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Friday 8th April 2005

Ferrari F430 F1

Ian Kuah assesses the Ferrari F430 F1 and its controversial gearshift. He likes it. A lot.


Ferrari F430 F1
Ferrari F430 F1

Ferrari’s latest masterpiece, the F430 F1 Berlinetta is one of the best sportscars ever made. Dynamically, it completely overshadows the F360 Modena and, although it may look like a development of the earlier car, it is in fact almost completely new from the ground up.

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While you might think both these cars look similar in isolation, when you line them up side-by-side, the actual differences are significant. The big front intakes of the F430 are more rounded, softening the frontal aspect even if it still looks race car aggressive in your rear mirror.

The actual size of the intakes is also disguised to some extent by the black paint around the parts of the nose cone moulding that channel air towards the black mesh grilles. Between them, a small colour-coded air-splitter helps control the air reaching the revised flat bottom. Ferrari claims 130Kg of downforce over the front axle, and 150Kg over the rear axle at 300km/h. This is a 50 per cent improvement over the F360’s numbers.

At the rear, the adoption of the Enzo shaped rear lights has effected a dramatic transformation to the rear aspect. Apart from establishing an important link with the Ferrari flagship, this new rear design moves the F430’s styling idiom from the 20th to the 21st century in one fell swoop.

The Ferrari engineers worked hard to solve the heat management problems that plagued the F360, so form follows function more closely this time. At the front, the air vents in front of the wheel arches help to extract hot air from the big water radiators, and the rear grille and cooling outlets that line the perimeter of the engine lid glass panel help to remove hot air from the engine bay.

The F430’s 90-degree V8 motor does not share any parts with the similarly configured 3,586cc 360 Modena engine. The F360 had 400bhp at 8,500rpm and 275.6lb-ft of torque at 4,750rpm, but these numbers are overshadowed by the 490bhp at 8,500rpm and 343lb-ft of torque at 5,250rpm produced by the new 4,305cc engine. Specific output is 114bhp/litre. Top speed of the 1,450Kg aluminium-bodied Berlinetta is 196mph with 0-62mph in 4.0 seconds.

The latest incarnation of the F1 clutchless paddle shift transmission made by Magneti Marelli is also significantly superior to the previous generation unit. Faster and smoother, it makes lightning quick upshifts under full throttle. There is no getting away from the kick in the back under such hard shifts, but when you are driving normally, so long as you feather the throttle during an upshift, as you would in a manual car, upshifts can be made seamless.

Completely revised suspension with adaptive damping and Ferrari’s brilliant E-Diff electronic differential help the new car deploy its power safely. With torque significantly up from the F360, acceleration out of the bends is noticeably improved and the E-Diff’s ability to perfectly apportion the power to the tarmac is felt in the way the car maintains its balance.

Despite the challenging bumpy roads and sometimes off-cambered corners of our hilly Tuscany test route, the F430 was never wrong-footed. In situations where we know the F360 could be skittish, the F430 remained secure and balanced.

The steering and chassis relationship of all Ferraris is a very direct one. But where the F360 can feel nervous and edgy at times, the F430’s steering/chassis relationship is much more linear and gives you confidence. You quickly feel at one with this car, and although you can and indeed should never relax completely in such an involving machine, its user friendliness soon puts you at ease.

The power steering is well nigh perfect, striking that elusive balance between describing the road surface, while insulating your fingers from kickback caused by surface imperfections. The ride is also surprisingly good for a mid-engined supercar, taut but well able to soak up small and large bumps with perfect bounce and rebound control.

Our test car was fitted with the optional ceramic brakes and their stopping power is beyond criticism. Importantly pedal feel is excellent and they work well from cold at town speeds too.

The sound of the flat-plane crank V8 is incredible. We never felt comfortable with the high-pitched scream of the F360’s motor; there is simply too much high frequency action going on for comfort over distance. With more bass in its soundtrack, the F430’s aural signature strikes a nice balance between the F360 and the F355. It is easier to live with and far more appealing.

On top of all that engaging stuff built into the chassis and engine, the F430 has another trick up its sleeve, courtesy of electronic wizardry. If you have ever seen the steering wheel of a Formula One car, you will have noticed the half dozen buttons and switches on it that control functions from the pit lane speed limiter to the brake balance.

Some may think that moving the Start button to the steering wheel is pretentious, but it is better off there than on the centre console where it usually appears on cars with more luxurious intent.

However, no tifosi is going to moan about the ‘manettino’ switch (as it is called by the Ferrari racing team) that alters the gearshift, engine e-gas electronic throttle response and traction control protocols from the ICE setting for snow. through low grip road surfaces like gravel, to the normal Sport position to the faster and more aggressive Race setting. The final setting disengages all electronic traction and stability aids apart from ABS entirely for the track.

