The F430 Spider is designed by Pininfarina in collaboration with Ferrari’s Head of Design, Frank Stephenson. The agression and performance of the F430’s design has been effortlessly transferred to the Spider. The new model exudes all of the breathtaking elegance typical of a Ferrari drop-top and convey an even stronger personality and more muscular stance, both of which strongly hint at its powerful engineering and blistering performance.
The Spider’s nose is characterized by two distinctive elliptical air intakes that channel air into the generously sized radiators that cool the powerful engine. The Ferrari 156 F1 that Phil Hill drove to his F1 World Championship title in 1961 inspired their shape. The two intakes are linked at their lower edge by a spoiler that directs the air towards the car’s flat underbody.
The Spider’s vertically stacked headlights are extremely compact thanks to the use of Bi-xenon technology. When the lights are on the unique shape of the blinker emphasizes the profile, making the car immediately recognizable. Large air vents just ahead of the front wheels channel air out of the radiators and along the car’s flanks. Generous scoops above the rear wheel arch channel air into the engine. The side view is completed by new 19″ wheels with 5 twin-spoke layout that combine classic Ferrari design flair with exceptional levels of structural rigidity combined with light weight.
The Enzo Ferrari was the inspiration for much of the rear styling of the new F430 Spider. The type and arrangement of the lights are the same with the latter protruding quite prominently from the bodywork.
Another similarity is the shape of the air vent for the engine with the chrome Prancing Horse at its centre. The Ferrari’s meticulous aerodynamic and styling detailing is also reflected in the new rear diffuser integrated into the bumper, which boasts race-derived dimensions. The F430’s Spider’s extreme performance is further underlined by such styling details as the new exhausts with ball-polished steel tailpipes. The large rear window offers a view of the strikingly compact engine.
Extreme care was also taken designing the small details of the car. The wing mirrors, for example, now have specially profiled twin mounting arms that channel airflow to the engine intakes. The F430 logo has also been embossed on the back of the driver’s side mirror. Even the finish of the engine bay is a work of art. The interior of the F430 Spider is another area that has been totally reworked to give it a more sporting feel.
Instrument panels, dash, a slimmer central tunnel, new seats and trim are all areas that were subject to in-depth studies to improve ergonomics and practicality while still underlining the exquisite and unique sensation of being aboard a thoroughbred Ferrari.
The F430 Spider’s interior is both innovative and sporty and reflects the advanced technology and materials employed in the car’s construction.
The same uncompromising approach to driver control was the inspiration behind mounting the starter button and manettino on the steering wheel. The wheel itself is new with the upper rim flattened to improve visibility in the straight-ahead position, and the horn buttons are integrated into the inner rim where they can be easily used.
A plaque bearing the model name also takes pride of place at the center of the dash.
The cockpit is noticeably bigger than in the 360 and the passenger comfort is increased thanks to a slimmer central tunnel which houses the gear lever turret on the manual version or the F1 console on the paddle-shift version.
The interior details are completed by netting on the large rear bench and two electrically operated compartments for storage, one in front of the passenger and the one on the rear firewall.
The seats have also been redesigned for greater lateral support.
Electric seats are available on request as is a racing seat with a carbon-fiber structure.
The F430 Spider is powered by the new 90° V8 featuring Ferrari’s traditionally uncompromising design approach with a flat-plane crank (180° between throws). This is an all-new unit that does not share any components with the 360 Modena’s engine.
The improvement in terms of performance, weight and reduction of overall dimensions is yet another result of Ferrari applying its wealth of F1 experience to its road cars. Despite a 20% increase in engine displacement over the 360 Modena’s power unit (from 3,586 cm3 to 4,308 cm3), engine weight has grown minimally by just 9 lbs, while performance is considerably improved across the board. Torque increases by 25% (343 lb-ft at 5,250 rpm, 80% of which is already available at 3,500 rpm) and power by 23% (490 hp at 8,500 rpm). The engine is extremely compact with a cylinder spacing of just 104 mm. Similarly, Ferrari’s engineers integrated the sump and main bearings in a single casting which, along with a smaller diameter twin-plate clutch and flywheel, has reduced the engine height between the bottom of the oil sump and the crankshaft to just 130 mm (from 145 mm on the 360 Modena power unit). In line with the latest developments in high specific output engines, there are new 4-valve cylinder heads, and the inlet tracts and valve diameters are derived directly from designs used on the F1 engines. Support from the company’s Gestione Sportiva racing side was essential in defining performance characteristics.
The twin overhead camshafts per cylinder bank feature continuously variable timing on both inlet and exhaust cams, and hydraulic tappets drive the valve gear. Actuation of the variable valve timing is guaranteed by a high pressure hydraulic system (20 bar), obtained by using a supplementary pump, an external accumulator and a circuit that works in parallel with the oil circuit for the hydraulic tappets.
