Ferrari has revealed its replacement for the 360 Modena, the F430. It’s an aluminium-constructed, mid-engined two-seater, with a compact, 90-degree V8 engine, though with some 483bhp, it’s significantly more powerful than the 394bhp 360 Modena, as Ferrari tries to keep pace with the car’s nearest rival, Lamborghini’s 493bhp Gallardo.
Excitingly focused mini-Enzo looks, fabulously energetic engine, ultra-sharp but easy-to-drive handling, an F1 shift which works as it should, huge stopping power with optional carbon-ceramic brakes, every drive is a special occasion with the Ferrari F430. Servicing is cheaper than for 360, too.
The thrilling news that Ferrari has won the Constructors’ World title for the sixth consecutive year and the Drivers’ World title for the fifth consecutive year, courtesy of Michael Schumacher, is still ringing in our ears. Ferrari has achieved these results thanks to its enormous, ongoing commitment to R&D, allowing continuous technological transfer from Formula 1 to road cars.
The most recent example of this transfer is the F430, unveiled for the very first time to the public here in Paris. The new F430 hails the arrival of a whole new generation of Ferrari 8-cylinder berlinettas and takes the aluminium technologies first used in the 360 Modena to a new level. It also offers a series of spectacular innovations directly derived from Ferrari’s Formula 1 single-seaters. Two of these innovations are world firsts for productions cars: the electronic differential (E-Diff) initially developed by Ferrari for its F1 single-seaters and designed to make the most of the engine’s torque to optimise traction, and the handily placed steering wheel-mounted commutator switch (better known to the Scuderia drivers as ’manettino’) which directly controls the integrated systems governing vehicle dynamics.
The F430 is powered by a completely new 4308 cc engine. The new V8 delivers a massive 490 hp and a specific power of 114 hp/l. Its performance is absolutely excellent too: 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62 mph) acceleration in four seconds flat and a top speed in excess of 315 km/h (196 mph).
Within the context of this reorganisation, the new Brand Development & Partners division was created in June, headed by Antonello Perricone. This new division manages sponsors, develops licensing and merchandising, and broadens commercial activities focusing on the Ferrari Brand and its heritage.
A reorganisation of the Ferrari Maserati Group’s direct commercial presence on its largest markets is also taking place. With the recent opening of the Ferrari West Europe regional branch in Paris to manage the French, Benelux and Iberian Peninsula markets, and the United Kingdom subsidiary, which join the well-established North America, Germany and Switzerland branches, the Ferrari Maserati Group now directly controls the markets which account for 80% of its clients. A showroom in Russia was also opened and presence in China was consolidated through a joint venture. Needless to say, both of the latter countries boast enormous commercial potential.
When Ferrari designed the 4.2 litre V8 motor for Maserati after purchasing the Italian sports firm, everyone was sure it had something in mind for its own use. It turns out we were right, as it’s now the powerplant for this very car. Enlarged to 4308 cc, the engine received several internal upgrades, which include a larger, 81 mm stroke which should allow the motor to rev higher and harder.
The steering wheel on the F430 is a functional link to Ferrari’s famous F1 cars. Like the Enzo, it features thumb-actuated horn buttons on the wheel’s rim, as well as a large, red starter button. The steering wheel also houses the rotary knob which features a five-setting adjustment for the car’s traction and stability control, E-diff, active dampers and transmission program.
The F1-inpsired system has settings for normal conditions, ice, slippery roadways, racing and ASR-off - each can be selected to suit the driver’s needs. Think of it as a condensed version of Schumacher’s own wheel. From what we’ve seen of the F430, we can safely say that the interior’s a close copy of the exterior - plenty of references to the Enzo, but well within the domain of the Modena.
The dashboard and instrumentation are straightforward with yellow-faced rev-counter up front and center. All other gauges are smaller and offset to either side with standard black faces. The center console takes on a simpler look, with a radio, Enzo-style five-star vents and simple rotary switches for the HVAC system. Fine leather trim swathes the dashboard, and a pair of sporty, redesigned bucket seats.
The F430 signals the arrival of a brand new generation of V8-engined Ferrari berlinettas. Every inch of the car was inspired by the engineering research carried out at Ferrari’s Gestione Sportiva F1 racing division. The result is a highly innovative design, characterized by cutting-edge technologies perfected for use on a road-going car. Two of these innovations are world firsts for production cars: the electronic differential (E-Diff) initially developed by Ferrari for its F1 single-seaters and designed to make the most of the engine’s torque to optimize traction, and the handily placed steering wheel-mounted rotary switch (better known to the Formula 1 drivers as the manettino) which directly controls the integrated systems governing vehicle dynamics. The F430’s light, compact 4308 cc engine is completely new and gives the car its name. It punches out 490 hp and delivers a specific power output of 114 hp/l and 465 Nm of torque. Needless to say, performance is outstanding: acceleration from zero to 62mph (100 km/h) in 4 seconds flat and a maximum speed in excess of 196 mph (315 km/h).
