By on January 28, 2008

f43005_01.jpgThe days when Ferrari and Lamborghini were the sole, unquestionable, untouchable owners of the “supercar” moniker are gone. The Carrera GT’s clutch may have permanently besmirched Porsche’s “everyday supercar” rep, but the roadster's at least as dramatic as Maranello’s magic mounts. The SLR may be a dour machine driven by a brain-dead debutante, but the scissor-doored McMerc still has supercar written all over it. And those pesky Americans keep doing things to the Corvette that increase its credibility in the field of extreme machines. So is the “entry level” Ferrari F430 becoming a little, uh, pedestrian? 

What are you nuts? One look at Ferrari F430 and it tattoos the word “supercar” on your retinas. While taller and hunkier than previous Dino-descended mid-engined mounts, the F430’s Pininfarina-penned lines possesses the kind of purity of line associated with High Renaissance art. Unlike its in-house stable mates and Bologna-born competition, the F430’s mid-engine proportions and curvilinear contours are quintessentially Italian, quintessentially super. 

f43005_inter3.jpgI didn’t need to tell you that. But the F430’s interior is something of a shock, a radical departure from Enzo’s philosophy of selling his customers an engine and throwing the car in for free. It's a sacred place, blessed with first-class materials arranged with minimalist purity. Credit is due to the optional “carbon fiber driving zone” and its F1-inspired tiller. Though silly at first, the little red hash at the twelve o’ clock position provides entirely useful Pavlovian conditioning (for a mere five grand).  

Yes there are elegant details, but the stunning gauges are all, as befits a cockpit that places the pleasure of driving in the premier position. Taken as a whole, the F430’s sumptuous leather-wrapped interior feels like a stripped down racer. The engine-under-glass effect underlines the point. The branded induction system is the automotive equivalent of a brace of elephant guns gleaming in Hemingway’s weapons case: immaculately oiled, ready for action.

f43005_03.jpgFiring-up the F430’s 4.3-liter V8 is like watching the opening scene of a James Bond movie: predictably ridiculous, yet giddy-making in its promise of extreme violence. Engage the F1-style gearbox and you’re away. A. Long. Way. Away. Calling the F430 fast is like calling Miss America determined. Zero to sixty is a sub-four second experience of mammoth, manic intensity; it’s like being shot of a cannon into a black hole. The dual-stage exhaust goes from a martini-soaked Frank Sinatra to a cocaine-crazed Richard Patrick in less time than it takes to crank a stereo knob.

The F360 Modena was a high-revving beast whose blood curdling howls were the mother of adrenal acceleration. The F430 is a different animal entirely, endowed with Corvette-worthy low-end grunt. Those eight little Italian cylinders stump-up 343 ft-lbs of truck-like torque, taking the sauce all the way to 483hp, at a [still] preposterous 8500 rpm. Trundle around town? Si, we do that too. Bend time? That too.

f43005_04.jpgThe Ferrari’s F1 transmission is proof that racing improves the breed. The original system was a herky jerky joke. By now, the paddle shift transmission is as good as if not better than VW’s DSG. The F430’s manumatic engages the clutch with balletic grace– or NHL savagery. The F430 gently whisked me from the daily grind and gawking SUV owners. If Jimi Hendrix was reincarnated as a gearbox, I’d be standing next to his Fire.

That’s because the F430 is a Little Wing on four massive 19” wheels. Thanks to an impeccably tuned suspension, meticulously selected ratios and Satan’s own powerband, the pace is fervid, the progress distraction-free. A little seat time quickly confirms Lamborghini’s German intervention was the wrong move. Without question.

f43005_09_1024.jpgThe Italian F430 is opera to the Gallardo's heavy metal. The Gallardo is a weapon, but the F430 is the pinnacle of pistonhead performance pleasure. Even with rapid steering inputs, the G-forces build gently, effortlessly pushing you against its retro-Daytona seats. The steering feedback is so honest you’d think Simon Cowell is behind the headlights. This Detroit-fettled enthusiast will never forget that wonderful Saturday afternoon; the F430’s effortless rush makes exiting any bend a wake-up call for geographically biased automotive snobs.

Hell, even the Italian's electronic nannies have a unique, Ferrari themed persona. Never isolating and nebulous, the handling interferenza is as customer savvy as a concierge at the Waldorf-Astoria. That said, the F430's [optional] ceramic brakes' linear stopping and progressive punch leaves little need for computerized intervention.

f43005_02_1024.jpgI have never been so hardwired to a machine before; if Ferrari had an online dating service, Match.com would be screwed (so to speak). Yes, there are faster cars. Certainly, there are more luxurious cars. Reliable? Ha! But provided it’s not in the shop, the Ferrari F430 always delights, with its sublime handling, perfect mid-corner power and a roar that echoes in your mind for the rest of your years. 

[Thanks to Dr. Robert Scholl for providing the vehicle reviewed]

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88 Comments on “2008 Ferrari F430 Review...”


  • avatar
    NoneMoreBlack

    Cmon TTAC, challenge yourself! Reviewing Ferraris is too easy. Let’s see a product review of Ferrari branded sportswear, just to keep you on your toes.

  • avatar
    shaker

    I’ll probably never get to smell the exhaust of this car; thanks for the next best thing.

  • avatar

    Nope. Sure, it may be a super car, but it’s not a supercar.

    The very definition of “supercar”, back when the concept was invented, was “more outrageous than even great sports cars like the Ferrari 308″ (or Porsche 911, I suppose). The unofficial technical definition was, “mid-engined V12 monster”.

    The quintessential supercars were, in (approximately?) chronological order: the 512 Berlinetta Boxer, the Countach, the Testarossa, and the McLaren F1(*). Nobody would have dreamt of calling Urracos, Jalpas, 328s, 348s, Meraks and the like “supercars”.

    As the 430 is the great-grandson of the 308, not a scion of the (extinct!) 512BB / Testarossa line, the sad fact is that Ferrari doesn’t have a supercar any more, and hasn’t had one for quite a long time: The big V12 ones (numbers up around the 600 range and long Italian surnames, who cares to keep up any more?) have the engine at the wrong end nowadays — they’re GTs, not supercars — and the GTO/F40/Fwhatever/Enzo line has always been lacking in the cylinder department.