The system works brilliantly in the real world, tailoring the cars responses to your mood and road conditions. So when this fantastic motor reaches its crescendo between 7,000 and 8,500rpm, and upshifts nearly as quickly as an F1 car, there is no getting away from the fact that this is a red-blooded, race-bred Ferrari. Bellissimo!

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Author Discussion

doddi

Original Poster:

7 posts

112 months

[news] 
Friday 8th April 2005 quote quote all
I have to say I did not like the look of this car when it was first introduced, but having seen one in the flesh a couple of weeks ago, I have done a full 180. It is beautiful.

I love the button on the steering wheel!

dinkel

21,996 posts

138 months

[news] 
Friday 8th April 2005 quote quote all
This is an amazing car. Her hi-revving lump in a Cerbera body will be perfect!!!

Stunning piece of kit. Red wet dream . . . Must stop now.

nickjm

359 posts

110 months

[news] 
Friday 8th April 2005 quote quote all
doddi said:
I have to say I did not like the look of this car when it was first introduced, but having seen one in the flesh a couple of weeks ago, I have done a full 180. It is beautiful.

I love the button on the steering wheel!


I'd completely agree.

I saw one a couple of weeks ago in spain, looked great and sounded great even though it was going 5mph!

will ferrari

114 posts

117 months

[news] 
Friday 8th April 2005 quote quote all
nickjm said:

doddi said:
I have to say I did not like the look of this car when it was first introduced, but having seen one in the flesh a couple of weeks ago, I have done a full 180. It is beautiful.

I love the button on the steering wheel!



I'd completely agree.

I saw one a couple of weeks ago in spain, looked great and sounded great even though it was going 5mph!


I agree too. I thought the proportions were a bit squashed but on going down to my local dealer (the fancy new GrayPaul one) in Nottingham late one night, as I do weekly, I gawped at the 430, with a warm feeling inside that Ferrari had done me proud. I was expecting to feel upset from seeing it in the flesh but no, seeing it was so much more than just a relief that it wasn't minging. It was heart warming sparkle that made me proud to have such a ridiculous Pistonheads surname.

The early 2000's ugliness of Enzo, 360 and 550 have gone, bring on the genuine beauty of the mid 2000's cars. Lets hope this is the start, not just highlight.

And oh my - have you seen those breaks - the discs are bigger than my car's rims. I think those carbon discs are worth more than my entire car too. Maybe I'll swap?

Marki

15,763 posts

150 months

[news] 
Friday 8th April 2005 quote quote all
I dont think there are many cars i have liked when i first see the pics in a mag for one thing its change from a model that you know and love, pics just can not convey a performance car properly you just have to wait and see them in the metal
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catso

10,814 posts

147 months

[news] 
Saturday 9th April 2005 quote quote all
Well, I would

polarbert

17,225 posts

111 months

[news] 
Saturday 9th April 2005 quote quote all
i would love to own one of these when im older, i think they look amazing, but would have to have a manual.

although i have no experience whatsoever with the f1 gearbox, i would never think about buying one when a manual was available.

summit7

440 posts

109 months

[news] 
Sunday 10th April 2005 quote quote all
Stunning car, wish the front wheels were further foward - too much front overhang, wish every car didn't weigh 1 1/2 tonnes but I'm picking now. Still think a Gallardo is more compact + focussed as a design but you would loose less money on the horse than the bull.

johnny88

1,097 posts

109 months

[news] 
Sunday 10th April 2005 quote quote all
gimme, w/ a manual box

Gt2man-2

1,040 posts

135 months

[news] 
Sunday 10th April 2005 quote quote all
Until they manage to make a F1 clutch last as long as a manual and cost the same to replace, I can't see myself ever considering one.

A recent trip to Graypaul had a salesman trying to talk me into one, until he mentioned that the average life for a F1 clutch is 3000 miles and you should budget 2000 to replace it (66p a mile, just for clutch !!)

Now, I know some people would say "Well, if you can afford a Ferrari, you can afford to run it.. " but that's disproportionately expensive.

The F430 they had in their showoom wasn't bad.. but I dunno, the lines just don't flow properly.. Seems more like a case of function before form.. and if it were just function we were going for, you could buy better cheaper in other marques.

The rear end is contrived, and the front end doesn't look right (headlights too small, black intakes too dominating)

>> Edited by Gt2man-2 on Sunday 10th April 12:00

Marki

15,763 posts

150 months

[news] 
Sunday 10th April 2005 quote quote all
Gt2man-2 said:

A recent trip to Graypaul had a salesman trying to talk me into one, until he mentioned that the average life for a F1 clutch is 3000 miles and you should budget 2000 to replace it (66p a mile, just for clutch !!)



thats scarey stuff , so one good Eurothrash and its fryed

456mgt

2,077 posts

146 months

[news] 
Sunday 10th April 2005 quote quote all
Gt2man-2 said:
A recent trip to Graypaul had a salesman trying to talk me into one, until he mentioned that the average life for a F1 clutch is 3000 miles and you should budget 2000 to replace it (66p a mile, just for clutch !!)

