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    Early review of the F430



    Clearly the writer is not much of a Ferrari fan.

    The Sunday Times - Driving



    October 03, 2004

    First drive: Andrew Frankel drives the Ferrari F430



    Almost perfect

    I'm not expecting sympathy, but testing a new Ferrari is just about the hardest thing you can do in this job. They fly you to Italy, fill you with pasta, overwhelm you with enthusiasm and then give you a brief session in the car on the road and a yet shorter one on the track.



    It is startlingly easy to be overwhelmed by the experience, bamboozled by the volume of raw information to be digested and therefore become inclined to give the car a more comfortable ride than it otherwise might deserve.

    And why would it matter? The truth is, Ferrari could produce a car with the dynamics of a wheelie bin, and so long as it bore the badge and looked the part, it would sell. I believe many Ferrari owners neither know nor care whether their cars are good or not: what they want most is to be seen driving a Ferrari.

    Happily this attitude has yet to surface in Ferrari's famed Maranello headquarters. Contrary to the barroom banter, not all Ferraris are great cars and its most recent, the 612 Scaglietti, is unattractive, overpriced and a little disappointing. The new F430 marks a reassuring return to form, however.

    Its job is to replace the 360 Modena, a generally overrated car that nevertheless became Ferrari's strongest seller. Though the F430 uses the 360 as its basis and retains the old car's wheelbase, steering and suspension, it is 70% new. And being such a step forward it deserves to be thought of as a new rather than evolved machine.

    At its heart lies a 4.3 litre V8 motor, a fresh addition to Ferrari but already found in various Maseratis. Once Ferrari has finished tinkering with it, however, just its block and cylinder heads remain unchanged. Every moving part is new, which explains how its power has been raised from Maserati's 400bhp to Ferrari's 483bhp.

    To put this output into context, in 1987 when Ferrari launched the legendary F40 it was the world's fastest and most powerful car. Those lucky enough to be invited to own one spoke of performance almost beyond imagining. It had 478bhp. Moreover, the F430 is now Ferrari's cheapest model.

    But the greater significance of the F430 is that it is the first Ferrari to make credible the link between its road and racing cars. Jean Todt, the long-time boss of the Ferrari Formula One team is now also managing director of Ferrari's road car division, and it does not take much more than a suggestion that the link between road and track is just carefully crafted marketing patter to set him off.

    "Lessons we have learnt in Formula One have helped develop our F1-shift gearbox, carbon-ceramic brakes, the electronic differential, the aerodynamics under the car, the switch on the steering wheel to change settings of the car . . ." Todt could probably have continued but felt he had made his point.

    So what kind of car does this make the F430? Not a racing car, for sure. Its ride is stiff and its engine suitably loud, but for all its searing performance - this is a vehicle that hits 60mph in under 4sec - it's not intimidating.

    I always suspected psychopathic tendencies lay behind the 360's smiling face, yet minutes into my drive in the F430 I was confident to turn the steering wheel switch to its "race" setting, all but disabling its stability systems, and give it the boot.

    It's not perfect - the steering is a shade too light, the nose a smidge too eager to run wide of a corner and the tail rather too keen to play fast and loose on the race track - but I'm not sure I want a Ferrari to be easy. I want a challenge, but one where getting it wrong means a red face, not a new car. This is exactly what the F430 provides.

    Knowing the F430 gets such fundamentals right makes forgiving its many other faults, such as its offset driving position, atypically messy cabin and awkward rear styling somewhat easier.

    The only thing that still gnaws away at me is the nagging suspicion that I'd be just as quick and have at least as much fun in a new Porsche Carrera S, which is near enough Pounds50,000 less than the F430 will cost when it arrives next spring.

    What matters more is that I'd go anywhere in a F430 rather than its deadliest rival, Lamborghini's impressive but antiseptic Gallardo. And rest assured, for sheer sense of occasion the Ferrari blows Porsche and Lamborghini clean off the field.

    I'd hoped the F430 would join the Dino 246GT, the 365GTB/4 Daytona and F40 among the greatest of all Ferraris, but it's not quite there. I'd rate it towards the top of the second division, alongside the 308GTB, the F50 and F355, an exceptional performance by any standards other than the marque's own.