    The only supercars around today are the Murcielago, Carrera GT, Zonda, and of course the Über-supercar, the Veyron.

    And perhaps a few more like the Koenigsegg, the Saleen S7, and so on; I’m not sure how many cylinders they have, or if they get dispensations for their exotic origins. (And yes, an American car would indeed be an exotic among genuine supercars!) Actually, if it turns out the definition wasn’t “V12″, but “more than a V8″ (nobody made tens back then, so it was the same thing), the Gallardo and the upcoming Audi “R10″ qualify too (Even the M6 might! — Oh, right, no, it’s got the motor at the wrong end) — but the 430 still doesn’t.

    There, HTH! :-)

    (*): Some folks would add the Porsche Turbo and/or the BMW M1 (compensating for the lack of cylinders by general German Vorsprung-durch-Technik-ness), the XJ220 (by virtue of Britishness, and 220), and the Honda (“Acura”?) NSX (like the Germans). The definition was never that hard-and-fast… Only hard-and-fast enough to definitely exclude the 308 and its progeny. Which — did I mention that? — includes the 430.

  • avatar
    Gottleib

    Bravo, keeping the dream alive. I would if I could own one, even if it didn’t meet the purists definition of a “super car”. As is often said in this imperfect world, “it beats whatever is in second place.”

  • avatar
    pb35

    Somehow, I don’t see this as a 5-star car. I just don’t get it ;)

  • avatar
    JJ

    And those pesky Americans keep doing things to the Corvette that increase its credibility in the field of extreme machines.

    It’s plastic, the interior competes with previous gen Hyundais for lack of haptic and visual quality (3 different kinds of digital letter and number fonts, yay!) and the engine has less HP/cc than that same previous gen Hyundai probably has.

    Moreover it’s tacky.

    Anyway, I don’t really like the regular 430, because it’s not exactly pretty and now with the (amazing) Scuderia version, the regular one doesn’t seem so appealing anymore, especially as a “berlinetta”.

    As for the spider version, if you’re going to sacrifice some of the driving dynamics for an open top and some more posing qualities you might as well go ahead and buy the Gallardo, which is a lot better looking in my opinion. Same goes for the Aston V8 and DB9, that are somewhat less powerful but as a convertible who cares if it does 0-60 in 4 or 5 seconds.

    BTW GTO/F40/Fwhatever/Enzo…

    Nice…

    Ughh, that F50 was ugly, really an insult for the brand maybe even more than the Mondial and those 4 seater versions from the 70s/80s.

    It did have 12 cilinders though, like the Enzo…And technically (in a technician’s spin way) the 599GTB is mid-engined, because the engine is between the axles (behind the front axle).

  • avatar
    yournamehere

    it gets 5 stars because of the ferrari premium. anything with that horse on it gets an instant 30% bump in value regardless of actual performance

  • avatar
    Matthew Potena

    OK, who did Sajeev have to sleep with to get this review? Nice review, Sajeev! While I agree that there are faster and more “exotic” cars around, I would still classify this car as a supercar. It is as fast as all but the most recent supercars, it handles as well or better than most of the supercars do, while at the same time having the ability to be used every day. That alone is much harder to do than just slapping a big engine in a pretty shape that goes 210 mph. Oh, where do I sign up for the trip to Maranello to write a story on the factory?

  • avatar
    Zarba

    SuperCar?

    Well, it’s nearly as fast as an Enzo, will smoke an F50, and it handles better than either in the real world. Fact is, there’s not a car made that will keep up with an F430 on The Tail of The Dragon.

    Add in the fact that it looks better than a $5,000 hooker in a teddy, and…

    YES, its a “Supercar”.

  • avatar
    danms6

    And those pesky Americans keep doing things to the Corvette that increase its credibility in the field of extreme machines.

    It’s plastic, the interior competes with previous gen Hyundais for lack of haptic and visual quality (3 different kinds of digital letter and number fonts, yay!) and the engine has less HP/cc than that same previous gen Hyundai probably has.

    Once again, we’re comparing a $60k car to a $230k car. Performance numbers being nearly equal, how can anyone gripe about the interior? Also, anyone who brings up HP/L as a measure of car design (especially in high-displacement NA engines) should be shot.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    Damn I want that car!! Great review. I love that 7/8ths side view photo too.

  • avatar
    frontline

    The only aspect of that car that really excites me is that one yellow gauge! I just love it!

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    Also, anyone who brings up HP/L as a measure of car design (especially in high-displacement NA engines) should be shot.

    Why is that?

  • avatar
    NN

    Like being shot out of a cannon into a black hole

    Mr. Mehta, that was an excellent read.

  • avatar
    TexasAg03

    The only supercars around today are the Murcielago, Carrera GT, Zonda, and of course the Über-supercar, the Veyron.

    I think for a vehicle such as the Veyron, the term megacar would be more apt.

  • avatar
    pete

    Fantastico! Grazie!

    …and yes – of course it’s a supercar.

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    I’m not really a Ferrari fan but the 430 is a magnificent car.

    Is it pedestrian? no, if you’re going quick enough you won’t even notice the pedestrians.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    oboylepr : hp/L tells you absolutely nothing useful. hp/lb of engine weight or hp/mpg tell you much more about ‘efficiency’. hp/L is purely a theoretical exercise for nerds and marketing teams.

    TexasAg03 : In England they call cars like the Veyron “hypercars” to distinguish them from more pedestrian “supercars”

    I love this car but the price has jumped up so much over the 360 Modena. I seem to remember the Modena being a car in the $175,000 range (along with the Gallardo). This is a $250,000 car with a few options added.

  • avatar
    doktorno

    Great pictures.

  • avatar
    shoes

    Love your cool friends, Sajeev. The remark about the steering being as honest as Simon Cowell slayed me as well.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    I wish Ferrari built an Econobox in the future with a 4 cylinder engine with everything in it.

    For the price of $18,000 fully loaded.

    I wish.

