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Delightful (and devilish) dozen: what to drive when styling and performance are paramount

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2015 Ferrari 458 Italia

Base price: $237,259 coupe, $261,162 convertible

After being with us pretty much unchanged for five years, this Italian thoroughbred still looks every bit as good as the day it was launched. The rear-wheel drive mid-engine, aluminum-bodied Ferrari has a 4.5-liter V-8 engine that is rated at 562-horsepower, and it propels the coupe version from 0-60 mph in just 3.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 202 mph. The Spider by its very design is less aerodynamically efficient, although possibly even more beautiful, which means its top speed is slightly lower at 198 mph. Both versions of the car feature the same Getrag seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, which means both the coupe and the Spider get gas mileage of around 12 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway. Although some rivals have more power and speed than the 458 Italia, few can match the incredible Formula One-inspired handling that is such of feature of the Ferrari. Part of the credit for that should go to the suspension, which has double wishbones at the front and a multi-link setup at the rear, coupled with E-Diff and F1-Trac traction control systems. Some cars can top the 458 in specific individual areas, but it hard to think of more stunning-looking car or a better overall package than the Ferrari 458 Italia.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]com