Now, I know some people would say "Well, if you can afford a Ferrari, you can afford to run it.. " but that's disproportionately expensive.
It's also untrue. It *used* to be true when F1 clutches were set up with too much slip, and is still true for one that isn't properly set up. Most people will see >10,000 miles on one now. FYI my F1 clutch has <20% wear after 4.5K miles. Waer rate isn't linear though, so it wears faster later on, but that's also true of the manual.

Incidentally, the siting of gearchange on the manual 430 (and the 612) looks like an afterthought.

4WD

2,289 posts

111 months

[news] 
Sunday 10th April 2005 quote quote all
What a joke! I always suspected their longevity as such. The fact that an extra level of mechanical complexity is added is just a turn off IMO. The extra 8k lambo charge for their paddle kit is a major worry. Especially when it inevitably goes wrong. Manual cars will have far better residuals in the long run! As with eveything, KISS.

mungo

18,929 posts

163 months

[news] 
Sunday 10th April 2005 quote quote all
This is the best looking Ferrari since the 288 GTO ... saw one in the flesh the other day and it looks even better than the pictures!

Edited due to EXTREME numptyism

>> Edited by mungo on Sunday 10th April 13:19

mhh

1,000 posts

122 months

[news] 
Sunday 10th April 2005 quote quote all
I'm guessing the F1 will be pretty reliable.

The headline in the article at the top of the thread calls the F1 gearshift "controversial" - hardly, it is the 'box of choice for most owners and has been for many a day.

Re reliability, I wouldn't know about Ferrari, but my Gallardo e-gear has 20,000km up and the clutch feels like brand new.

>> Edited by mhh on Sunday 10th April 12:55

Master

18 posts

129 months

[news] 
Monday 11th April 2005 quote quote all
456mgt said:

Gt2man-2 said:
A recent trip to Graypaul had a salesman trying to talk me into one, until he mentioned that the average life for a F1 clutch is 3000 miles and you should budget 2000 to replace it (66p a mile, just for clutch !!)

Now, I know some people would say "Well, if you can afford a Ferrari, you can afford to run it.. " but that's disproportionately expensive.

It's also untrue. It *used* to be true when F1 clutches were set up with too much slip, and is still true for one that isn't properly set up. Most people will see >10,000 miles on one now. FYI my F1 clutch has <20% wear after 4.5K miles. Waer rate isn't linear though, so it wears faster later on, but that's also true of the manual.

Incidentally, the siting of gearchange on the manual 430 (and the 612) looks like an afterthought.

Master

18 posts

129 months

[news] 
Monday 11th April 2005 quote quote all
I had a 360F1 for 12months. The F! box was fantastic at producing great sounds on high-rev gear changes. BUT it was useless in day to day traffic. Burned out within the year so I sold. It sits between the previous motor - a 993 Turbo with the GT2 engine boost, and the replacement, an AMG 55SL. Everytime I hear about an F1 box I'm told... "Oh yes, they used to be crap but they are fine now." but they said that when the Vantage came out.. Point made,,,

godzilla

2,025 posts

129 months

[news] 
Tuesday 12th April 2005 quote quote all
Just as a matter of interest, did you religously put it into neutral at every halt?

I've been told that the short clutch life cars were all driven a lot in stop start traffic and drivers weren't putting the car into neutral everytime the car wasn't moving.

e_t_s

21 posts

106 months

[news] 
Tuesday 7th June 2005 quote quote all
Just registered! Great page!

Of course it's a great car; it's a Ferrari! But in my opinion it looks cheesy, a bit clumsy and most of all it looks FAT! Which it is at 1450 kg.
Many people complained about the enzo's looks when it came out, but that is indeed Form Following Function, as it should be with the fastest and most focused Ferrari. But this one, i think, should have been a bit better looking. The 348 was good looking, then it went up with the F355 which was beautiful, then the 360 which looked great aswell, but this one just seems to have drop a few steps on the look-good-ladder. Which is a shame.

I still want one though...

ads_green

732 posts

112 months

[news] 
Tuesday 2nd August 2005 quote quote all
godzilla said:
Just as a matter of interest, did you religously put it into neutral at every halt?

I've been told that the short clutch life cars were all driven a lot in stop start traffic and drivers weren't putting the car into neutral everytime the car wasn't moving.


That's just insane. Pay 6 figures for a car with a advanced gearbox that can't work out that it needs to completely disengage the clutch if speed = 0 and revs = idle.

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