  • avatar
    frontline

    BEAT: Your wish just came true and BMW will build it for you. It is called the MINI !!

  • avatar
    garllo


    “And those pesky Americans keep doing things to the Corvette that increase its credibility in the field of extreme machines.

    It’s plastic, the interior competes with previous gen Hyundais for lack of haptic and visual quality (3 different kinds of digital letter and number fonts, yay!) and the engine has less HP/cc than that same previous gen Hyundai probably has.

    Once again, we’re comparing a $60k car to a $230k car. Performance numbers being nearly equal, how can anyone gripe about the interior? Also, anyone who brings up HP/L as a measure of car design (especially in high-displacement NA engines) should be shot.”

    Given the experience I have with Corvettes I know that I can take one of those $60-70K pesky ZO6′s
    and have a great view of the F430-through the rear view mirror. If we look at HP/L , the new ZR1 comes in at around 10hp/L.

  • avatar
    JJ

    If we look at HP/L , the new ZR1 comes in at around 10hp/L.

    100, yes, but it has a supercharger to achieve that, which is a) cheating an b) takes away from the pure driving experience of the naturally aspirated high revving engine.

    As for HP/L as a measure of car design; it says a lot about the effort designers put in the car to perfect it. So if you want more HP, the easy answer is well just make it bigger or why, just bolt a charger on. This opposed to, let’s optimize all the parts of the engine so that it can withstand high revs and get the maximum out it. It says a lot about the quality of the parts and the engineering.

    However, HP/weight or HP/fuel consumption are valid ratios as well IMO.

  • avatar
    Chaser

    What a great review of a gorgeous car. Reminds me of when I was a kid drooling over Porsches, Lamborghinis, and Ferraris on the magazine rack at the local newstand. Thanks! :)

  • avatar
    Orian

    I have to laugh at those who don’t think HP/Liter is a valuable measure. It shows a marked improvement in engine efficiency.

    Ferrari is pumping out 490Hp and 343 lb/ft of torque from a 4.2 liter V8. It takes how big an engine naturally aspirated to do that from the big 3? Forced induction is always easy to pump out bigger numbers but at a cost.

    The current Z06 is listed at 505 HP…from a 7.0 liter engine. On paper it wins but real world is usually quite a bit different.

    The listed price starts at $173k and tops at $201k, not $230…still way out of my price range however.

    And people that say the Corvette is faster probably don’t realize that the guy driving the F430 could care less.

  • avatar
    Qusus

    Hey, what’s the wait list on these things. Any chance I could get a new one at the as tested 230K price within 6 months? No? C’mon Sajeev/TTAC commentators, I know you’ve got a hookup somewhere.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    “I have to laugh at those who don’t think HP/Liter is a valuable measure. It shows a marked improvement in engine efficiency.

    Ferrari is pumping out 490Hp and 343 lb/ft of torque from a 4.2 liter V8. It takes how big an engine naturally aspirated to do that from the big 3? Forced induction is always easy to pump out bigger numbers but at a cost.

    The current Z06 is listed at 505 HP…from a 7.0 liter engine. On paper it wins but real world is usually quite a bit different.”

    What does efficiency have to do with hp/L? Dictionary.com defines efficiency as “the ratio of the output to the input of any system.” As far as an engine’s performance is concerned, the basic inputs boil down to: how much metal is used to make the engine (weight and volume), how much the engine costs, and how much gas the engine uses. Everything else is pretty much irrelevant. A 6.2L small block doesn’t weigh appreciably more than an F430 engine, takes up about the same physical space, certainly doesn’t cost more money to manufacture, and returns better mpg. Which engine is more efficient again?

    If a certain car weighs XXXXlbs, can do 0-60 in X.X seconds, has an XXX top speed, gets XX mpg etc., who cares about hp/L? The key to getting high hp/L numbers (high revs) is no secret. As long as we’re talking about arbitrary figures, why not talk about torque/L (or better yet, torque/$)? The $200k Ferrari makes less torque than a $40k Chevy. Not that the Vette is by any means a better car, but you get the point. Comparing arbitrary numbers is meaningless. Performance is everything. It’s funny when you talk about the difference between ‘on paper’ and ‘the real world’ when hp/L is something that matters exclusively ‘on paper’

    An engine that weighs less makes for a lighter, more responsive car. An engine that uses less gas saves you money at the pump. An engine with high hp is exhilarating to drive. An engine with a broad torque band shoves you back in your seat. An engine with high hp/L does what exactly?!? Sure a high revving engine is great, but high hp/L is a byproduct of a high revving engine, not the other way around.

    I think somebody would be crazy to choose a Corvette over an F430 (unless, of course, they couldn’t afford an F430) but the Ferrari’s high hp/L has nothing to do with why it’s the superior car

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Well put, thetopdog. You saved me from having to reply to Orion. The 7.0L is far more fuel efficient than the slower F430, despite having much more displacement. This is thanks to a torque curve that can support very tall gearing, and fastidious attention to weight savings.

    Having said that….the Ferrari, for those of you who haven’t driven one, is really immune to pedestrian comparisons to lesser cars. Just fire it up and listen to it as you rip through the gears, and it doesn’t matter if a Corvette is faster. It just doesn’t. (And I’m a hard core Corvette lover)

  • avatar
    yournamehere

    i would take 60k buy a Cayman and keep the rest. or buy a vacation home or something. whats the point? how fast can you really go? if its a badge you want then your an idiot.

  • avatar

    NoneMoreBlack : Let’s see a product review of Ferrari branded sportswear, just to keep you on your toes.

    Sure thing: I once had a Ferrari T-shirt I bought as a souvenir from my trip to Modena. Everyone asked me why I’d buy that shirt if I couldn’t afford a Ferrari to go with. Review over.

    yournamehere : it gets 5 stars because of the ferrari premium. anything with that horse on it gets an instant 30% bump in value regardless of actual performance

    Kinda like racing stickers on a Honda adding 20hp? Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    Matthew Potena : OK, who did Sajeev have to sleep with to get this review?

    Rob is just a nice guy. That’s it. Trust me on this one. :)

    danms6 : Performance numbers being nearly equal, how can anyone gripe about the interior? Also, anyone who brings up HP/L as a measure of car design (especially in high-displacement NA engines) should be shot.

