For some time, the F355 sat at the perfect price range to be the ultimate bargain Ferrari. Now, however, the F355’s indirect successor – the F430 (following the 360) – has dropped down to the $100,000 price range. Does this make it the new ultimate bargain Ferrari?
While the 355 does certainly have some strong points, such as the absolutely delicious sound it produces with a good exhaust or the fact that finding one with a gated-manual gearbox is slightly less difficult, the performance advantages of the F430 are undeniable. The F430 presents a 108 hp gain over the F355, for a total of 483 hp from its 4.3 liter V8. While the F430 is slightly heavier than the F355, the 430’s performance numbers speak for themselves: 0 to 60 (mph) in just 3.6 seconds, nearly a second faster than the F355; 0 to 100 (mph) in 8.3 seconds, compared to 11.2 in the F355. If you manage to get to top speed, the F430 will also take you 186 mph – a whole 7 mph faster than the F355.
Having said that, we are talking about a bargain here, so of course cost is a factor; it isn’t all about the ultimate performance machine. If it was, we would just pony up the extra $100k and buy a 458, right? While 458 prices remain around the $200,000 mark, F430s have dropped to around half that price, and F355s are anywhere from $65,000 to $115,00. So, you might think well hey, I can save myself $30,000 and get the 355, right? Well, you might want to consider the fact that the F355 is a car (and a Italian one at that) born out of the early nineties. Reliability might be an issue, to say the least, and the maintenance costs are going to be quite high.
Ah, but wait! There is the 360 Modena! Succeeded by the F430, and the F355s successor, it stands to reason that the 360 should sit in the middle as far as prices go. While some can be found for as little as $75,000, the 360 still reaches prices as high as $130,000 for highly spec’d, low-mileage examples. So, unless you are a lucky buyer who has found the highly sought after gated-manual gearbox, why not get the nicer, newer, better-looking F430?
The F430 has all the looks, feels and sounds (included in the video coming soon!) of a proper Ferrari. It is a proper Ferrari. And now… it is a hundred-thousand-dollar-Ferrari. Ultimate bargain Ferrari? I think so.