    And of course its success is guaranteed. Though these words are among the very first to be written by a journalist who has driven the car, the waiting list is already over a year and I'd say it deserves to be. Anyone coming out of a 360 Modena into an F430 is not just buying its replacement, they're buying a car transformed beyond comparison for the better. I just hope they notice.

    Re: Early review of the F430

    Thx for the report nick

    This actually made me laugh:
    Quote:
    this is a vehicle that hits 60mph in under 4sec - it's not intimidating.




    Re: Early review of the F430

    Does this guy actually know anything about cars????
    All of his reviews are weird.

    Re: Early review of the F430

    Quote:
    BluCamSS said:
    Does this guy actually know anything about cars????
    All of his reviews are weird.



    He is clearly trying to find fault. Here is one paragraph worth reviewing;

    "It's not perfect - the steering is a shade too light, the nose a smidge too eager to run wide of a corner and the tail rather too keen to play fast and loose on the race track - but I'm not sure I want a Ferrari to be easy. I want a challenge, but one where getting it wrong means a red face, not a new car. This is exactly what the F430 provides"

    He is claiming that the car has both oversteer AND understeer.

    Re: Early review of the F430

    Quote:
    He is claiming that the car has both oversteer AND understeer.


    Completely plausible.
    So does a 996 (sometimes ), for example.

    Quote:
    All of his reviews are weird.


    You mean he doesn't see ferrari as god's given gift?

    Re: Early review of the F430

    Nick is right, it really seems like he can't find anything wrong (which is major kudos for ferrari - again) and is resorting to nitpicking.

    the 430 is shaping out to be a very worthy and superior successor (as it should be) to the 360. i was told 2 years wait after the release date if i wanted a spyder

    this was at a local dealer i said, f*ck that, i'd rather pay the premium. -

    nick, ny guesses as to what that will be 2/6/12 months after the release of the spyder?

    Re: Early review of the F430

    Quote:
    nberry said:
    Quote:
    BluCamSS said:
    Does this guy actually know anything about cars????
    All of his reviews are weird.



    He is clearly trying to find fault. Here is one paragraph worth reviewing;

    "It's not perfect - the steering is a shade too light, the nose a smidge too eager to run wide of a corner and the tail rather too keen to play fast and loose on the race track - but I'm not sure I want a Ferrari to be easy. I want a challenge, but one where getting it wrong means a red face, not a new car. This is exactly what the F430 provides"

    He is claiming that the car has both oversteer AND understeer.



    Power-on understeer combined with lift-throttle oversteer is quite commonly found across a variety of vehicles. I find nothing impossible about such an observation. It can happen in an otherwise completely neutral car due to driver inputs.

    You might enjoy a little more experience at track driving a cross-section of different cars before involking the deadly

    Re: Early review of the F430

    This is a little better....from the Telegraph


    The day the world turned red
    (Filed: 02/10/2004)


    Peter Hall is the first British motoring journalist to report on Ferrari's new entry-level model, the 196mph F430

    Few people ever get the chance to sit in a Ferrari, much less own one. Even for the most privileged of motoring journalists, the opportunity to drive a brand-new model is rare. And yet, having less than an hour behind the wheel of an Italian sports car once every couple of years is enough to convince family and friends that you have the most glamorous job in the world.


    Dream time: the all-new V8 engine powers a wonderful driving experience

    It isn't, of course. The most glamorous job in the world is actually that of a Ferrari test driver, because then you get to drive Ferraris all the time, although even this brings heavy responsibilities, such as having to wear the right sunglasses.

    So what's it like then, this petrolhead paradise? The first thing to remember about Italian car launches is that they will all, at some point, resemble a [censored]-up in a brewery organised by the teetotal comedians' society, albeit with such irresistible charm that nobody will really mind. I was thinking as much as I read through the itinerary for the F430 event while we trundled through the moonlit Italian countryside from Bologna to our hotel near Maranello; we had to be up before 7am the next morning, but it was already half-past midnight and the coach driver appeared to be lost.

