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Expert Reviews 1 of 2
By Jim Flammang
December 1, 2001
Vehicle Overview In spring 2001, a 360 Spider convertible joins the 360 Modena coupe that debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland in 1999, to replace the old F355. The 360 Modena berlinetta is Ferraris mid-engine entry-level model if any product from the legendary Italian sports car builder can be considered affordable, this is. A V-8 engine sits behind the seat of the rear-drive 360 Modena, which lists for $144,620. The new Spider convertible lists for $161,475.
The price really doesnt matter to Ferrari fanciers who expect to pay plenty of dollars for a chance to put one in the garage, but they must be willing to sit on a waiting list for a year or two to secure that privilege.
Ferrari sold about 4,000 cars worldwide during 2000, the companys eighth year of increased sales. More than 1,000 went to North America, with California accounting for 22 percent of sales. Plans for 2001 are identical, with no more than 4,000 cars expected to go out the door.
Exterior Classic Ferrari styling by Pininfarina, one of the all-time top Italian designers, let the informed exotic sports car observer spot a 360 from a distance. In addition to a low nose and bulging fenders, the 360 Modena has a fastback rear roof, all of which help to yield a 0.33 coefficient of drag.
Big functional air intakes cool the engine and twin radiators. Aluminum construction for the body, chassis and suspension components keeps the cars weight down, without compromising Ferraris high values for performance, safety and outstanding design. With a 102.3-inch wheelbase and measuring 176.3 inches overall, the 360 Modena is just a couple inches longer than a Toyota Corolla. But the Corolla stands nearly 7 inches taller against the 360s 47.7-inch height.
The new 360 Spider is Ferraris 20th convertible. Ferrari claims that its chassis has the highest flexional and torsional rigidity figures in the world. The Spiders performance is said to be exactly the same as that of the 360 Modena, despite a higher coefficient of drag from the open body style. Available in a choice of four colors, the top folds automatically, flush beneath a rear cover. Rear roll bars incorporate a mesh screen to prevent wind buffeting. A reinforced windshield surround can take the full weight of the car, Ferrari claims, in the event of a rollover incident.
Interior Bucket seats for two are available in a dozen shades of leather. Ferrari customers can even select the color of the upholsterys stitching, if they wish. A luggage area is available in the front of the car, supplemented by some cargo space behind the seats.
Under the Hood Mounted behind the seats and ahead of the rear axle, the 3.6-liter V-8 engine has five valves per cylinder and develops 400 horsepower at 8,500 rpm. A six-speed-manual transmission is standard. Purchasers who prefer the convenience of semiautomatic shifting can pay close to $10,000 extra for the F1 version, which uses paddles at the steering column to change gears electrohydraulically. Similar systems have been used on Formula One racing cars. Ferrari claims that a 360 Modena can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and pass the 180-mph mark.