Ferrari’s next generation of the V8 sports car after the 355, the 360 Modena, is a clean-sheet design anticipating future trends in Ferrari road cars. These trends include weight reduction combined with greater chassis rigidity.
The new approach employs technology based on the use of aluminum for the chassis, body shell, and suspension wishbones. The exclusive use of aluminum, a first for a Ferrari road car, has enabled Ferrari’s engineers to reduce the 360 Modena’s dry weight by 100 kg compared to the 355 despite rather more generous dimensions resulting in greater comfort and storage space. Performance has also improved across the board thanks to both a power:weight ratio 0.9lbs/bhp better than the car’s predecessor, and the exceptional 3586cc 90° V8 engine providing 400bhp at 8500rpm and 275lb-ft at 4750rpm. The 360 Modena is the culmination of research and experimentation with the use of aluminum on everything from Formula 1 cars, to the 408 4RM prototype and the GT competition cars which were always fabricated in aluminum. The 360 Modena combines Ferrari heritage with innovation.
Aluminum responsible for improving the power to weight ratio byt 0.9lbs/bhp. As a result, the 360 Modena is 0.8 of a second faster at 22.9 seconds over a kilometre from a standing start and has also cut nearly 3 seconds off its predecessor’s lap time at the Fiorano track. The transmission features a longitudinal gearbox that allows larger diffusers to be incorporated on the flat underside. The 6-speed gearbox is available as a manual or with the F1 electrohydraulic shift.
The 360 Modena is the 163rd Ferrari designed by Pininfarina. This helps explain the successful mix of innovative design elements and styling solutions inspired by classic Ferraris, such as the 268SP, the 250LM and Dino 246GT.
The front is dominated by two large air intakes for the radiators. This solution is vital to the car’s aerodynamics. The intakes channel air beneath the car’s flat undertray to the two rear diffusers, providing ground effect, and the location reduces width and thus frontal area. Air pressure increases downforce as speed rises and, at 180mph, there is an impressive 397lbs pressing down on the car, evenly distributed between the two axles. This result was achieved without ruining the lines of the car and it also enhances safety by increasing the "natural" steering load at speed. 5,400 hours of wind tunnel testing resulted in excellent Cd and CI figures without compromising the car’s styling. The distinctive rear-end treatment leaves the engine in full view beneath the rear window.
The side aspect features a curvilinear waistline that runs from the edge of the front fender and goes all the way to the rear light clusters, its wedge conveying a sense of speed and control. The car’s finely balanced proportions initially disguise the fact that it is mid-engined, with both the passenger compartment and the powerplant set neatly between the two axles.
The engineers’ goal for the 360 Modena was 40% greater structural rigidity and a 28% reduction in weight from the F355, and these were achieved despite a 10% increase in overall dimensions. Extruded and formed aluminum, almost the exclusive component of the body and chassis, is responsible for the car’s traits. The body and chassis pass all global passive safety requirements while providing excellent handling and a stunning appearance. The 360 Modena’s bodywork evokes the sporting characteristics of the foremost V8 sports car whether static or in motion.
The 360 Modena’s spaceframe chassis was designed by Ferrari and built in collaboration with US aluminum specialist Alcoa. Extruded box-section aluminum chassis members are combined with cast parts produced using different foundry technologies. The engineers’ objectives were a minimum torsional rigidity of 10,127lb-ft per degree and a minimum bending stiffness figure of 22.5 tons per inch. These stringent parameters were amply exceeded by employing variable-section extrusions which are welded to cast sections. There are 12 of these castings incorporated in the lower part of the chassis, including the four suspension mountings. All parts are sand-cast in Ferrari’s foundry in Maranello. Employing the same techniques used in F1, the shock absorber towers are CNC machined after assembly to ensure that the mounting points for the suspension components are drilled with absolute precision. The upper chassis structural assemblies are vacuum-cast to reduce their thickness.
The 360’s 5-valve per cylinder, 3586 cubic cm V8 engine produces 400bhp and is centrally mounted with dry-sump lubrication, and the oil tank is placed, F1-style, on the spacer between the longitudinal engine and unitary gearbox. The car rockets from 0-100 km/h in 4.5s and covers the kilometer sprint in 22.9 seconds. Pick-up is spectacular thanks to excellent torque which peaks at 275lb-ft at 4750rpm, 80% of that available at just 3000rpm. The engine’s flexibility means that the car is relaxing and easy to drive even in heavy traffic. Power output is a record-breaking 400bhp at 8,500rpm (112bhp/litre) the highest figure yet achieved by a naturally-aspirated V8 production engine. The power unit features a variable geometry intake system, five-main bearing crankshaft with counter-balanced 180° crank throws, titanium con rods, 5 valves per cylinder (3 intake, 2 exhaust, the latter with variable valve timing for improved performance at high speeds) and a Bosch ME 7.3 electronic engine management system. The latter, via the CAN - Controlled Area Network - allows the injection system to transmit and receive data from the ignition which is integrated with the drive-by-wire electronic accelerator that, in turn, is connected to the ASR traction control and, where fitted, the system that manages the F1 electrohydraulic transmission.