    Not to mention the Z06 will beat it pretty handily on most any track, on crappy run flat tires and do the whole thing after getting excellent fuel economy on the highway with massive torque and tall gearing.

    One thing about the F430, it still uses gearing to achieve such amazing speed. That’s not a bad thing, but there’s a difference between an ultra-light 7.0L motor and a well geared Italian masterpiece.

    TexasAg03 : I think for a vehicle such as the Veyron, the term megacar would be more apt.

    No my friend, the Veyron is what the Countach was 30 years ago. And what the Testarossa was 20 years ago. It’s an honest to God supercar.

    shoes : Love your cool friends, Sajeev. The remark about the steering being as honest as Simon Cowell slayed me as well.

    Couldn’t find a better analogy! But don’t forget, the friends with F-150 MidBoxes are just as cool. :)

    BEAT : I wish Ferrari built an Econobox in the future with a 4 cylinder engine with everything in it.

    Betcha you’d sell that unreliable turd and get a Honda within 6 months.

    JJ :So if you want more HP, the easy answer is well just make it bigger or why, just bolt a charger on. This opposed to, let’s optimize all the parts of the engine so that it can withstand high revs and get the maximum out it. It says a lot about the quality of the parts and the engineering.

    Forget about the ZR1. You know, just for a moment.

    The Z06′s engine has more power, less bulk, lower center of gravity, more economy and significantly less weight than the F430’s motor. Love it or hate it, the OHV motor is one of the most modern designs and does it all with less fuss.

    Orian : And people that say the Corvette is faster probably don’t realize that the guy driving the F430 could care less.

    As a Ferrari owner once told me at a drag strip, “it doesn’t matter if they are faster, I still won.” Can’t argue with that justification for getting your butt whooped!

    Qusus : Any chance I could get a new one at the as tested 230K price within 6 months? No? C’mon Sajeev/TTAC commentators, I know you’ve got a hookup somewhere.

    If you believe that, I got some prime beach front property in Wyoming I’d like to sell ya. :)

    thetopdog : An engine that weighs less makes for a lighter, more responsive car. An engine that uses less gas saves you money at the pump. An engine with high hp is exhilarating to drive. An engine with a broad torque band shoves you back in your seat. An engine with high hp/L does what exactly?!? Sure a high revving engine is great, but high hp/L is a byproduct of a high revving engine, not the other way around.

    Nicely put.

    Thetopdog: I think somebody would be crazy to choose a Corvette over an F430 (unless, of course, they couldn’t afford an F430) but the Ferrari’s high hp/L has nothing to do with why it’s the superior car

    Numbers are most certainly meaningless in Ferrari’s case.

  • avatar
    KnightRT

    You know, I’ve yet to see anyone criticize the Ford GT’s 600 HP supercharged 5.4L. Jeremy Clarkson liked it so much that he bought one.

    From what I’ve read of the ZR1 engine, it’ll be as good, or better than the Ford mill. GM has beefed up the internals, and the supercharger is of a new design that’s supposed to keep the power rush all the way to redline.

    In terms of sheer performance, it’ll be up there with the Zonda F, the Carrera GT, and the Enzo. The whole package, supercharger included, will be lighter, smaller, and more capable than all than three V12s, and it’ll last for the lifespan of the car. I’d call that a pretty impressive engineering achievement.

  • avatar
    TomAnderson

    Having been lucky enough to drive an F430 myself (belonging to my parents’ neighbor who is also a doctor), I have to nod in agreement to this whole review (though I didn’t really have much opportunity to push it in the turns-thank you grid pattern L.A. streets). Well done, Mr. M.

  • avatar
    Captain Neek

    @CRConrad:

    Your comment vis-a-vis the overuse of the term, “supercar” embodied my feelings on this subject exactly.

    Unlike “The Highlander”, there can be more than only “one” supercar, but not every porsche or ferrari is a “supercar”.

    The overuse of hyperbole can be ascribed to laziness, similar to the (over)use of exletives.

    My other field of “expertise” with respect to overuse of the prefix “super-” is in the field of fashion, where every emaciated 15-yr old with a local magazine cover is referred to as a, “supermodel”…

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    I live in Downtown Cincinnati located two blocks from a famous steakhouse (it made national news in 2007 for making OJ Simpson and his hangers-on leave when they showed up without a reservation – I think the table was meant for Michael Jordan and his group.) The owner of said steakhouse owns one of these F430s. Now, I love the sound of a Corvette at slow boil, but this F430 makes a sound that has actually stopped conversation inside my place. People looked at me and in as many words asked, “What the **** was that???” We all agree that the sound from that engine is one of the best sounding engines in recent memory. When even people that barely know the specs of the car they currently drive mention the music, Ferrari did their job!
    Now let’s see:
    $220,000+ to start, add Ferrari attitude and dealer markup, add some options like the fender badges, matching leather dash and red seat belts…ah hell, let’s make it $300,000 to start. Would Ferrari take payment in pints of blood?

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    As far as I am concerned, If I am not driving a Ferrari, I really don’t care what it is.

  • avatar

    So, Sajeev, are you now ruined for all other cars?

  • avatar

    I really don’t see what the big deal about this car is. Though I have never driven an F430, I have been in the passenger seat while my friends father attacked an auto cross road course. I personally think the engine sounds like a disaster, but the performance was impressive and the handling seemed precise. To say the F1 Box is better than DSG is certainly a joke, DSG shifts in 8ms (when gear is expected) for crying out loud.

  • avatar
    garllo

    “And people that say the Corvette is faster probably don’t realize that the guy driving the F430 could care less.”

    Very well put!!

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    “When even people that barely know the specs of the car they currently drive mention the music, Ferrari did their job!”

    And when a mere Chevrolet is repeatedly mentioned by comparison on a blog like this, then GM has done its job.

    And don’t forget, you will be able to buy TWO ZR1s AND one base vette for the price of this Ferrari.

