Best of the Best: Ferrari F430

<< Back to Robb Report, June 2005

By attaching our Best of the Best tag to the Ferrari F430 coupe ($170,000), we are in accord with a discerning roster of earlier judges—auto writers of many languages other than Italian, a vicarious public, the car’s first customers, even designers and engineers from competing enterprises—who believe this to be the finest Ferrari ever built, maybe even the world’s best sports car ever. Rarely has praise been piled so high.

The F430, which replaces the F360, certainly earned our apotheosis.  This car is not simply an improvement on its predecessor; it is the product of Ferrari tearing apart the F360 and rebuilding it into a completely new vehicle that, with its 4.3-liter V-8 developing 490 hp, is 23 percent more powerful. Thanks to a heavy infusion of track technology from Ferrari’s racing team that has won more world titles than the New York Yankees, the F430 is ideally suited for daily drivers who seek some thrills on weekends. The car offers no electronic froufrou, only useful systems that you can use to monitor and reduce your danger zones. Among these driving aids is an underbody pan with F/1 industrial-strength diffusers that slaps the car with 200 pounds of downforce at full bellow. Just as handy is a steering wheel switch that adjusts shift points and power applications to respond to the surface being addressed, from an icy back road to a sweeping right-hander on a dry track.

The styling is soft and sloping and made mildly retrospective by air intakes peculiar to the Ferrari 156 Grand Prix cars of the 1960s. Performance is that of a velvet brute. Handling is superflat, hugely secure, and almost sensory. The most impressive figures for the F430 are its top speed of 196 mph and its zero-to-60 mph time of 3.9 seconds. The latter bests that of the Porsche 997, but then, the Porsche is not our Best of the Best winner.

Ferrari, www.ferrariworld.com

Lufthansa allows first-class fliers to drive a Porsche 911 or Panamera while waiting for wheels up...
These hard chargers from the world’s premier automotive masters are fast, furious, and the future…
Unconstrained by convention, today’s top builders produce motorcycles that set new benchmarks…
Photo by James Lipman
Bentley proves that luxurious amenities and raw speed make fine bedfellows…
The Range Rover Sport SVR is the first in Land Rover’s new ultrapowerful lineup…
Robb Report Spain named the 2015 GTA Spano supercar to 2015's Best of the Best...
Though its power is electronically limited, the bike still puts its road-going competitors to shame…
Vintage formula 5000 cars will make their debut at this year’s Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion...
The new specification for the Flying Spur V8 includes 20-inch alloy wheels for a sportier stance…
All images copyright and courtesy of Mathieu Heurtault
The storied racer will be the main attraction at Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach Auctions…