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By Jim Flammang
March 11, 2005
Vehicle Overview Ferrari unveiled a successor to its 360 series at the 2004 Paris Motor Show. Designated F430, the new two-seat coupe is substantially more powerful.
Several innovations are derived from Ferrari's Formula One racecars. Two of them are "world firsts" for production cars: the E-Diff electronic differential, which optimizes traction; and the steering-wheel-mounted commutator switch, which controls the vehicle dynamics systems.
A new rear-mounted 4.3-liter V-8 generates 490 horsepower and translates to a weight-to-power ratio of 6.2 pounds per horsepower. According to Ferrari, the F430 can accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 4 seconds.
U.S. deliveries of the F430 coupe are expected to begin in late spring. An F430 convertible took the stage at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show in early March and is expected to join the coupe as a production model. Currently, Ferrari has 34 dealers in the United States and four in Canada.
Exterior Largely hand-built in Italy like other Ferraris, the F430 features an aerodynamic shape that incorporates contemporary competition technologies � specifically, a flat underbody and a large rear diffuser, which increases downforce. Upper and lower air intakes sit to the rear of each door. An enormous, nearly flat back window allows the V-8 to be seen from the outside. A braking system that uses carbon-ceramic discs is optional.
Typically finished in traditional rich red and devoid of brightwork, the F430 body barely clears the ground. Four round taillights sit high on the deck, flanking a relatively subtle spoiler. Four exhaust outlets poke out near the bottom edges. Built on a 102.4-inch wheelbase, the F430 measures 177.6 inches long overall, 75.7 inches wide and 47.8 inches tall. The front track width is a sizable 65.7 inches.
Interior Ferraris are known for snug cockpits, and the F430's two-passenger space is no exception. A red engine start button is installed, and paddles alongside the steering wheel control the operation of the available F1 gearbox.
Under the Hood The F430 gets a new 4.3-liter V-8 that develops 490 hp at 8,500 rpm and 343 pounds-feet of torque at 5,250 rpm. A traditional six-speed-manual transmission or a six-speed sequential manual may be installed. Ferrari claims the Formula One-derived sequential gearbox cuts shift times down to 150 milliseconds.
Safety Antilock brakes, stability control and traction control are standard, but side-impact airbags are not available.