    I stared out at the flat, semi-rural hinterland of farms and small factories. With the paraphernalia of the modern world cast into shadow, I wondered if the new car would live up to expectations, not merely in its performance, but in its representation of all the marque stands for. Time was that Ferraris were somehow connected to this Italian earth: creations of metal and rubber and gasoline, cast and hammered by artisans into representations of passion, beauty and bravery.

    There was also a time, not so long ago, when Ferrari's very future seemed uncertain, as its creative genius neared the end of his life and racing victories were nothing but a memory. Today, of course, the underdog has recovered its bite, as every other weekend on the Formula One tracks of the world, mighty Fiat (Ferrari's owner) humiliates Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Renault, Honda and Toyota, not to mention Ford.

    Five consecutive world championships: how dull is that?

    And what of the road cars? Think of Ferrari's greatest creations and you think of machines born of the blood and guts of wheel-to-wheel racing. Think of today's cars, with all their technical sophistication and ever-increasing capability to perform at a level that mocks common sense, and chances are you think of wet dreams for schoolboys and status symbols for the cash rich and emotionally inadequate. Does technology kill poetry? Does any of this matter? Is that the hotel, at last? Is the bar still open?

    The irritating buzz of the 6.45 alarm and the incessant grind of diesels on the road outside serve as a rude awakening. But the cypress trees are pointing at a pale, clear dawn, and the cool, agricultural scent of the morning air brings a sense of anticipation. It's going to be a beautiful day.

    As you approach the Maranello factory you get the measure of Ferrari's influence, and cynicism evaporates at the sight of its flags flying from the balconies of washing-machine repair shops. There's the Fiorano test track, set incongruously in the suburbs, where a scarlet Formula One car is already howling around the circuit a few yards from surrounding houses; local residents pay a premium for an unsilenced V10 alarm clock.

    The factory complex comes as a shock: the famous old entrance is now the back door and we enter a brand new development, opened this June, of spacious modernist architecture, all glass walls and reflective, rectangular pools of water, the skyline dominated by the massive silver ducting of Ferrari's own wind tunnel.

    Here, Ferrari's F1 racing and road-car departments can now communicate and co-operate as never before, as a short briefing on the new F430 makes clear. More than a mere development of the 360 - although with sales of more than 10,000 coupés alone, that is already the most successful model in the company's history - the Quattrocente Trente represents a new generation of V8-engined Berlinettas.

    Now bear with us for the techno-porn; it's all part of the experience...

    In form and proportion, the all-aluminium-alloy spaceframe-based F430 (20 per cent stiffer than the 360) is almost identical to its predecessor, but relatively small styling tweaks have given it a much more aggressive and muscular stance. It's not the prettiest Ferrari of all time, but the nose is more attractive with its slim, vertically stacked headlamps and ovoid radiator intakes that mimic the world championship-winning "sharknose" F1 car of 1961, while the engine air intakes on the rear haunches have been remodelled to echo those of the 1965 250LM.


    The tail, however, takes much of its inspiration from the recent Enzo, and is fussier and less elegant than the 360; it looks as if there were no room left for a badge, so the wing mirrors (which have twin arms so as not to obstruct airflow to the engine intakes) are rather crassly embossed with the model designation. Mind you, at least that badging is free: inset Ferrari shields in the front wings cost Pounds1,000.

    Suspension is by double unequal-length wishbones all round; the 19in wheels are shod with Goodyear run-flat tyres (225/35ZR front, 285/35ZR rear) capable of covering 75 miles at 50mph. Much wind-tunnel testing has led to aerodynamic advances; there is a new front spoiler between the front air intakes and the flat underfloor directs airflow to a more substantial rear diffuser. As ever, the red crackle-finish engine is on proud display beneath the rear glass cover.

    That engine is an all-new 4.3-litre V8 (effectively two in-line four-cylinder units on a common crankshaft) that offers more of everything than its much-developed predecessor, notably 23 per cent more power (483bhp at 8,500rpm) and 25 per cent more torque (343lbft at 5,260rpm). Formula One practice has contributed to the cylinder head design and dry sump, plus the variable intake geometry, valve timing (with four valves per cylinder rather than the predecessor's five) and twin drive-by-wire throttles.

