Ferrari F430 – 483Hp MSRP:$279,000
The F430 is a true exotic offering maximum driving thrills. Rocketing up to cruising speed is a gut-wrenching affair, and the V8's substantial power creates a shrieking wail that might be considered offensive or melodic, depending on context. Passing slower traffic is absurdly easy, and its superbly engineered steering and suspension connects the driver to the road in a manner few other cars of its time can match.
The F430 Spider is the convertible version based on the coupe and was designed by Pininfarina with aerodynamic simulation programs also used for Formula 1 cars. The fabric roof panel automatically folds away inside a space above the engine bay. The conversion from a closed top to an open-air convertible is a two-stage folding-action.
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.
Then there is the E-gear, the F1 inspired automated transmission that the F430 has finally achieved a harmonious balance with, and we can go on on, but the point here to get out on the road in this masterpiece! What are you waiting for?!
Power (SAE net): 483 bhp @ 8500 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 343 lb-ft @ 5250 rpm
6-speed manual with automated shifting and clutch
Zero to 60 mph: 3.6 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 8.3 sec
Standing 1/4-mile: 12.0 sec @ 121 mph
Top speed (redline limited): 190 mph