What's New for 2007
The Ferrari F430 wails into 2007 with no changes.
The Ferrari mystique encompasses more than performance, though that surely is in plentiful supply. Head-turning style, performance, intoxicating engine notes and exclusivity all contribute to the allure of this Italian automaker's exotic sports cars.
The 2007 Ferrari F430 is the latest model in a line of midengine V8 models from this great marque. Starting with the 308, Ferrari's V8 model lineage includes the 328, 348, F355, 360 Modena and now the F430. With nearly 500 horsepower bellowing forth from its V8, the F430 is capable of prodigious performance, such as zero to 60 in around 4 seconds and a top speed approaching 200 mph. Of course, the F430 is more than a bullet in a straight line -- a finely balanced chassis and ultra-communicative steering provide plenty of thrills on a twisty road.
Although many enthusiasts feel that the F430's styling is too busy and hence not as pure as its forebears such as the 328 or F355, there's no denying its ability to spin one's head around. Styling cues from the 360 and Enzo are evident, such as the split air intakes up front and the cylindrical taillights out back. As in the past, enthusiasts can choose between a coupe or convertible, but a fully involving driving experience is assured, whichever body style you choose.
But as enticing as the 2007 Ferrari F430 is, it's not as clear cut a choice as one may think, as recent years have brought on a number of worthy competitors. Lamborghini has a strong rival in the form of the Gallardo, and for considerably less money, one could choose the mighty Porsche 911 Turbo, Audi R8 or the sexy Aston Martin V8 Vantage. Of course, most of us can only dream of having such purchasing dilemmas. And those who can (and do) choose the prancing horse, however, will no doubt own a car that stands above all others in terms of mystique.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2007 Ferrari F430 sports car is available as a coupe or as a convertible (called the Spider). Standard features include bi-xenon headlights, full power accessories, auto-dimming mirrors, automatic dual-zone climate control, power seats and an MP3-capable audio system. The F430's standard 19-inch wheels are shod with 225/35ZR19 tires in front and 285/35ZR19 tires in the rear.
As expected, the F430 can be customized through a long list of hardware and style-oriented options. Popular selections include Challenge Stradale wheels, racetrack-ready carbon-ceramic brakes, racing seats, upgraded audio, carbon-fiber interior trim, a navigation system, fitted luggage and special colors inside and out.
For those who plan on occasional track days or who just want to one-up their friends, there is the race-oriented F430 Challenge coupe. Although most mechanical specs are no different from the standard F430 F1, the Challenge is an amazing 500 pounds lighter. Contributing to the Challenge's trimness are extensive measures including the increased use of carbon fiber, Lexan windshield and windows, and a lighter, center-mounted exhaust. Other features include carbon-ceramic brakes, modified transmission gear ratios, an F1-style removable steering wheel, a lowered and firmer suspension, center-locking ("knock-off") wheels, white exterior graphics and a unique rear grille treatment. All this capability and exclusivity doesn't come cheap, as the Challenge lists for $50,000 more than a standard F430 F1.
Powertrains and Performance
The F430's 4.3-liter V8 is mounted amidships and with 483 hp at 8,500 rpm and 343 pound-feet of torque at 5,250 rpm, output is amazing for a naturally aspirated engine of relatively modest size. Power is sent to the rear wheels through either a traditional six-speed manual transmission or Ferrari's F1-style system. The F1 is an electrohydraulic transmission controlled by paddle shifters mounted behind the steering wheel. The F430 also has an electronically controlled rear differential -- named "E-diff" -- that helps to improve acceleration and vehicle balance. When the whip is cracked, this thoroughbred will gallop to 60 mph in around 4 seconds and top out just shy of 200 mph.
The F430 comes standard with antilock brakes, traction control and stability control. There are no side airbags. The sensitivity of the traction and stability control systems is adjustable via the "manettino" control mounted on the steering wheel. A tire-pressure monitoring system is optional.
Interior Design and Special Features
Aggressively bolstered seats hold pilot and passenger in place during spirited driving, and weekend racers can go one better by selecting the optional carbon-fiber racing seats. In addition to a choice between aluminum and carbon-fiber interior accents, buyers may also opt for "Daytona" style seats, so called because their perforated upholstery design mimics that used in the classic 365 Daytona of the early 1970s. Although the Spider's fully automatic top lowers in just 20 seconds, its rear window is plastic, an unforgivable sin in a drop top that's priced at around 200 grand.
The 2007 Ferrari F430 is a true exotic. When one blasts up to 60 mph it's almost as heart-stopping and attention-grabbing as a shuttle launch. The V8's 483 hp creates a shrieking exhaust wail that could be considered highly offensive if it wasn't so impressively addicting. Zipping by slower traffic is second nature, thanks to the ultra-responsive F1 transmission. Through the steering and suspension, the F430 superbly connects the driver to the road, and handling is balanced and rewarding for the advanced driver. For maximum driving thrills, it doesn't get much better than this.