The drive-by-wire regulates air induction with a motorized throttle. On the 360, the accelerator pedal activates a potentiometer connected to a pair of engine management units. The CAN system also allows the various control units to communicate with the ASR traction control system and the F1 gearbox control so that, taking into consideration performance parameters and vehicle speed, the engine management system decides on the appropriate throttle angle. The drive-by-wire system makes a vital contribution during gearshifts, ensuring that they take place at the engine speed recommended by the control unit. The 360 Modena has benefited enormously from Ferrari’s experience with Formula 1 engine technology, which contributed variable-length intake manifolds to optimize torque at all engine speeds. The system incorporates two plenums each supplying air to one bank of cylinders, through short direct tracts connected to the same bank or through longer indirect ones connected to the opposite bank via valves.
The 360 Modena’s 6-speed gearbox is available with either the classic gate-shift or the Fl-style paddle shift. The manual system offers triple cone synchronizers on 1st and 2nd gears, with a double cone on the others. The dry single plate clutch has coaxial hydraulic drive and the limited slip differential has different locking percentages (25% on acceleration and 45% on lift off). Ferrari introduced paddle shift to Formula 1 and this solution is now used by all teams. The 360 Modena’s F1 transmission, which changes gears in a mere 150 milliseconds, has an optimized full automatic option as well as manual mode, and a low grip Snow and Ice mode. Manual changes are effected through the two paddles behind the steering wheel - the right paddle selects a higher ratio, while the left drops a gear. The pedal-less clutch is automatically activated by the gearbox’s electronic control unit, and engages only when the engine revs are correct. If the sports suspension setting has been selected the gearbox software adapts the speed of changes, and the 360 Modena is thus stable in conditions beyond the capabilities of most sports cars.
The 360 Modena has superb road dynamics thanks to a long wheelbase, wide front track, a superb suspension geometry, and electronic control. The car rides on an adjustable suspension with dual aluminum wishbones front and rear. Anti-dive and anti-squat geometries are incorporated front and rear so the car remains level under braking and acceleration. The aluminum dampers, co-designed with Sachs, are equipped with an electronic control unit. All body and wheel movements are thus guided in a process that takes just 0.04 seconds to eliminate any rolling or pitching.
Befitting a high-performance sports car, the 360 Modena’s brakes include large 13 inch diameter vented and cross-drilled discs with sensitive hydraulically actuated four-piston aluminum calipers, controlled by a braking effort proportioning valve and an ABS system that prevents wheel lock-up in deceleration. The large rotors also help maintain a low thermal load, and improve resistance to fading without forced cooling. Although Ferrari engineers placed an emphasis on decelerative stability, the 360 Modena stops in record short distances.
Wheels and tires have been designed for the Modena with the goals of reducing aquaplaning and steering effort; the results of computer simulations prompted the adoption of smaller front tires (215/45 ZR18) and larger rear tires (275/40 ZR18) mounted on 7.5" and 10" wide wheels respectively. The development tests carried out with Bridgestone, Michelin, Pirelli, and Goodyear, confirmed that the initial choice offered all desired advantages, and the special alloy wheels weigh about 2lbs less than the magnesium wheels of the F355, thanks to stylistic optimization and the new channel technology.
The layout and design of the 360 Modena’s cabin are the result of research into the ultimate balance of sportiness, ergonomics and space. Thanks to increased dimensions, the interior is noticeably more spacious than that of previous two-seat V8 models. All the main instruments are grouped together in the driver’s line of sight. On versions equipped with the F1 transmission, the tachometer incorporates a gear engagement read-out while the two gear selector levers are set behind the rim of the steering wheel. On all versions the latter adjusts fully and, despite its distinct appearance, incorporates a full-sized airbag. A passenger-side airbag is also standard. The interior is trimmed in traditional Connolly leather and features a number of aluminum parts, this metal being a defining aspect of the 360 Modena. The cockpit was designed to accommodate taller than average users, making ingress, egress, and the right driving position easy for anyone. The seats have four-way manual or six electric adjustments, and the colour of the sumptuous leather upholstery and even its stitching are up to the purchaser. The generous dimensions of the 360 Modena, especially its length and height, also allowed the design team to create a 4.2 cubic foot space behind the seats, large enough for a couple of suitcases or a golf bag, in addition to the front boot with its capacious 7.8 cubic feet of space.