Every area of this latest Prancing Horse car has been influenced by Formula 1. For instance, owners can order a braking system using carbon-ceramic discs which offer superior stopping power and give the driver the satisfying feeling of being in complete control of the vehicle even in the most demanding situations. The F430’s aerodynamics are also highly innovative for a road car: its shape has been honed to generate special flows to increase downforce and improve cooling. Every last component of this new Ferrari has been perfected to deliver outstanding performance and maximum driving pleasure.
The F430’s nose is characterised by two distinctive air intakes that channel air into generously dimensioned radiators to cool the powerful engine. The two intakes are linked at their lower edge by a spoiler that directs the air towards the car’s flat underbody. The F430’s vertically stacked headlights are extremely compact thanks to the use of Bi-xenon technology. Large air vents just ahead of the front wheels channel the air out of the radiators and along the car’s flanks. Generous scoops at the top of the rear wheelarches channel air into the engine. The side view is completed by the new 19" wheels with the 5 twin-spoke layout that combine classic Ferrari design flair with exceptional levels of structural rigidity combined with light weight.
The Enzo Ferrari was the inspiration for much of the rear styling of the new F430. The type and arrangement of the lights are the same with the latter protruding quite prominently from the bodywork. Another similarity is the shape of the air vent for the engine with the chrome Prancing Horse at its centre.
The F430 is powered by a new 90° V8 featuring Ferrari’s traditionally uncompromising design approach with a flat-plane crank (180° between throws). This is an all-new unit that does not share any components with the 360 Modena’s engine. The improvement in terms of performance, weight and reduction of overall dimensions is the result of applying Ferrari’s wealth of F1 experience to its road cars. Despite a 20% increase in engine displacement (from 3586 cc to 4308 cc), engine weight has grown minimally by just 4 kg, while performance is considerably improved across the board. Torque increases by 25% (343 lb-ft at 5250 rpm, 80% of which is already available at 3500 rpm) and power by 23% (490 bhp at 8500 rpm).
The engine is extremely compact with a cylinder spacing of just 104 mm. Similarly, Ferrari’s engineers integrated the sump and main bearings in a single casting which, along with a smaller diameter twin-plate clutch and flywheel, has reduced the engine height between the bottom of the oil sump and the crankshaft to just 130 mm (from 145 mm on the 360 Modena power unit).
One of the technical features that sets the F430 apart is the E-Diff or electronic differential. This solution has been used for years in F1 single-seaters and has been continuously developed and refined, effectively transferring massive torque levels to the track under extremely high cornering g-forces. The E-Diff is now standard equipment on the F430 - the first time that a production car has been equipped with such a sophisticated system for high-performance roadholding. On the track, the E-Diff guarantees maximum grip out of bends, eliminating wheel spin. On the road it is a formidable technological refinement that improves roadholding. This system is available both on the F1-paddle shift version as well as on the manual gearbox model and consists of three main subsystems:
a high-pressure hydraulic system, shared with the F1 gearbox (if present);
a control system consisting of valve, sensors and electronic control unit;
a mechanical unit housed in the left side of the gearbox.
The F430 features a new cast-aluminium transmission casing that houses the gearbox in unit with the electronic differential and bevel type final drive, as well as the engine oil tank. The 6-speed gearbox incorporates multicone synchronizers, while both the 6th gear and the final drive have been lengthened to make the most of the greater power and torque of the new engine. The F430 is available with either the classic Ferrari open-gate manual gearbox or with the F1 paddle shift that Ferrari has continuously developed and refined over recent years for its road-going berlinettas.
Thanks to that ongoing development, Ferrari’s F1 gearbox for the F430 is state of the art, introducing a number of important modifications: thanks to inputs from the engineers on the Gestione Sportiva racing side, the F1 gearbox management incorporates a new control strategy which further perfects gearchange speed and smoothness under hard use. Changing gear takes just 150 milliseconds, as measured by the ‘hole’ in acceleration during the change (intended as the overall time from declutching, changing gear to releasing the clutch).
The F430’s interior has been re-designed for improved driver ergonomics. The instruments are housed in a new binnacle, and this design together with the layout of the dashboard underlines the care that has gone into grouping all the major controls in front of the driver within easy reach. In the driver’s direct line of sight are the rev counter, which features new graphics with a choice of either a red or yellow background and a new metal surround, the digital readout of the gear ratio selected (F1 version) and a multi-function display. The same uncompromising approach to driver control was the inspiration behind mounting the starter button and manettino on the steering wheel. The wheel itself is new with the upper rim flattened to improve visibility in the straight ahead position, and the horn pushes are integrated into the inner rim where they can be easily actioned.
The interior reflects the advanced technology and materials employed in the car’s construction, and can be personalized with carbon-fibre or aluminium inserts. The cockpit is noticeably bigger and the already excellent passenger comfort is subsequently increased thanks to a slimmer central tunnel which houses the gear lever turret on the manual version and the F1 console on the paddle-shift version. There is plenty of space behind the rear seats, with a new electrically operated compartment for oddments storage and catch netting to the rear fire wall. The seats have been redesigned for greater lateral containment and the standard electric seats can be substituted by more sporting items with four-point harnesses to order (depending on markets).