Some might say it’s sacrilege to turbocharge a Ferrari, unless the factory already has, but it’s hard to make a case when you get performance numbers like those of Hennessey’s new twin-turbocharged Ferrari 458 Italia. The Texan tuner’s latest package for the Italian thoroughbred, the HPE700 Twin Turbo, liberates 738 horsepower and 532 pound-feet of torque from the car’s 4.5-liter V-8 engine.
It does so by way of a custom twin-turbocharging system, high-flow intake and exhaust piping, an air-to-water intercooler, upgraded fuel injectors, new oil and transmission lines, and a remapped ECU. And in case you think the modifications won’t last, boost pressure peaks at a mild 7 psi and Hennessey backs up the whole thing with a one year/12,000 mile limited warranty.
As the video above shows, the acceleration is brutal, though we have to admit the sound of the 458 is now somewhat muted and the hissing of the turbos won’t be to everyone’s taste. But we’re sure everyone will love the performance. Hennessey quotes a 0-60 mph time of 2.8 seconds and a quarter mile elapsed time of 10.5 seconds at 137 mph. Those numbers make the Hennessey-tuned 458 faster than any current Ferrari road car, and may even give the upcoming LaFerrari a run for its money.
But the modifications to the car aren’t exclusive to the engine bay. Most of the upgrade’s componentry is concealed beneath custom-made carbon fiber covers, and personalization of the car is also possible with optional upgrades including Hennessey’s CarbonAero exterior pieces (currently under development) consisting of a carbon fiber front splitter and rear lip spoiler designed to accentuate the 458’s seductive lines and improve downforce.
The wheels are custom forged pieces measuring 20 inches across and they are attached to KW suspension with adjustable shocks and threaded spring perches said to make easy corner weighting and ride-height adjustment. For interior, Hennessey offers custom leather and Alcantara trim, special stitch patterns and carbon fiber and aluminum pieces for the dash and instrument cluster.
If you like what you see, Hennessey will be presenting the car at the Concorso Italiano on Friday, one of the lead-up events to the 2013 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Pricing for the basic package starts at $59,995.
It may look and perform as fresh as it did when it was launched back in 2009, fending off rivals like the McLaren MP4/650S, but the Ferrari 458 has turned five this year and the Italian carmaker isn't a proponent of keeping a model dragging on for years on end.
The 458's most recent predecessors were all replaced within six years from going on sale and that includes the 348 (1989–1995), F355 (1994–1999), 360 (1999–2005) and F430 (2004–2009).
As usual, Ferrari isn't opening its cards yet, but our spies tracked down a slightly modified prototype (or test mule) of the 458 coupe with its front wheel arches chopped down, driven by the firm's engineers on the snow in northern Sweden.
At this point, there's too little information to say whether Ferrari is working on a facelift, a completely new replacement or perhaps simply testing some new gear on the 458. However, if one of the first two explanations holds true, then we will no doubt see more testers out in the open in the coming months.
Ferrari 458 Italia facelift to be introduced next year with a turbocharged engine
Could have approximately 670 bhp (500 kW)
According to a recent report, the facelifted Ferrari 458 Italia will be introduced sometime next year and be called the 458M or 458T.
While Ferrari is keeping details a closely guarded secret, the company recently confirmed plans to launch a new model every year with a four-year lifecycle. They will then be followed by "M versions" which will last another four years.
Little else is known about the model but Car Magazine is reporting it will feature a turbocharged 3.8-liter V8 engine that develops approximately 670 bhp (500 kW). If this number pans out, the car will be 108 bhp (80 kW) more powerful than its predecessor which can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in less than 3.4 seconds and hit a top speed in excess of 325 km/h (202 mph).
Ferrari 458 Italia to Reportedly Get 670HP Turbocharged V8 for its First Facelift
Ferrari’s decision to put a turbocharged engine into the California T has a lot to do with emissions regulations and fuel economy standards, and it appears that the sports car manufacturer will do the same thing for other models as well.
If we’re to believe this report from CAR Magazine, not even the widely-acclaimed 458 Italia will escape the turbocharging trend, despite the fact that its target group is a lot more performance-focused than customers opting for a California T, 70 percent of which are first-time Ferrari buyers.
According to the report, with its first facelift scheduled for 2015, the 458 Italia will also receive an uprated version of the California T’s 3.9-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine. After implementing these significant changes, the 458 Italia could to change its name into 458M, according to Ferrari’s 5-year plan revealed last month, but 458 T is another possibility.
In the California T, the 3.9-liter twin-turbocharged V8 produces 552hp and 557 lb-ft (754 Nm) of torque. However, for the facelifted 458 Italia, the engine will be tuned to develop around 670hp – which would make it a full 100hp more powerful than the current naturally-aspirated 4.5-liter V8.
To offset turbocharging effects on engine sound and power delivery, Ferrari is expected to deploy complex exhaust systems and engine management microchips. In the California T, Ferrari torque is limited in lower gears to encourage drivers to rev all the way up to the 7,500 rpm redline and a similar trick could be used in the facelifted 458 Italia.
Baby Ferrari 458 With Turbo V6 Under Consideration
Rumors of a turbocharged Ferrari 458 successor are already spreading, but how about a smaller twin-turbo V6 variant?
The Italian automaker is considering a smaller, slightly more affordable model based on the 458 that would have a shortened wheelbase and be powered by a twin-turbo V6. The idea would be to cater to two different segments with closely related models, similar to what McLaren is doing with its upcoming P13. Overall, expect such a model to be leaner and slimmer than the 458 that could even make a compelling case to bring back a manual transmission to Ferrari’s lineup.
Similar to earlier reports of the Ferrari 458 considering a turbocharged powerplant, expect the V6 to displace 2.9 liters in order to take advantage of tax benefits in China. Considering Audi recently churned out 525 hp from a 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine, don’t be surprised to see Ferrari produce at least 500 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque with a twin-turbo V6.