    The engine is also Euro IV emissions-compliant, although green-minded motorists looking for something to replace their 4x4s might blanch at the EU Combined fuel consumption of 15.4mpg. The gearbox (which incorporates the engine oil tank) has also been revised, with a twin-plate clutch, new gear ratios to match the greater torque, a new electronic differential to distribute torque between the rear wheels and an improved six-speed F1 semi-automatic gearshift (a six-speed manual remains an option, although it is apparently declining in popularity).

    ABS and electronic brake-force distribution are standard, with 330mm discs and four-pot calipers all round; if you really want to stop in a hurry, you can also specify 360mm carbon-ceramic discs, good for 350 laps of the Fiorano test track and an absolute snip at something like Pounds9,000 (plus VAT). Be aware, however, that Fiorano is not particularly hard on brakes; the F430's ability to lap three seconds quicker than the 360 (even though it is 132lb heavier) is largely due to its greater performance.

    One of the major F1-influenced areas is the software that governs the gearshift speed, differential, suspension damping and CST traction and stability control systems. Five different sets of parameters are selected on the steering wheel switch, with Ice, Low-grip, Sport (standard), Race and CST (which deactivates the stability and traction control altogether).

    The switch settings to the left of Sport soften the car's responses, while those to the right sharpen them; in Race mode, for example, although the damping remains the same as in Sport, the total gearshift time is reduced to 150 milliseconds and stability/traction control intervention is reduced, the engine management system cutting the power only when absolutely necessary.

    Next year's production run is almost all spoken for and eventually there will be a soft top to replace the 360 Spider, but no Stradale version.

    Questions? Here's one: bearing in mind that the F430 is Ferrari's "entry-level" model, yet offers 5bhp more than the "ultimate" F40 of 1989, can Ferrari just keep on building ever-more powerful cars? They say they could, but prefer to consider performance as a package, not simply a matter of big numbers.

    Time to find out for ourselves...

    There was a time when Ferrari cockpits smelled of glue, but this is pretty well finished and unwhiffy, with a narrower central tunnel that gives a greater sense of space. The seats, with fore-and-aft, back-rake and lumbar adjustment, are firm and supportive. The facia, complete with lary, yellow-faced rev counter, is a bit of a jumble - there's something contradictory about the combination of leather and carbon-fibre (aluminium-alloy is the alternative option) but everything is easy to find, particularly the "Engine Start" button on the steering wheel.

    Press it and the V8 erupts into life with a purposeful rasp that echoes around the Fiorano courtyard. Pull the right-hand paddle behind the wheel to engage first gear and trickle away. Easy.

    In busy lunchtime traffic through the centre of Maranello, the F430 is a doddle to drive, although a few jolting gearchanges at low revs demand more finesse with the throttle pedal. Escape on to the open roads that wind their way up into the hills, ever narrower and bumpier, and everything comes together with a superbly controlled yet supple ride, beautifully fluid steering and prodigious grip.

    It is, of course, massively fast when you push the (very) loud pedal to the floor; there's so much torque on tap you hardly need worry about changing gear, but get involved in the process and each upshift is dispatched with an urgent bark from the exhaust and the world suddenly becomes too small.

    Squeeze the powerful brakes, flip the left-hand paddle and change down for the approaching hairpin bend with an automatic and very satisfying blip of the engine, point the nose and wish the paddles moved with the wheel, boot the throttle and feel the rear tyres unstick: the tail steps out, and then suddenly stops as the CTS software cuts the power; it's reassuring to feel the car taking care of you on a hazardous road but it feels almost too intrusive - until you come to your senses and consider the alternative...

    Back in no time to Maranello; consider repeating the route for the sheer physical exhilaration of driving a thoroughbred machine on empty roads in glorious sunshine; spend too long inching along in traffic queues and get lost in the back streets instead. It's 1pm and time to line up for a few laps of the test track.

    We're each supposed to ride around this compact little circuit with a Ferrari test driver first, but they wave me straight out; maybe they were impressed with my tale of driving a Vauxhall van around here back in December 1998. Switch to Race setting on the steering wheel and off we go, fairly restrained to begin with - it's probably not a great idea to risk denting a very expensive car in front of a bloke who writes for the Sun.