This ensures that a full timing cycle is completed in 0.1 seconds. Ferrari has dropped the mixed gear/toothed belt distribution system for a chain-driven system, thus reducing the overall length of the engine.
The intake manifold features straight inlet tracts to the two central plenums, which, in turn, have trumpets individually, cast at the top of the tracts for each cylinder to ensure optimum airflow to the cylinder heads.
A rotating drum actuated pneumatically by the engine control unit ? compensates for variations in the effective volume inside the two plenums to optimize the intake resonance characteristics and therefore maximize the torque curve throughout the rev range. The performance targets set were achieved also thanks to unrestricted intake and exhaust ducts for optimum gas flow efficiency and the high compression ratio (11.3:1). The painstaking care taken over optimizing internal fluid dynamics and combustion efficiency has ensured a high specific power output despite conforming to the latest Euro 4 and LEV 2 emissions standards. Engine management is via two electronic Bosch Motronic ME7 control units with twin-motorized throttles, single coils and active anti-knocking control throughout the entire rev range.
E-Diff – Transmission – F1 gearbox
One of the technical features that set the F430 apart is the E-Diff or electronic differential. The E-Diff is now standard equipment on the F430 ? the first time that a production car has been equipped with such a sophisticated system for high-performance road holding.
On the track, the E- Diff guarantees maximum grip out of bends, eliminating wheel spin. On the road it is a formidable technological refinement that improves road holding. This system is available both on the F1-paddle shift version as well as on the manual gearbox model and consists of three main subsystems:
a high-pressure hydraulic system, shared with the F1 gearbox (if present);
a control system consisting of valve, sensors and electronic control unit;
a mechanical unit housed in the left side of the gearbox.
Torque is continuously distributed between the wheels via two sets of friction discs (one for each driveshaft) controlled by a hydraulic actuator.
The amount of torque actually transmitted to the driven wheels depends on driving conditions (accelerator pedal angle, steering angle, yaw acceleration, individual wheel rotation speed) and brings considerable advantages in terms of performance, direction stability, active safety and handling feedback.
F1 racing was a vital test-bench that enabled Ferrari’s engineers to develop a highly sophisticated system that perfectly matches the requirements of a road car designed to reach over 192 mph and generate considerable cornering forces. For the driver, the E-Diff increases handling balance and grip (which noticeably improves acceleration), improves road holding on the limit and also guarantees even better steering feel.
The F430 Spider features a new aluminum transmission casing that incorporates the gearbox, electronic differential, bevel-type final drive, as well as the engine oil tank into a single unit. The 6-speed gearbox incorporates multicone synchronizers, while both the 6th gear and the final drive have been lengthened to make the most of the greater power and torque of the new engine, and to guarantee reliability.
The F430 Spider is available with either the classic Ferrari open-gate manual gearbox or with the F1 paddle shift that Ferrari has continuously developed and refined over recent years for its road-going berlinettas. Ferrari’s F1 gearbox for the F430 Spider is state of the art and introduces a number of important modifications: the F1 gearbox management incorporates a new control strategy which further perfects gear change speed and smoothness under hard use. Changing gear takes just 150 milliseconds, as measured by the “hole” in acceleration during the change.
While increasing the speed of changes during hard driving, the new software improves smoothness in the fully automatic mode (actuated by a button on the central tunnel), making the F430 a true all-rounder. Gear change strategies have been fully integrated into all the car’s other control systems and are modified by the setting selected by the steering wheel-mounted manettino.
The shift paddles are fixed to the steering column in tried and tested Ferrari tradition (right-hand paddle to change UP and the left to change DOWN). However, reverse is now selected by a button on the central tunnel for greater ease of use and engages in half the time taken by the 360 Modena’s system.
Manettino & Vehicle set-up
Just like in Formula 1, the F430 Spider driver can change various areas of the set-up of his car using a single selector set on the steering wheel. The manettino, as it is called by Scuderia Ferrari drives, is a switch that has been adopted directly from racing, where total commitment to driving requires maximum efficiency and speed in controlling the car’s various functions. This switch quickly and simply controls the electronics governing suspension settings, the CST stability and traction control, E-Diff and the change speed of the F1 transmission, as well as the integration between each of these individual functions. The manettino is set on the steering wheel and is an example of the studies that went into positioning all of the controls inside the car. The manettino enables car settings to be changed to suit personal preferences, road surface conditions and available grip. The settings available to the driver have been concentrated in five different strategies. These are (in ascending order according the level of performance):
ICE: performance is significantly restricted (maximum intervention by the stability and traction control) for maximum stability ? indispensable for driving in very slippery conditions (snow or ice). The car reacts smoothly to driving inputs. The automatic gear changing mode is selected which prevents gear changes at high revs and reduces the possibility of the rear wheels locking up on down changes, even on ice.