  • avatar

    In a superbly written review, this line was particularly notable:

    If Jimi Hendrix was reincarnated as a gearbox, I’d be standing next to his Fire.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    I live near Wellesley Massachusetts and see a lot of exotic cars like this one.

    This car is loud. A price to pay for buying a Ferrari and guess what? Lambos are even more louder. You can buy an STI, Evo 9 and 10
    for the price of this car. Of course you can beat a Ferrari with some performance upgrade.

  • avatar

    Other than the fact that its absurdly loud, what aural pleasure does this car give you? At least the Gallardo is pleasant to listen to with its bellowing V10. I’m really baffled as to why the sound of the F430′s raspy engine is revered amongst car enthusiasts. Please don’t crucify me for having an opinion that differs from the masses; I’m genuinely inquiring.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    OK, will someone please make an “affordable” car with a flat-crank v6 or v8? Hey it does not need to be the fastest thing on the road, all we want is that damn sound!

    Now on to the F430…..

    If anyone here has actually read any of my post you will find that I am critical of most of the so-called “exotics”. In a world were Astons, Bentleys and Lambos are considered cliche and can be found hanging out just about anywhere Ferrari is one brand that has managed to hold on to its “mystic” factor extremely well. Ferrari is the one brand of car today that still manages to be exclusive and special. You do not find Ferraris new or used parked in front of the local billard hall. On the other hand Lambos now appear to be a dime a dozen, everyone who wants one seems to have one, since they do sell at a major discount on the used car market. Today when you see a Lambo you say, “I guess you could not wait it out for the Ferrari?”

    All ranting aside the F430 is the type of car that makes grown men dream like teenage boys. Come one how many cars actually can make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up? This car looks like it is still a lot of fun to drive at reasonable speed, just listen to that engine!

    When I was about 12 years old their was a very popular Foriegn-car dealer-service place near my home. The owner used to drive a 308gts. We used to ride our bike up to this shop to use the air hose. As a treat the owner would simply start the Ferrari and rev the engine for us. Ahhhh the pleasures of life. Now even than the owner would admit that the 308 needed help getting out of its own way and could be smoked by just about any 911 on the road, but somehow He was always smiling when he was driving that 308 and running through the gears.

    So, yeah a z06 or ZR1 Vette will give an F430 the business but so what! For that matter a 1986 TPI Corvette could smoke a 328gts with ease. At the end of the day somehow I still want to drive that Ferrari.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    If this was an american car and it was getting totally smoked by a foreign car costing 1/4 or 1/6 of the price, this blog would be calling for the head of any executive unlucky enought to be anywhere close when such an abomination was greenlighted.

    But it is, after all, foreign and therefore protected by its “intangibles,” ie, it’s exhaust note and supple switch covers.

  • avatar
    Zarba

    Larry:

    It is, actually, a Ferrari. Just as a broadaxe and a scalpel will both cut meat, they do so in far different ways.

    The Ferrari and Corvette occupy different niches in the market. I would take either, but all things being equal, I’d take the F430 over the ZR-1.

    Personal preference. Nothing more.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    I would say that a Ferrari owner definitely does care that there are cars out there that are both cheaper and faster. Nobody wants to pay all that money for a car that could be beaten by something 1/4th the price, even if it is eye-wateringly beautiful, has telepathic steering and sounds incredible. The Ferrari owner may very well still feel superior to the guy in the Z06 (and rightfully so) but don’t for a second think that it doesn’t bother him that the car he just spent 1/4 million on isn’t the king of the road when it comes to speed.

    Using myself as the subject of a much less-wealthy analogy, last year I had to decide between a C6 and a Boxster S/Cayman S. I loved both cars, but I just couldn’t justify spending that much money and end up with a car that is slower in a straight line than a Mitsubishi Evo. At least in my case, the “King of the Road” feeling that I get by being able to drive for weeks or even months without seeing another car that is faster than mine outweighed whatever mystique the name “Porsche” carried. Not to say that was the only factor influencing my decision, but it does matter.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    The perfect complement to an F1 430 would be a good old fashioned 6 speed Z06. Beauty and the beast….

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    corvette? are you serious? corvette? oh please… i suppose you could compare this to a corvette if you had no senses. If your eyes or ears dont work, and u cant feel anything. Perhaps you have no sense of proportion, or sense of beauty. Better to compare it to an EVO or an STI, both very very fast and very very ugly graceless monstrosities, much like the vette.
    At least the STI or Evo have less pretention.

    You can buy many corvettes for the price of one of these ferrari. If you are a price shopper – you buy your suits at wall-mart for example, thinking no one can tell the difference – perhaps you will really like the vette. Its very fast, after all. So fast that you cannot hear people giggling as you roar past.

  • avatar
    brownie

    The only problem with this car is that to own one, you must by defintion be a Ferrari owner. And Ferrari owners are douchebags.

  • avatar

    brownie:

    The only problem with this car is that to own one, you must by defintion be a Ferrari owner. And Ferrari owners are douchebags.

    I resemble that remark! Well I did, before the divorce.

  • avatar

    Mr. Karesh: Not to take away from the pleasure of writing this review, but I still got my kicks in a Ford Ranger. When a machine speaks, sometimes its good enough for a smile or two.

    Larry P2: if this was a Porsche 911, you’d hear a different story. When you get to this price point, the tangibles and intangibles make the F430′s performance figures more than acceptable.

    Which makes me think:

    Everyone likes decadence, no matter what they say on this blog. Be it an all you can eat buffet or a Ferrari, the pleasures of indulgence is impossible to ignore.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    Great writing; I too loved the Simon Cowel reference. I have two brushes with greatness. the first was as a teenager, just seeing a Testarossa parked in a parking lot. I walked up to it, hoping that I was showing the proper reverence, and just marveled at what I was sure was the best car ever. I’ve since matured and realize that Ferraris are just overpriced, impractical, glorified Fiats…Yeah, right. I moved from the Santa Rosa area several years ago now, but I still remember the sound of a Ferrari pulling up behind me on the 101 near Novato (Ferrari dealership/villa there) and then just flooring it as he blew by me. The banshee scream from the engine sent tingles up and down my spine. I’ll grant you that the Porsche 911 or even a Corvette Z06 inspire desire mixed with appreciation in me, but a Ferrari brings out pure lust.

