Monday, October 22, 2007

Description of the Models I am Considering

I have put together a brief description of the different models I am considering. We will start with the F355. Ferrari introduced the F355 in 1994 to replace the 348. Like the 348 the car is powered by a mid engine V8. The car was available as a Berlinetta (coupe), targa, and spider. In 1998 the F355 was made available with paddle shifters as the 355 F1. The F355 is one of the best selling Ferraris of all time with nearly 12,000 cars sold in the 5 years it was available. This is a good thing for me because it means there are lots to pick from and the price is more transparent than some of the models with lower production numbers.
The F355’s 213 cubic inch V8 develops 380 bhp at 8250 RPM and 268 lbs/ft of torque at 6000 RPM. Pretty amazing for a naturally aspirated motor to produce in excess of 100HP per liter.
The F355 is a wonderfully proportioned car. It is low, wide and the cockpit is positioned almost right in the middle of the car. I like the way the car blends in. If painted a quiet color you could overlook a 355. Now the problems. There is not a lot of room in the cockpit. The interior styling is dated. And, most importantly any major engine maintenance requires the removal of the motor. This alone is enough to keep the F355 near the bottom of my list.
The F360 was introduced in 1999 to replace the F355. The F360 is bigger than the F355 and looks it. Despite being bigger the newer Ferrari is stiffer and lighter than the F355. The F360 is certainly more curvaceous and the interior more spacious. Like the 355 the F360 is available in a number of models ranging from several versions of the coupe, sporty to track focused to race car, to spider.
Maintenance appears to be less of a concern with the 360 than the 355. Partially this is because it is a more modern car, second because there are fewer operations to the engine that require removal of the engine when compared to the 355. That said the 360 is still quite a bit more expensive.
The 360 is powered by a 3.6 liter V8 producing 395 hp at 8500 RPM and 275 lbs/ft of torque at 4750 RPM.
Like the last year of the 355 the 360 is available with a standard manual transmission or am F1 style paddle shifting manual. Aesthetically, the 360 is at the top of my list.
The 456 is quite a change for the 355 and 360. First the engine is in the wrong place, up front. Second it has four seats, and third it has four more cylinders. The 456 was built for a different purpose. The 355 and 360 are sports cars. The 456 is a GT.
Ferrari introduced the 456 in 1992 and at the time it was the second most powerful road car produced by the company, the F40 was number one. The car also heralded a shift from angular, hard edged lines to the smoother flowing lines that define the cars today.
The 456 is powered by a 5.5 liter V12. The name 456 comes from the displacement of each cylinder, 456cc.
Like the other cars I am considering the 456 was produced in a variety of models. Unlike the other cars there were a small number of 456 wagons produced!

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