Pros: Gorgeous styling will turn heads anywhere you go; New Spider model keeps the coupe's beautiful styling; Impressive dual-clutch transmission is lightning-quick; Interior surprisingly refined compared to F430

Cons: Extremely expensive to buy, drive and insure; You can only take one passenger along for the thrilling ride

What's new: The 2013 Ferrari 458 Italia is largely unchanged following the 2012 debut of a folding hardtop convertible model called the 458 Spider.

Overview:

The 458 Italia is Ferrari's latest model to use the brand's mid-engine architecture, which traces its lineage back to the 1968 "Dino" 206 GT. The 458 changes the game in two big ways: for one, it no longer offers a manual transmission - a feature that was mandatory as late as 1997 and offered in mid-engine models through 2009. The 458's other new feature is the Spider's folding hardtop - a first on a mid-engine Ferrari convertible.

The 458 Italia offers impressive muscle under its beautiful skin. The supercar is powered by a 4.5-liter V8 that produces 570 horsepower and a muscular 540 pound-feet of torque. The only available transmission is a dual-clutch, seven-speed automatic, which helps the 458 hit 60 mph from a stop in around 3.4 seconds. Many enthusiasts believe a "high performance" version of the 458 will debut in the next few years, along the lines of the brand's lightweight 360 Challenge Stradale and 430 Scuderia.

The 2013 Ferrari 458 Italia is priced at a whopping $234,000 for a coupe, or $257,000 for the droptop 458 Spider. That's before you start adding options. Electric seats cost an extra $3,500, while an iPod jack is around $900 installed. With all the extras, it's easy to spend nearly $300,000 on the beautiful 458 Italia.

author photo

Josh Sadlier is an automotive journalist based in Los Angeles and has contributed to such publications as Edmunds.com and DriverSide.com. He holds arguably the most unexpected degree in his profession: a master's in Theological Studies.

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