Thursday, July 12, 2007

Ferrari F430


From last week's NYT:

"Of course, stoking demand with limited production doesn’t make sense unless the demand is there in the first place. With all the hoopla over this car, you’d think it would be nearly impossible for it to live up to expectations. But the F430 manages to deliver, despite the baggage inherent in its status as the It Car of the prancing-horse brand.

This car plays in the realm where performance numbers are everything, and on that front it duly hangs with the Porsche 911 Turbos and Corvette Z06s of the world (as well it should, considering its price).

But the F430 is more than a cold-blooded G-force generator. It’s a total experience, one that dopes every pleasure receptor in your brain with automotive giddiness. Achieving that abstract goal is always trickier than hitting hard performance targets — call it the alchemy of desirability.

You get the impression that in designing the F430, Ferrari’s every decision was framed by the question, “How can we make this more like a Formula One car?”

So the 4.3-liter, 479-horsepower V-8 got a motor with a high-pitched, hard-edged wail that’s unlike anything else you’ll hear from a car with license plates. That high-strung motor is mounted behind the passenger compartment and ahead of the rear axles, just like a Formula One car.

The F1 sequential manual transmission does away with a clutch pedal, instead giving the driver shift paddles on either side of the steering column, just like a Formula One car (although traditionalists can still order a six-speed manual). The steering wheel features Ferrari’s “mannetino,” a small rotary switch with six settings to tailor the car’s electronic aggressiveness, from a snow-and-ice mode (as if!) to race, to the position beyond race that Ferrari’s people politely asked me not to engage, as it disables all traction and stability control . . .

Machine Is a Dream. Wait Is a Nightmare.
NYT, July 1, 2007

Posted at 06:24 AM in Automobiles | Permalink


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