LOW GRIP: this position ensures stability both on dry and wet surfaces. It is therefore recommended for surfaces with poor grip (rain), gritty roads or particularly broken or undulating blacktop. In this configuration, unlike ICE, the driver can still use the F1 paddle shift. The adaptive suspension setting is optimized to provide a very comfortable ride without impeding the handling balance, and the stability and traction control remains in the ICE configuration.
SPORT: this is the standard setting that strikes the best balance between stability and performance. Ideal for the open road, this position provides an optimum compromise for maximum performance in safety. Compared to the previous settings, SPORT adopts a more sporting configuration for the adaptive suspension to maximize performance, handling and stability at high speeds. The CST also goes up a level, giving the driver greater freedom, without excessively reigning in the engine.
RACE: this setting must be used only on the racetrack. Gear changing is even faster to minimize gear-shifting times. CST intervention is reduced to a minimum (the engine management only cuts the engine when absolutely necessary).
CST: actives or deactivates the stability and traction control. With the manettino set off, the driver has full control over the car’s reactions. The only driver aids that remain active are those that cannot be overridden such as ABS and EBD (electronic brake distribution). With the CST deactivated, the electronic differential has a specific calibration, which releases the car’s incredible levels of handling and road holding free of stability controls. Gearshift speeds and damper settings are the same as in RACE. Over and above the significant technological breakthrough that the manettino represents, the approach to the new F430 underlines the importance given to exploiting the potential of the vehicle while maintaining ease of use under all conditions without jeopardizing safety and stability. This has led to a new way of conceiving the car, which is not only based on the use of new technical features (e.g. Electronic differential, stability and traction control, and adaptive damping) but also on the improvement of Ferrari’s tried and tested technologies (F1 gearbox, advanced engine control) and the optimization of their integration. The adoption of stability and traction control (CST) together with electronic differential has made the car even more stable, easier and safer to drive without affecting its handling and the excellent feedback the chassis gives the driver. The system in fact ensures maximum safety in all driving conditions (from extreme track use to town driving) and on all road surfaces (rain or dry, or even ice). The CST intervenes in a smooth, unobtrusive way only as and when needed, without taking the driver’s mind off what he or she is doing.
The F430 Spider features Ferrari’s uncompromising forged aluminum, double unequal-length wishbone suspension set-up front and rear with anti-dive and anti-squat geometries. It also boasts new-generation software for managing the car’s adaptive suspension to provide the perfect balance between handling and comfort. Two sensors are mounted on the lower front wishbones to read suspension travel, two on the upper shock absorber mounting points to measure body movement, one on a rear shock absorber mounting point to measure roll and yaw, and a last sensor on the steering column to measure steering angle.
The control logic adjusts the shock absorbers’ damping characteristics within a certain range based on the settings selected by the driver using the manettino on the steering wheel.
The wheels are fitted with 19″ rims with 225/35 tires at the front and 285/35 at the rear. There is also the option of run-flat tires combined with electronic pressure control. When flat, these tires can be driven for 75 miles at a maximum speed of 50 mph.
The power steering has a servo that adjusts the degree of assistance on the basis of engine speed. The ratio is very direct at 60 mm/rev and the turning circle is around 36 feet.
The braking system of the F430 Spider consists of powerful, all-round vented and cross-drilled cast-iron discs (330 x 32 mm) with four-pot calipers and is integrated with the entire car’s electronic control systems (ABS, CST EBD). Working in close collaboration with Brembo, Ferrari’s engineers have developed a new cast-iron alloy for the discs, which includes molybdenum for better energy/heat dissipation.
This new alloy provides significantly improved braking performance without increasing the size (and therefore the weight) of the discs.
The overall heat-energy index for the F430 Spider under braking from 187 mph is one of the lowest among high performance cars with cast-iron systems. An outstanding alternative is the option of specifying the latest generation system based on carbon-ceramic technology that already been successfully employed on its road cars, starting with the Enzo Ferrari. Different diameter carbon-ceramic discs are mounted front and rear: 360 x 34 mm with 6-pot calipers at the front, and 350 x 34 mm calipers at the rear.
The diameters of the hydraulic pistons are differentiated to distribute the pressure exerted on the discs and optimize performance. Pedal travel is constant even under repeated braking, and fade has been eliminated even under hard track use. The adoption of carbon-ceramic discs have brought a significant increase in longevity: the new brakes can in fact easily cover 350 laps at racing speeds on the Fiorano track.
