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First look: Ferrari turns up the heat

Show and tell: The F430 will make its Australian public debut at the 2005 Melbourne motor show.

Ferrari unleashes a facelifted 360 Modena, in the sexy shape of a 360kW F430 coupe

1 Sep 2004

FERRARI will deliver a curve ball at the Paris motor show this month with the latest incarnation of its entry level V8 coupe, which was widely expected to be a cosmetic facelift of the popular 360 Modena launched in 1999.

Not content with that in the face of unprecedented rivalry from Lamborghini’s competitive Gallardo, Ferrari has blessed the Modena’s successor, now simply dubbed F430, with an even sexier new look, a bigger and more powerful new V8 and cutting edge, F1-sourced technology.

As well as extending the 360 Modena’s aluminium technology, F430 delivers what Ferrari claims are two world firsts for production cars: an electronicdifferential (labelled E-Diff) and a steering wheel-mounted switch that "manages the integrated systems governing vehicle dynamics" – also known to Ferrari F1 drivers as "manettino".

The other big change is the switch to a lighter, more compact Maserati-sourced 4.308-litre 90-degree V8 that produces 360.4kW at 8500rpm and 465Nm of torque at 5250rpm, thus achieving an impressive specific output of 85kW per litre.

34 center imageTop speed is listed at four seconds flat, while a flatter underbody and large rear diffuser increase downforce while allowing a top speed of 315km/h.

Gallardo claims 0-100km/h acceleration in 4.2 seconds and a 309km/h top speed courtesy of its 367kW/510Nm 5.0-litre V10.

Porsche-style ceramic brake discs will be optional for the first time, while the latest F1-derived sequential manual gearbox cuts shift times down to 150 milliseconds.

Despite a new front airdam and headlights, plus Enzo-style tail-lights, F430 comes with vital statistics similar to its 360M forebear, with a 4512mm length, 1923mm width, 1214mm height, 2600mm wheelbase, 1669mm front track, 1616mm rear track and 1450kg kerb weight.

Announced on the eve of winning its 14th F1 constructor’s title in its 700th grand prix, Ferrari’s F430 will be officially launched at the Paris motor show, before making its Australian public debut at the 2005 Melbourne motor show.

Local customer deliveries are expected to start in June 2005, although 140 examples are already spoken for. Pricing will not be announced until after the Paris show, but it’s likely to rise from the 360 Modena’s current $369,500 entry point.

Australian Ferrari importer Maranello Imports plans to sell between 100 and 120 V8s per annum once the F430 Spider becomes available.

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