2003 Ferrari 360 Modena
Nothing has changed in 2003 for the mid-engine two-seat 360 Modena, which is still the closest thing Ferrari has to an entry-level model. Both a berlinetta closed coupe and a Spider convertible are available. Ferrari claims the 360 Spider has better chassis rigidity than any other convertible on the market.
Enthusiasts must be willing to sit on a waiting list for a year or two to secure purchasing privileges. According to Automotive News, Ferrari sold a total of 1,080 cars in the United States during 2002.
Classic Ferrari styling by Pininfarina, one of the all-time top Italian designers, helps the informed exotic sports car observer spot a 360 Modena from a distance. Ferarri says the design is inspired by such classics as the 250LM and the Dino. Although the lushly rounded lines of a 360 Modena coupe and Spider draw passers-by toward the car, the transparent glass hatch over the engine is whats likely to keep them there a while, staring in amazement.
In addition to a low, sloping nose and bulging back fenders, the 360 Modena has a fastback rear roof. All of these features help to yield a low 0.33 coefficient of drag. Up front, two large functional air intakes cool the engine and twin radiators. Four exhaust outlets are visible at the rear. Five-spoke alloy wheels hold 18-inch tires, and cross-drilled disc brakes are installed. Rear roll bars contain a mesh screen to prevent wind buffeting with the top down.
Despite a higher coefficient of drag from the open body style, the 360 Spider is said to perform in exactly the same manner as the coupe. Available in a choice of four colors, its top folds automatically, flush beneath a rear cover. Ferrari claims that the reinforced windshield surround can take the full weight of the car in the event of a rollover incident.
The two bucket seats are available in 12 shades of leather. Ferrari customers can even select the color of the upholsterys stitching, if they wish. The cars luggage area appears at the front of the car. The manufacturer claims that cargo space behind the seats is big enough to hold a golf bag. In addition to two storage nets, the Spider has an electrically operated strongbox between the seats. Ferrari seats are low, and the driver gets ample bolstering while facing a 10,000-rpm tachometer. Cupholders are not available.
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. The power plant develops 400 horsepower at 8,500 rpm. A six-speed-manual transmission is standard. Buyers who prefer the convenience of semi-automatic shifting can pay nearly $10,000 extra for the F1 racing version, which uses paddles at the steering column to change gears electrohydraulically. Similar systems have been used on Formula One racecars. Ferrari claims the 360 Modena can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and pass the 180-mph mark.
Antilock brakes and traction control are standard, but side-impact airbags are not available.
Posted on 3/26/03
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