into the car and everything immediately felt right. The cabin was much more spacious than that of many other supercars I’ve been in and there was plenty of space to rest my camera, watch, wallet, and phone. I sunk into the seat, I gripped the sides of the steering wheel, and I ran my thumbs over the array of buttons. I put the key in the ignition, turned it to the second position, and then pressed start. I could feel the rumble of the Maranello V8 behind me as I slowly revved the engine. I pulled the right paddle shifter towards me to put the car in first gear and then I hesitated. With the fear of 562 bhp sneaking up on me, I cruised slower than an inch worm until I made it to a straight open road. Then my friend said the magic words “Punch it.” I immediately put the pedal to the floor and as the wild acceleration started I was thrown back into my seat as we passed 20, 40, 60, 80, and 100 mph before our strip of road ran out.
I took a few turns to get a feel of the car’s ability in corners. The steering is very light and you have to turn the wheel quite a bit to take a turn, but it felt so perfectly right when you spin it fast coming out of a corner to straighten the car out. As I shifted in the 458, I was jerked forward quite a bit, but it made it resemble a more authentic driving experience in my opinion.
On our way back, we ended up on the straight, empty road once again. I wanted to do a true launch, so I stopped the car, I built up my revs, and set my sights on the end of the road. I let go of the brake and the car fishtails sideways heading straight for a ditch. Everything started moving in slow-motion and my only thought was “Either you straighten this car out or start running for the border.” I frantically counter-steered as fast as I could and luckily I was able to keep the car on the road. This was what finally made me think “That’s enough for today…”
I pulled the 458 back into the garage area and as soon as I got out of the car, I realized that I forgot to have the owner record a video of my adventure. Next time, right?
The 458 Italia is an exquisite car that is an absolute blast to drive, but also very idiot proof. Even if you’re uncomfortable with paddle shifting, you can put the car in auto and it will learn off of your driving styles. The 458 is an exemplary piece of machinery that will make you feel like Michael Schumacher and will look impeccable while doing so. This car is a down-right neckbreaker for getting people’s attention and always puts a smile on a child’s face (or adult’s) when they see one. That gives a supercar a big check in my book.
If I had to find a flaw with the car, it would be the shifting being just a little too rough, but it’s no where near being truly bad. The car did well with everything I put it through and put a month long smile on my face.
The 458 will be in a fixed position of my shopping list for quite some time to come and I can’t wait to drive one again.