    It's soon obvious how much less intrusive the traction and stability controls are in Race mode: pour the power on as you exit the hairpin and there's a remarkably gentle transition to power oversteer as the tail swings wide, keep your foot down, apply a little instinctive opposite lock to the steering and the tail comes back into line as you rocket up the track. It's deliciously controllable, and so involving that I only notice the photographer standing at the hairpin on my final lap. Hope he's captured something reasonable.

    Time for lunch, always a high point of any Ferrari launch. Delicious pasta, then roast pork and potatoes.

    Right-hand-drive F430s will arrive in Britain next February at Pounds111,000 for the manual, Pounds117,000 for the F1, and with overall production pegged at 2,200 a year, UK supplies will be scarce. Someone wonders why they don't build more and Ferrari's ever-charming PR man, Antonio Ghini, answers with a simple statement of the obvious: "Ferrari is a dream."

    Shame the same couldn't be said of the journey back to London. But that's another story. So what's it like then? I reckon Antonio Ghini has the answer about right.

    Ferrari F430

    Price/availability: from Pounds111,000 (manual) or Pounds117,000 (F1); first UK deliveries February 2005.

    Engine/transmission: 4,308cc, 90-deg V8 with four valves per cylinder; 483bhp at 8,500rpm, 343lb ft of torque at 5,250rpm. Six-speed manual or six-speed F1 semi-automatic gearbox, rear-wheel drive.

    Performance: top speed 196mph-plus, 0-62mph in 4.0sec, EU Combined fuel consumption 15.4mpg, CO2 emissions 420g/km.

    We like: Ride and handling selection, ease of use, performance, cabin quality, front styling.

    We don't like: F1 gearchange can be jerky in some conditions, embossed mirrors, rear styling.

    Alternatives: Aston Martin DB9, Pounds103,000. Lamborghini Murciélago, Pounds168,000. Porsche 911 Turbo S, Pounds99,300. Chevrolet Corvette, about Pounds41,500. Noble M12/M400.

    Re: Early review of the F430

    Quote:
    Moogle said:
    Nick is right, it really seems like he can't find anything wrong (which is major kudos for ferrari - again) and is resorting to nitpicking.

    the 430 is shaping out to be a very worthy and superior successor (as it should be) to the 360. i was told 2 years wait after the release date if i wanted a spyder

    this was at a local dealer i said, f*ck that, i'd rather pay the premium. -

    nick, ny guesses as to what that will be 2/6/12 months after the release of the spyder?



    I look for the Spider intro in the fall of 2005.

    Re: Early review of the F430

    Quote:
    W8MM said:
    Quote:
    nberry said:
    Quote:
    BluCamSS said:
    Does this guy actually know anything about cars????
    All of his reviews are weird.



    He is clearly trying to find fault. Here is one paragraph worth reviewing;

    "It's not perfect - the steering is a shade too light, the nose a smidge too eager to run wide of a corner and the tail rather too keen to play fast and loose on the race track - but I'm not sure I want a Ferrari to be easy. I want a challenge, but one where getting it wrong means a red face, not a new car. This is exactly what the F430 provides"

    He is claiming that the car has both oversteer AND understeer.



    Power-on understeer combined with lift-throttle oversteer is quite commonly found across a variety of vehicles. I find nothing impossible about such an observation. It can happen in an otherwise completely neutral car due to driver inputs.

    You might enjoy a little more experience at track driving a cross-section of different cars before involking the deadly



    I read his comments to mean that the car is biased toward understeer and oversteer. There is no indication of induced/ manipulated on his part.

    Re: Early review of the F430

    Quote:
    BluCamSS said:
    Does this guy actually know anything about cars????
    All of his reviews are weird.



    Isn't he the guy who covers F1 in Forza magazine? He's completely clueless.

    Re: review of new F430, these guys (http://www.channel4.com/4car/road-tests/F/ferrari/f43005-/f43005--intro.html) think it's F-ing awesome. Nice pictures, too.

     
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