One of the main concerns anyone thinks about when potentially getting into supercar ownership is whether the thing is going to be reliable or not. It’s one thing saving up for years and years to be able to get yourself into a position where you might just be able to afford to buy (or finance) one. It’s another thing to be hit with a massive repair bill when something goes wrong!
There are some things that you just know you have to add to the cost such as insurance, taxes and annual servicing – all of which you can have a pretty good idea about beforehand. The worry is the unexpected costs! What are the chances of something going wrong during ownership? All of a sudden, you’re hit with a $20k bill and you’re considering putting your kids on eBay.
There are some cars that certainly have a better reputation for reliability than others (there’s a reason why many people used to think that Lotus stood for Lots Of Trouble Usually Serious) – however, that’s no longer the case. Indeed, it’s not the case for many supercars but what about the Ferrari 458? What can you expect to go wrong during your years of ownership?
Is the Ferrari 458 reliable? The Ferrari 458 Italia is generally considered to be a reliable supercar. Despite a few problems being reported by its owners, they are not widespread and common enough for the car to be considered as unreliable.
Ferrari 458 Overview
The Ferrari 458 (also known as the 458 Italia) replaced the Ferrari 430 in 2009 and the model was available from this time until 2015. The 458 was powered by a 4.5 liter V8, generating over 560 hp married up with a dual-clutch 7-speed transmission.
Performance wise, you won’t be surprised to hear (or I bet you probably already know) that the 458 is not slow. Capable of reaching 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds, the V8 behind you will keep pushing you along until it reaches its top-end at just over 200 mph.
As you would expect, a few variants of the 458 would be available during its production. The 458 Spider became available the year after initial release, in 2010 and became very popular. The roof mechanism on the Spider takes 14 seconds to work, does not impact acceleration and only has a minor impact on top end (199 mph compared with 202 mph).
In 2013, the much sought after 458 Speciale was shown-off at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. Apart from quite a few changes to design and aero, the performance was increased also, reducing the 0-60 mph time to just 3 seconds.
What Do We Consider Unreliable?
For the purpose of this article, if we’re going to talk about how reliable a car is we need to define what we mean by ‘unreliable’. Firstly, there is no supercar out there that we could categorize as ‘unreliable’ these days. There’s just no place for them in the modern world with so much (good) competition. What we are looking for are:
- Potential manufacturing defects that have required recalls and have affected the reliability of the car.
- Known problems that are known in the owners’ community but haven’t been acknowledged formally by the manufacturer.
- Problems with sourcing usually easy-to-get components, due to either lack of stock or the cost being prohibitive.
In summary, what we want to highlight is any issues that could bite you during your ownership. These issues might happen unexpectedly, frequently, and can cause you some stress and/or financial challenges. For example, the Porsche 986 Boxster is known for Intermediate Shaft Bearing failures (otherwise known as IMS issues). If you were unfortunate enough to encounter this, it could destroy the engine and you’d be looking at a $20,000 replacement. However, this doesn’t make the car unreliable. It’s a known issue with a known fix.
An example of an unreliable car would be (for instance) problems with it starting when cold or for another issue to occur so frequently you would never really know if you’re going to make it home after a long drive!
What Are The Known Ferrari 458 Problems?
Fortunately, with the Ferrari 458, it is fundamentally a solid car. Is there anything to watch out for? Sure, for instance:
- Transmission failures – for cars built between 2010 and 2011 there have been widespread reports from owners that occasionally the gears just go ‘missing’ and a manual reset is required that can sometimes fix the issue. This has sometimes it seems been related to bearings and has a crippling $25,000 fix associated with it!
- Crankshaft – there was a recall for a crankshaft problem that has the potential to cause engine failure.
- Fender-related fire risk – 2010 Ferrari 458’s were part of a recall due to adhesive problems related to the rear fender. It was possible that during high temperatures the adhesive used can catch fire and spread to the engine and lead to total car destruction.
- Roof problems in the spyder – part of the mechanism that controls the roof can jam (not good if it’s just started raining) and also some people have complained of water seeping in through the roof, causing related damage to the interior.
- Airbag problems – Ferrari issued a recall (source) related to an urgent airbag problem in certain 458’s. The problem was related to the passenger airbag and due to a defective inflator can basically send dangerous metallic fragments inside the cabin if deployed.
The above seems like quite a lot of things that can potentially go wrong but really it’s not. The above doesn’t exactly make the 458 Italia unreliable. These are known issues (although the transmission failures can seem to be a little random) and most can be fixed.
The important thing to do is establish when you’re looking for your car whether any of these issues have already occurred and whether they have been fixed or not. This is an advantage of buying a second-hand 458 with over 15,000 or so miles on it. You’ll know there’s a good chance that these problems will most likely have already occurred by this point and will have already been fixed for you!
How Much Will The Ferrari 458 Cost You Per Year?
The 458 Italia can cost you quite a bit of money if something goes wrong but in fairness, major problems are rare and you’ll be unlucky if something major does fail. However, there are some costs that you can’t escape, such as:
- Tires – a set of 4 P Zero’s will cost you in the region of $2k – however, you can get 10,000 miles out of these unless you’re on the track every weekend so this is probably not that bad.
- Servicing – expect (for regular services) around $1200-$1500 annually, although you can get them a lot lower if you look around.
- Depreciation – tricky one this and depends on how much you spend on the 458 and what year you got as well as other things, such as mileage and options. However, I think if you expect to lose around $5k a year in depreciation then you won’t be far wrong.
- The 458 Italia averages around 14 mpg, so errr that’s not a lot of miles. However, you don’t buy a supercar for its economy, right? How much it costs will, of course, depends on how many miles you do. Average around $500 a year though.
- Unexpected problems – impossible to quantify but if you have an extra $2k left to one side in the event of problems you should be able to cover most (if not all) things.
So, when you look at the above you may well come to the same conclusion as I, the Ferrari 458 Italia doesn’t cost that much to run. What can cost you the money is the initial purchase price and any unexpected surprises.
What’s the current cost of a 458?
Here are a few examples of current Ferrari 458 prices:
- 2011 Ferrari 458 Coupe with 20,000 miles – $159k
- 2010 Ferrari 458 Coupe with 14,000 miles – $169k
- 2015 Ferrari 458 Spider with 20,000 miles – $209k
- 2014 Ferrari 458 Coupe with 3,500 miles – $215k
- 2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale with 1,000 miles – $650k
Of course, there are many variables – particular service history records and what options the examples have but you can see how much more expensive the Speciale is!
The Ferrari 458 Italia can be described as a reliable car in general. Yes, it has been known for some problems in the past, particularly to do with its transmission. However, these are known and do not occur frequently enough to classify the car as ‘unreliable’. In fact, it’s difficult to think of any supercar that has been manufactured in the last decade that could really be classed as unreliable. There’s no reason for it these days and any manufacturer that suffered from this reputation would soon lose sales to numerous other competitors.
We are spoilt for choice these days with supercars at this price point. Whether it’s Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, McLaren or someone else – none of them are unreliable as such!
If you’re wondering whether you can afford a supercar then check out my article. Many people are surprised to learn that after looking at the numbers they can actually buy one for themselves!