When we first got wind of the Ferrari 458 Italia’s upcoming refresh, we heard it would arrive with a smaller engine, a turbocharger or two, and it would wear the badge M458-T. The M stands for Modificata, and signifies any car that has been heavily modified, but not replaced. The 458 denotes the model, and the T is there to proclaim the car’s usage of force induction.

What we didn’t really know was what engine would make it into the car, or what kind of power it would produce. Recently, the folks over at AutoCar found some of their usual “sources” and got to work trying to figure out the details of the upcoming car. We still don’t have any hard and fast facts, but we do have some very strong and believable guidelines that Ferrai is aiming for.

First, the current 4.5-liter V-8 is gone, to be replaced by a smaller engine. The smaller engine has no confirmed displacement, but Ferrari needs to shoot for less than 4.0 liters to avoid a massive tax hike in China. As one of the largest new-car markets, Ferrari will be doing everything it can to make its cars appeal more to Chinese buyers.

The engine will feature a pair of turbochargers to increase horsepower above current levels; expect final figures to sit at 650 horsepower or more, beating the rival McLaren 650S’ 641 ponies. Torque will be an issue with this new engine, as the current transmission that Ferrari uses can’t handle the excessive level of torque this new motor will produce. The seven-speed Getrag auto is used across the Ferrari lineup and in the California T already has a limited torque output to prevent destroying the cog-swapper. Even the mighty V-12 engine in the LaFerrari only produces a max torque level of 516 pound-feet.

The final unanswered question revolves around Ferrari’s naming scheme. The 458 is named for its 4.5-liter engine and eight-cylinder engine. With a smaller displacement, Ferrari could alter the name to be the M408-T to match a 4.0-liter engine, or it could just leave it 458 because it’s Ferrari and it does as it pleases.

Like all things revolving around rumors and speculation, this info should be taken with a grain of salt. And don’t forget to keep your eyes locked here on TopSpeed.com. This new 458 is expected to be announced at Geneva next year, and we will be sure to keep you all updated on the news as it gets released.

Click past the jump to read more about the future Ferrari M458-T.

Why it matters

For legislative, tax and economical issues, Ferrari needs smaller displacement engines to compete better in the global marketplaces. Forced induction allows the Prancing Horse to keep power and performance at the level that fans and owners expect, while still meeting crucial goals around emissions and fuel-economy expectations.

It is sad to see the last naturally aspirated Ferrari V-8 disappear, but there seems to be very little that can stop this eventuality.

I just only hope that the team at Getrag can get the gearbox sorted so Ferrari is not forced to artificially limit torque from the engine.

Ferrari M458-T

2016 Ferrari 488 GTB Exterior Spyshots
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The Ferrari 458 Italia is the latest in a long and illustrious history of mid-engined Ferrari supercars. The car first went on sale in 2009, and Ferrari is now looking to upgrade the aging machine. The replacement is tentatively named the M458-T and it will feature smaller V-8 engine with forced induction via turbochargers to increase power output beyond the current car.

Horsepower is expected to hover around the 650 range with torque coming in around 550 pound-feet. A three-second sprint to 60 mph should be possible, and the car should have a top speed just over 200 mph.

Source: AutoCar

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