    One thing, though, I don’t know why people who like Ferrari have to criticize the Corvette to the point of ridiculousness. By all metrics except interior quality, the Corvette ZR1 is better (personal opinions of beauty aside). I do wonder why GM didn’t just go all out on the ZR1 and give it a top flight interior. I understand penny pinching on the base model C06 or even the Z06, but once a car gets up to $70,000+ what’s an extra $5,000 (or less) for a top quality interior? If your going to build a “halo” car, just go all out and do it.

  • avatar
    Kman

    To follow-up on Lumbergh21 (btw, I can only say that name in the voice of the “Oh Face” guy… “Oh, Oh, Oh”)

    About the Corvette ZR1 — and why not spend an extra $5,000 on a top quality interior.

    When I heard of the “Blue Devil” being developped, just when the Z06 was already in the performance of true SuperCars, I figured that yes, if you’re going $100K+ and hyper-performance, I would have expected an different exterior body as well, let alone a proper interior.

    I don’t understand the place the ZR1 is supposed to take… or where this leaves the Z06… it’s a bizarre Corvette lineup now.

  • avatar
    Captain Neek

    Maybe I am an aspiring “douchebag” but if I had to choose which keyring I’d want to attach my keys to, it would have to be a prancing horse…

    Why Ferrari > Corvette/Porsche et al?

    Well, there’s the old man (Enzo), F1, Italy, la dolce vita, dino, testarossa, did I mention F1(?).

    And, finally, the deal clincher is that the one and only MAGNUM PI drove one. Despite the ‘tache and lurid shirts, I STILL retain my prepubescent lust for that car…

  • avatar

    Zarba, pete, et al: Looks like Sajeev agrees with my point, now that he’s had time to think about it:TexasAg03 : I think for a vehicle such as the Veyron, the term megacar would be more apt.
    [Sajeev\'s reply:]
    No my friend, the Veyron is what the Countach was 30 years ago. And what the Testarossa was 20 years ago. It’s an honest to God supercar.Exactly.

    And the 430 is what the 308 was 30 years ago. And nobody called that a “supercar”.

    The problem with TexasAg03′s “megacar”, the Brit rags’ “hypercar” that thetopdog reminds us of, and whatever else you may come up with to use for what until recently were are still, in my book, called “supercars”, is: Where does it end? It never does!

    Say we call the 430 a “supercar” now, and the Zonda/Veyron/etcs “hypercars”; then in ten years a six-cylinder son-of-Noble or son-of-Cayman is a “supercar”, the son-of-430 a “hypercar”, and there’ll be no name for the Zonda/Veyron/etcs. OK, let’s call them “megacars”… Then in twenty years the grandson-of-430 will be called a “megacar”, the grandson-of-Cayman a “hypercar”, any freaking GTI will be a “supercar”, and we’ll be out of a name for the real supercars again!

    Put an end to the madness NOW, before it’s too late!

  • avatar
    danms6

    And, finally, the deal clincher is that the one and only MAGNUM PI drove one. Despite the ‘tache and lurid shirts, I STILL retain my prepubescent lust for that car…

    Not to completely burst your bubble, but the 308 GTS in Magnum PI was built on a Corvette chassis.

  • avatar

    CRConrad: No doubt, we are definitely in agreement. I just latched onto the Veyron, but I should have commented on this:

    As the 430 is the great-grandson of the 308, not a scion of the (extinct!) 512BB / Testarossa line, the sad fact is that Ferrari doesn’t have a supercar any more, and hasn’t had one for quite a long time: The big V12 ones (numbers up around the 600 range and long Italian surnames, who cares to keep up any more?) have the engine at the wrong end nowadays — they’re GTs, not supercars — and the GTO/F40/Fwhatever/Enzo line has always been lacking in the cylinder department.

    That was beautiful, brought a tear to my eye.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    I’ve heard a lot of criticisms about the Enzo’s looks, but “lacking in the cylinder department”? You do know the F50 and Enzo have a dozen apiece, right?

  • avatar
    casper00

    It’s a nice car, but I’m just wondering why Ferrari kept it under 500hp. My definition of a super car is something that has 500 or more horsepower. “Super Car” lets keep it an “exotic car” instead.

    • 0 avatar

      To my supercar friend,

      Sure, Ferrari kept the horsepower slightly under 500, but the Ferrari 430 an entry level vehicle for them. I think the 430 is a supercar on the grounds that it reaches 196mph and 60mph a knats hair under 4 seconds. Even the 200+mph Lamborghini Murcielago lp640 only reaches 60mph in 3.5 seconds. And nobody questions whether a Murcie is a supercar.

      More importantly, a view of supercar must be viewed in either the context of “racing track car” or “super sports car” for street driving. Too often the two different classes of cars are lumped in the same category by car lovers and even manufacturers. For example, a murcie LP670 can burn practically any car south of a million bucks, but few people(mostly just car reviewers) are risking their expensive street lambo’s on a race track anymore than people are driving their 80k SUV’s in rough muddy off road conditions.

      With stock supercars like the Bugatti Veyron (250mph)we see a clear blending of street/track classes. Most stock sports cars are not designed to travel beyond 150mph….and that by far does not include a Ferrari 430!!! Whoever needs that kind of speed in the first place is another issue. I really like the aerodynamic body style, handling, very brisk accelation, the engine sound, the feel, and yes it seems great for an occasional “brisk” run when CHiPs and traffic isn’t around!!!

      Secondly, we sometimes read that the 430 isn’t super because it isn’t a V12, the engine isn’t in the precise location, the HP/L ratio isn’t optimal, and other technical arguments. Suffice it to say there are many other considerations that can make a car super fast. There are 2 kinds of fast… top speed and accelaration rate to that top speed.

