2009 Ferrari 458 Italia

Ferrari’s entry-level offering is anything but. With a V8 screaming right behind your head delivering an awe-inspiring 562 horsepower, for any other company the 458 Italia would be the flagship sportscar. Instead, the Italia is a driver’s ultimate fantasy, combining stunning Pininfarina lines with nearly perfect driving dynamics. It looks the part too, with aggressive headlights, sculpted flanks, and menacing triple exhausts exiting at the center of the functional rear air diffuser. Slide behind the wheel and contemplate the masterpiece that is the cockpit—everything you need is within reach in a setting that is more like a fighter jet than a mere car. Underneath the aerodynamically optimized skin is a vast array of high technology that allows the driver to use all that power with surgical precision. The high-revving V8 is the real highlight, managing to pull a nearly unbelievable amount of power out of just 4.5 liters by using direct-injection, high compression, and precisely balanced internal components. Keeping the engine in the powerband is made simple with the dual-clutch, F1-inspired, 7-speed transmission, which seamlessly ratchets off shifts without interrupting the delivery of ample torque. With the exceedingly stiff bonded aluminum chassis and an amazingly low drag coefficient, the Italia’s top speed exceeds 202 miles per hour.

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