With Ferrari technology dominating Formula One, the world's most watched sporting spectacle, the unveiling of the F430 Ferrari is doubly significant in that it also signals the arrival of a new generation of Ferrari 8-cylinder models.
This new car takes Ferrari's extraordinary achievements with aluminium technology, begun with the 360 Modena, to a whole new level, and offers a series of extremely significant innovations directly derived from the Ferrari Formula 1 single-seaters.
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Two of these innovations are world firsts for production cars: the electronic differential (E-Diff) and the steering wheel-mounted switch (better known to the Formula 1 Scuderia's drivers as "manettino"), which manages the integrated systems governing vehicle dynamics.
The new F430 Ferrari Berlinetta has a light, compact 4,300 cc 90¡ V8 engine, which punches out 490 cavalli (horsepower in any other language) to achieve a specific output of 114 bhp/litre and a weight-to-power ratio of 2.8 kg/hp, translating into startling real world performance - 0-100 kmh takes 4 seconds flat and if you find a deserted Autostrada the F430 will run to just a smidgen under 200 mph.
There are some pretty impressive specifications when you begin reading the fine print - if you plan on a bit of track work with your new F430, you can take up the carbon-ceramic discs option - ceramic discs offer optimal efficiency under extreme use.
Another filter-through from the Formula 1-derived technological toolbox is a gearbox that cuts gear shifting times down to 150 milliseconds, allowing the driver to make the very most of this truly high performance car.
Producing a car of beauty is one thing - producing one which is aerodynamically excellent is entirely another. The F430 design embodies the very latest F1-derived aerodynamic technologies - specifically the flat underbody and large rear diffuser to increase downforce. The car will be officially presented during the Paris Motor show in September 2004. F430.View gallery - 8 images