      Casper, 500+ HP is nice. Other considerations include body aerodynamics, weight to hp ratio, weight to torque ratio, tire type, transmission setting that allows maximum lower speed torque, how much air induction,fuel type, computer tuning, and a host of high tech/high speed gadgets to name only a few. Few cars come with “everything” considered and those that do are certain classes of extremely expensive racetrack cars. Too bad you don’t get something for nothing, in the speed game. Efficiency on some level will be sacrificed. Want a SUPERCAR??? Try a dragster. They only travel in one direction at 300+mph (remember no free lunch here) and they drink $1200.00+ per barrel rocket fuel like a thristy elephant!!!

      Top speed isn’t the most important item in a car like a Ferrari 430. Used as a racer on a track with many curves, there would rarely be a chance to reach its 196mph. Then we begin to get into suspensions and balance for curves that trims time off the clock.

      Finally, I would humbly suggest that minute differences among the stock street level supercars may be secondary to things like… how do you feel using them and how much do you like them.

  • avatar

    The problem with using the term ‘super car’ is a problem of standards. We are still calling vehicles ‘super cars’ based on standards set 20-30 years ago. If the problem persists, a Nissan Maxima 20 years into the future with 550HP will be classified under this cliche’ term.

  • avatar

    Sajeev: Cute, perhaps — and thank you for the kind words — but apparently wrong on the facts, too. :-(

    Doc V8: Yeah, NOW I do know that F50/Enzo have V12s — somebody else also pointed it out before you. (Actually, I might even have known this, at some time, but just forgot. Either way, it didn’t fit into my story. :-)

    Thing is… I can still not see them as “supercars”. I don’t know if they’re tainted by their 288GTO/F40 heritage — or rather, yes, I know that that’s why I can’t — but I’m not quite sure in which way it works: Is it because their forebears had only eight cylinders? That seems silly… Sure, I can be silly with the best of them — but hopefully not in exactly this illogical way. No, what I think it is, is that the GTO-to-Enzo line is too light, too racecar-y:

    It’s as if the definition of “supercar” I have built-in since pre-puberty (as someone put it) includes a bit like this:“Sure, anyone can make it go fast by making it lighter, but then it’s just a Lotus. Those things are built mostly for the track; that’s not what a ‘supercar’ is all about. A ‘supercar’ is all about going just (or, OK, almost) as fast as a race car, but without ‘cheating’ (i.e, doing things the intelligent way) and reducing weight. That’s precisely (a large part of) what is so ‘super’ about them, that they’re so gloriously raw-power-über-alles stupid about it! A real ‘supercar’ is quintesentially a big street car, not a beast that even could put in a credible performance at a race track. And never, ever, the model in its maker’s line-up with the second-biggest engine.Or something like that.

    (Not that any of this really matters in the real world, of course. :-)

  • avatar

    CRconrad: I should have added (before I ran out of TTAC-edit time) that I think the performance, exclusivity and uniqueness of the 1980′s GTO, F40, F50, Enzo make them real supercars, even if they didn’t all have 12-bangers.

    The thing is, most every car over $60,000 (or less for a Vette) has performance that rivals/destroys the supercars of yesteryear. (except fashion statements like Aston Martin) You have to go above and beyond to make a supercar statement these days. (just like the Testarossa and Countach did years ago)

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    CRConrad:

    Would you then say that an F1 Mclaren isn’t a supercar? What is it then? After all, it is lighter than a Miata and “only” produces a little over 600 hp with a top speed of 241 mph (only challenged by the Veyron).

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    The problem isn’t that today’s sports cars can beat yesterday’s supercars, it’s that today’s sports cars are nearly as fast as today’s supercars.

    Ferrari themselves say the new F430 Stradale is as fast around a track as an Enzo. With the explosion in hp, it’s really hard to differentiate between a regular high performance car and a supercar.

    What’s the performance difference between a Gallardo and a Murcielago? I wouldn’t be surprised if the Gallardo Superleggera (the lightweight version) is actually faster than Murcielago around some tracks. There’s certainly negligible difference between the 2 cars when you’re talking about legal speeds on public roads

    The hp war has driven performance up so high that there are a lot of cars bunched at the top that have little to separate them. Although I am proud to drive a Corvette, even I don’t think it’s right that my Vette should be as fast in 99% of public-road situations than a Ferrari. The difference between a 5.5sec 0-60 and a 4.5 sec 0-60 is pretty significant. Now evem a base Vette with proper tires can do a low 4.1sec 0-60 so a Ferrari that can do a 3.9 sec 0-60 is barely faster. That’s not the way it should be and one of the reasons I’m anticipating the end of the hp wars, so the divine automotive order is restored

  • avatar

    Lumbergh21: Of course the F1 is a supercar — it was the biggest street model in McLaren’s lineup, wasn’t it?

    :-)

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    Great review, wish I had a chance to drive one and add some points. I love that Ferrari engine note and the way the hair on the back of my neck stand up cause of it. But I much prefer the old V-12′s from the 60′s with the mechanical music and vibration and power you could feel from 10 feet away.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    CRConrad:

    I was just referring to your post above about a supercar being all about pure power not weight reduction. I don’t know that you can define what makes a supercar. To parphrase a Supreme Court Justice, it’s like pronography; you know it when you see it.

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    100, yes, but it has a supercharger to achieve that, which is a) cheating

    How ridiculous. Is it cheating if Ferrari uses higher revs to achieve power in their engines rather than increasing mean effective pressure with a supercharger? How about using more cam, or bigger valves? Is that cheating?

  • avatar
    p00ch

    Assuming that a high percentage of the posters here are male, I think it’s safe to say that many (if not most) of us would buy such a car primarily for two reasons:

    1) driving pleasure
    2) to get ‘noticed’ by whichever gender tickles our fancy

    Comparing the 430 to a Vette, 1) may be up for discussion. However, moving on to 2), which car would you rather be seen in when parking in front of the hottest nightclub/social event in the city?

  • avatar

    Lumbergh: Ok, let’s put it this way then: Which earlier, heavier McLaren roadgoing model was the F1 a reduced-weight version of? Heavier or lighter than a Miata, it was the heaviest they made… :-)

    p00ch, to your Q2: Where? In Yank-land, I suppose Vettes are far too common to get you noticed; in Italy, it may well be the other way around.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    I can say from experience that a Vette definitely gets you noticed by the ladies. However, there is no doubt in my mind that a Ferrari would get you a lot more attention and a Lamborghini even more so

  • avatar
    brownie

    p00ch & thetopdog: thank you for proving my point.

