2019 Ferrari F430. First gear stretches out to 8500 rpm, howling to make your shanks shake. Second gear should get you 60 mph in about 3.6 seconds and a misdemeanor conviction in four flat. Keep the hammer down through third, fourth, and fifth, and sixth will burn your scalp clean off at 186 mph, or so Ferrari claims. In 2005, the Ferrari F430 succeeded the Italian automobile manufacturer’s most popular model, the 360 Modena. Perhaps more than its siblings, the 2019 Ferrari F430 directly inherits technology from Ferrari’s Formula 1 racing experience.
2019 Ferrari F430 coupe and spider share all their tech goodies, including the E-Diff electronic differential and self-adjusting Skyhook suspension. The spider carries another 150 pounds, mostly in the roof mechanism and steel rollover hoops. Seven electrohydraulic motors fold up the canvas top and stack it flat in a tiny compartment hidden under the headrest fairings. Ferrari rejected a folding hardtop like the Mercedes SL’s because it would have obscured the view of those blood-red engine intakes.
Because Ferrari designed the F430’s cast- and extruded-aluminum skeleton for both tintop and topless duty, just 22 pounds go to frame reinforcement, all in the doors and rocker-panel boxes below the doors. Twisting and bending stiffness increases over that of the old 360 Spider. As the 2019 Ferrari F430 thumps over rough pavement, the steering wheel and the floor are almost as jiggle-free as Francesco’s marble columns. Wide, squat, and busied up with air dams, exhaust tubes, and mesh screens, the spider resembles the Millennium Falcon from the back as it screams past morning commuters in their microcubes.
At 124 mph, the spider is sucked to the road with 245 pounds of downforce and tracks with precision. Corners are quick work; a hand twitch cuts the apex, and the body stays flat. Smoothness takes longer to develop, especially with the touchy carbon-ceramic brakes. Life is surprisingly quiet at speed. A transparent polycarbonate wind blocker between the seats helps keep hats in place and the conversation two settings below shouting.
Automatic exhaust-pipe valves turn up the wail under hard acceleration, but they open later in the spider–4000 rpm instead of 3000–if you set the manettino to “low grip.” The manettino is the rotary switch on the steering wheel that lets the driver fit the suspension, traction control, and stability settings to the mood. With the manettino, shift times also vary. In “race,” they bang home in as little as 0.15 second for that extra-quick lap time.
The heart of the beast beats through 4.3 liters of aluminum V8. The engine improves over the Modena’s in terms of weight, performance, and reduction of overall dimensions. Ferrari says it produces 483 bhp with an 8,500 rpm redline and claims its lighter, more powerful engine pushes the 2019 Ferrari F430 coupe from 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds, reaching a top speed of just over 195 mph. One prominent automotive publication, however, observed 3.5 seconds from 0 to 60 and a sizzling 11.7-second/120.1-mph quarter-mile blast.
Armed with the incredibly expensive ($14,300) Formula 1 carbon ceramic disc brakes option, the 2019 Ferrari F430 can race all day and still pull off stopping distances from 60 and 80 mph in 113 and 192 ft., respectively, which are within 5 ft. of the Enzo supercar’s. A traditional six-speed manual transmission or the more popular F1 paddle-shift sequential manual unit with an automatic mode provides gearing.
Those F1 shifts can be easy or Formula 1-like (150 milliseconds per complete shift), depending on the setting of another bit of racing technology that lands on the F430’s steering wheel – the manettino, or as one reviewer called it, “a mood lever.” There are five settings for driving modes/moods: snow, low traction, sport, race, or CST (which turns off stability and traction controls). This small rotary switch controls shift speeds, shock valving, traction and yaw-control intervention levels, the twin exhaust bypass valves’ rpm levels, and the E-Diff interaction.
Ferrari retains the arachnid spelling used for previous ragtop models–will get here when it gets here. Likewise, 2019 Ferrari F430 prices were unknown at press time. When announced, they should be six or seven percent higher than the outgoing 360 Spider’s, Ferrari officials say. Figure on writing a check for about $193,000 for the six-speed manual GT or about $206,000 for the paddle-shifted F1. Options will include carbon-ceramic brakes, which cost $15,364 on the coupe, and retro Daytona seats, currently $2,579 on the coupe.