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Hennessey Ferrari 458 pushes 545kW

Texas tuner Hennessey Performance, best known for making big, lazy home-grown V8's do the nasty, has turned its attention to a V8 that, even in standard trim, is anything but lazy - the 420kW 4.5-litre unit under the rear cover of the Ferrari 458.

And the finished article will be on display from Friday at the Concorso Italiano, a display of Italian machinery that's part of the annual celebration of classic and historic cars informally known as the Monterey Weekend, and on Saturday, it'll be parked in the paddock of the nearby Laguna Seca racetrack.

Company founder John Hennessey, never one to hide his cars' light under a tappet cover, said: "The HPE700 Twin Turbo 458 delivers a sound and driving experience that few road cars can offer.

"Aventador owners beware - this car will take you by surprise!"

According to the man himself, the HPE700 upgrade 545kW at 8400rm (that's 125kW up on standard!) backed up by 723Nm at 5600rpm. That's good enough for 0-100 in less than three seconds and an explosive quarter-mile time of 10.5 seconds (firmly in superbike territory) with a terminal velocity of 219km/h.

Most of the bolt-on componentry is neatly stowed under specially made carbon-fibre covers - low-inertia ball-bearing turbochargers tucked up near the tail end of the dual-clutch sequential seven-speed gearbox, stainless-steel fabricated branches, twin wastegates and a very neat aluminium plenum housing an air-to-water intercooler, feeding a rear-mounted heat exchanger with dual electric fans.

Maximum boost is only half a bar, dropping to 0.4 at the redline, all modulated by a re-mapped engine-control computer. It's an elegantly engineered system because it has to be, to fit into the 458's cramped engine bay.

SHOW TO MATCH THE GO

Also available for your 458 are Hennessey 20" monobloc forged rims and a KW suspension system with two-way adjustable dampers and threaded preload rings for accurate corner weighting and ride-height adjustment.

In addition, Hennessy Performance is developing a carbon-fibre front splitter and rear lip spoiler, while interior upgrades can be as extensive as you want, including custom leather/alcantara colour combinations, special stitch patterns and carbon-fibre trim elements for the dashboard and instrument cluster.

BOTTOM LINE

The HPE700 Twin Turbo upgrade will cost you $59 995 (R596 000) installed (that's over and above the cost of your basic Ferrari 458) and includes full dyno tuning and road testing, serial-numbered aluminium plaques for the engine compartment and dashboard, Hennessey badging and a one-year or 20 000km limited warranty.

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