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Ferrari, Supercars

Ferrari F430 & F430 Spider Convertible

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The Ferrari F430 was first developed for the 2005 model year and provided a significant upgrade to the 360 model it succeeded.  A brand new 4.3-liter V8 engine was installed that produces 483 horsepower, nearly 100 more than the preceding 360′s 390 horses.  The F430 may have been designed to be Ferrari’s entry-level model, but it still benefits from the automaker’s Formula 1 racing heritage, and there are no corners cut.

One of the most masterfully engineered component in the F430 is the electronically-controlled differential.  The system was initially developed for the company’s F1 racers, but it was so good and provided such an advantage, that the racing organization banned it from competition as unfair.  Racing components too good for F1 in a road car?  you better believe it.  A new suspension system, also adapted from Ferrari’s F1 efforts, helps you tame all the power produced by the F430 and point it in the right direction.

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The body design of the F430 also benefits from F1 knowledge.  In fact, the body is so aerodynamic and well designed that it generates 200 pounds of downforce than the previous model, yet still has a better drag coefficient.  That means that when you’re cruising along at 120+ mph, the steering is still firm and you are in control, but the engine doesn’t have to work any harder to cut through the air.  Also, on top of the horsepower increase from the old engine, the new V8 has a much wider torque band, meaning that getting to those top speeds is a breeze and the throttle is incredibly responsive all the way up to the 8,500 RPM redline.  Shifting through the gears is also a breeze, as the paddle shifters and transmission are borrowed from, you guessed it, the Ferrari F1 team.  0-to-60 mph takes a mere 4.1 seconds and the top speed is 196 mph.

The Ferrari F430 is, as the previous paragraphs attest to, almost a road version of the company’s F1 technology.  This does not mean, however, that the car is unsuitable for normal driving.  Quite the contrary, in fact.  There are a series of driving modes that the driver can engage to fit conditions.  There is an “Ice” setting which adjusts torque, steering, and suspension to deal with slick conditions; a “Wet” mode does the same only slightly less so; a “Sport” mode makes the shifting quicker than the previous two modes and relaxes the ESP (Electronic Stability Program); and finally there is an “ESP-Off” setting that essentially puts the full power and agility of the car at your fingertips.

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Since its introduction in 2005, the Ferrari F430 and the Spider convertible variant (which was introduced in 2006) haven’t changed too much by ways of engineering.  Why would you mess with such a winning combination.  Sure, there have been slight tweaks and new interior technologies introduced, but the F430 stands as a constant in a supercar world that is constantly chasing the next big thing.  And that’s just fine with all the Ferrari fans out there.

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