Nicely ensconced in the driving seat, you are faced with a steering wheel that is mechanically-adjustable for rake and reach.
Nicely ensconced in the driving seat, you are faced with a steering wheel that is mechanically-adjustable for rake and reach. Curiously, it has a red mark at the top of the slightly flattened section, so that you know when the wheels are pointing straight ahead. Behind this is the instrument binnacle featuring an enormous rev-counter in either red or yellow, making it clear that this is the most important dial. Although, leather-clad, the rest of the fascia is fairly plain and functional, save for the optional choice between aluminium or carbon-fibre trims.
There is a small radio/CD player in the centre console however; in the test car this had been upgraded to include an integrated Radio Navigation System with Bluetooth functionality, a HiFi with subwoofer and a 6-CD autochanger. These audio and navigation extras totalled some £3,660 and are totally superfluous because all you want to listen to is the sound of the engine and when that’s running, you don’t care about getting lost.
And this is where we come to the reason for the F1 suffix. The ordinary (?) Spider has a 6-speed, manual transmission but the F1 version has a race-derived gearbox, which uses a paddle-shift system; right-hand for up and the left one for down-changes. It is also sometimes used for indication as it impedes the correct stalk.
This 6-speed box is not an automatic, even though there are only two pedals and an ‘Auto’ button on the tunnel-panel. The paddles are electronically linked to gear-change switches with no mechanical input at all. When driving, you have to think of the brake pedal as a clutch and are reminded of this when going through the start-up procedure, which begins with making sure that you have the little red leather wallet containing the NavTrak ADR tracking system card with driver-recognition. If not, you can expect to see blue flashing lights as the police catch up with you.
With the key in its slot, you have to pull both paddles back to find neutral and with the brake pedal depressed, push the big, red start button on the steering wheel. First gear is also engaged while the car is braked but I was told that if I found myself in stationary traffic, not to keep my foot on the brake for long but to use neutral as the electronics think that I want to change gear and it damages the ‘clutch’. Common sense and good driving practice maybe but it was worth a reminder.
Ferrari F430 Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Ferrari F430 Spider F1|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||4.1 Seconds|
|Top Speed||Over 193 mph|
|Transmission||6-Speed Automatic F1|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||21.2 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBA|
|Warranty||3 Years / Unlimited Mileage|
|Price (when tested on the 23/03/07)||£142,750 OTR (£161,345 Including Options)|