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    I can say from experience that a Vette definitely gets you noticed by the ladies. However, there is no doubt in my mind that a Ferrari would get you a lot more attention and a Lamborghini even more so

    A car is a piece of machinery serving as the modern replacement for a horse. It’s job is to transport people and/or cargo from one point to another. Different segments serve different purposes. The pickup truck is designed to transport workers/cargo/heavy equipment/trailers. The sedan is designed to carry 5-6 people down the road comfortably. The minivan is designed to carry a family and their cargo around town. And the sports car is designed to carry a driver around the track/road faster than other vehicles running against it on a track/road. Brand cache is not the point of any vehicle. Cache is an immaterial notion conjured in the minds of buyers. To me, it has no place in evaluating a car.

  • avatar

    Maxb49 : A car is a piece of machinery serving as the modern replacement for a horse. Cache is an immaterial notion conjured in the minds of buyers. To me, it has no place in evaluating a car.

    Oh my goodness! Maybe I’ve spent too much time in the customizing/hot rodding realm, but a Car/Truck/Minivan/Sports Car can be anything you want it to be. It is a canvas for your imagination, dreams, aspirations.

    Be it a passionate Ferrari or an honest Ranger XL, the intangibles will always guide (not override) the evaluation process for me. And most everyone here at TTAC. :)

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    Oh my goodness! Maybe I’ve spent too much time in the customizing/hot rodding realm, but a Car/Truck/Minivan/Sports Car can be anything you want it to be. It is a canvas for your imagination, dreams, aspirations.

    Be it a passionate Ferrari or an honest Ranger XL, the intangibles will always guide (not override) the evaluation process for me. And most everyone here at TTAC. :)

    Agreed, Sajeev. My point is the way in which cars are initially reviewed, apples to apples, stock to stock. At that level, cache isn’t a factor.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    I agree, a car’s ability to appeal to members of the opposite gender shoudln’t be the main thing driving your buying decisions. But all else being equal, it’s definitely a nice advantage

  • avatar
    ronbo456

    Maybe it’s because we’re all kinda ugly, but most Ferrari owners will tell you that their cars aren’t very effective as chick magnets. From the conversations I’ve had, the consensus seems to be that if a woman sees a 355/360/430 she thinks, “small penis,” while if she sees a 550/575/599 she thinks “nice Lexus.” It’s the Vette drivers that seem to get all the girls.

  • avatar

    Had the GREAT fortune of driving the 430, under poor weather conditions unfortunately, but that day the sun did shine as it never has done before ( and I’m not talking global warming and all. )

    The 430 is a magnificent car and in my humble opinion one of the best cars around these days.

    Will I ever own one? Probably not, – and it really doesn’t matter since we’re talking “dream cars” here, and please don’t take away our dreams ;-)

  • avatar
    jl1280

    When I count the silliness per mile of owning a top end car even I am shocked In my 911 I did 1823 in 2007 and 1941 in 2006. I went further than that on my bicycle! And on nice sunny day enjoyed it even more. I’ll take offers.

  • avatar
    jstnspin82

    I don’t get why people think that HP/L is not a measure of automotive excellence. While the new ZR-1 is very fast it’s got a 7.0L Thats enourmous. While I am have been a Corvette fan of past, I think GM should do some designing of body dynamics more because it looks like the old corvette and they just pack a bigger fuel guzzling engine in it. Make it more efficient. Hell BMW packs 265 horses in a 3.0 liter diesel that can go some 500 odd miles on a single tank. Looks wise they need to mix up the vet, make it new. Ferrari mixes it up, makes each car that passes unique in its own way. They make them modern yet timeless. The F430 is nothing short of spectacular on performance and looks. Every model Ferrari puts out is a spectical of sheer enigineering and design. From the 250 GTO to the DINO to the 365 GTB to the F40 to the 512TR to the F355, F50, Enxo, the 360, F430, 399 GTB, and new California. They all are spectacular and anyone that puts doen Ferrri is either A. not an automobile enthusiast, or B. just iggnorant to the facts. Ferrari stands the test of time. Older corvettes stand there value as collectors but hte new ones just don’t hold that pressence. Yeah they are fast as hell but true collectors buy class and quality engineered automobiles. 10-20 years from now you will see Ferrari’s and Porsche’s at autions. Don’t believe me go to a Barrett Jackson auction in Scottsdale, most cars are older American Muscle, Vets, classic american, and Porsche, Ferrari, Ferrari, Ferrari! Did I mention Ferrari. You don’t see any corvettes reallt from the 80′s 90′s or 2000′s but you see old Ferrari’s new Ferrri’s. GM needs to revamp the corveete, redesign, and re engineer from the ground up. I like the F440 like most all Ferrari’s. Check out Jeremy Clarkson’s view on it on Top Gear. That guy knows his stuff!

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    jstnspin82,

    Well, you really need to do a little research on the efficiency of a Corvette before wasting TTAC’s bandwidth. What good is HP/L when the LS7/LS9 motors are far cheaper, less complex, make more power, more torque, are more reliable, smaller, lighter, and get better fuel economy than the Ferrari 4.3 to boot?

    1) The ZR1 has a supercharged 6.2, not a 7.0L.
    2) The Z06 has a 7.0L.
    3) The ZR1 gets better gas mileage than the F430, despite its “enormous” V8.
    4) The 7.0L Z06 is still faster than the F430, and gets even better mileage than even the ZR1…plus, it’s lighter. Look up the gear ratios to see why a 7.0 can use less fuel than an exotic 4.3L motor.
    5) There is no 399 GTB, it’s a 599 GTB.
    6) There is no F440, but rather an F430 and the old F40.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    (double post)

  • avatar

    Love the F430 — wonderful car to drive. Much prefer it to the California. Only the LP560 can match it.

  • avatar

    I think this is the best car ever.
    The noise thst comes out ov the exhuast is the best that i have heard in a long time.
    Price is abit much i think but still… its a ferrari.
    I WILL GET ONE :)


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