Chassis and Aerodynamics
As with the 360 Modena (the first Ferrari berlinetta built entirely from aluminum) the F430 Spider’s chassis is constructed at the Scaglietti facility in Modena in collaboration with Alcoa. The choice of aluminum and the design methods used has enabled two main objectives to be achieved: considerable structural stiffness, and excellent driver and passenger protection with minimal weight.
The space-frame chassis consists of a mix of aluminum extrusions, paneling and cast nodes and has been completely revised using finite element analysis to further reinforce key areas.
To offset the loss of the roof, the Spider’s chassis has been significantly reinforced. The sill members have been strengthened with extremely light, rigid aluminum foam inserts where they connect to the rear B-post chassis members.
Similarly, at the front the sill members are strengthened by a robust connection with the A-posts that include the Ferrari-patented integral door mounting points and the base of the windscreen surround. Just like with a F1 monocoque, the increased structural rigidity means that only the suspension absorbs asperities from the road surface. Therefore there is no deformation of the chassis to interfere with the car’s road holding in cornering, braking our under acceleration.
The improvements to the chassis have also brought the car’s passive safety features up to excellent standards. A minimal increase in overall chassis weight of 10% has enabled Ferrari’s engineers to increase the resistance to front-end impact by 37% and to rear-end impact by an astonishing 105% (in compliance with US stand 301).
To achieve such high standards, particular care was taken over the cassis design in the all-vital crumple zones, integrating the design of the carious elements with the type of aluminum used.
The central part of the chassis does not absorb energy, but is rigid enough to resist intrusion and roll over.
Front and rear armature increases crash resistance, while the mountings of the side impact bars have been strengthened and reinforced so as to transfer energy throughout the chassis away from the area of impact.
Similarly, the areas around the A-post and B-post and inner wheel arches have been reinforced. The floor of the car is in a new aeronautical alloy, which sees use for the first time in a car chassis.
The alloy (7075 T6) is extremely resistance and its extremely lightweight provides further advantages.
The impact resistance of the door has been significantly improved thanks to a high-resistance element inserted into the structure (yellow part) and connected mechanically to a second bar (purple part) with improved mechanical characteristics, so that they form an incredibly robust whole. This intervention means that the F430 Spider now fully complies with the requirements of the new standards for offset front impacts at 40 mph.
The reinforced door structure, inner wheel arches and chassis, the positioning of the collapsible arm rest and a more enveloping seat shaped provides excellent protection. Scores in side impact tests were so good that side airbags were deemed unnecessary. Load in rollover are supported by the A-posts, which have the door mounting points integrally cast into them to a special Ferrari patent, and by the rear roll hoops. The illustration shows how the car’s superstructure guarantees excellent occupant protection.
Traditionally, Ferrari designed its mechanical package to achieve maximum aerodynamic efficiency. F430 Spider aerodynamics have been developed with the same engineering approach and wind tunnel testing as used by the F1 team. The result is a highly efficient configuration that channels airflow for maximum down force and thus grip. Similarly air is channeled to the engine to both increase power as well as optimize cooling of transmission and brakes even under the heaviest use. Perfecting the F430 Spider’s aerodynamics has brought about a 40% increase in down force compared to the 360 Modena, thus increasing high-speed stability and the car’s active safety. At 125 mph, that figure equates to 66 lbs more down force than the 360 Modena and this becomes 155 lbs at 186 mph, amounting to a total of 575 lbs. The significant progress made in the car’s aerodynamics is also reflected in the improvement of the ratio between the coefficient of downforece (CI) and the drag coefficient (Cd) with a 40% improvement over the 360 Modena. This excellent result was in part achieved by including a new spoiler at the bottom of the front bumper where it cleaves ‘clean’ air, i.e. that still distributed by the turbulence generated around the body of the vehicle. Lengthily developed of the shape and the angle of attack of the spoiler resulted in an impressive increase in down force over the front axle – up to 275 lbs – which contributes in no uncertain manner to longitudinal vehicle stability and steering precision.
The older on the trailing edge of the engine cover works in conjunction with the new diffuser between the rear wheels.
The latter features similar fences (deflectors) to those used on Ferrari’s single-seaters, and increases the speed of air flow under the tail of the car creating an area of depression and ground effect that pulls the car down. In this conformation, the underbody actively helps increase down force to a maximum of 300 lbs over the rear axle. Aerodynamic development also had a part in extracting the maximum performance from the new 4.3-litre V8. The two intakes for the engine are positioned over the driven wheels in an area of high flow pressure, thus guaranteeing a greater volume of air to the intake manifold.
At high speeds, in face, ram-effect induction accounts for 1% of the engine’s maximum power (490 hp). There is a new specific cooling system that makes the most of the new air intakes at the front and the flow over the radiators positioned ahead of the wheels. Hot air from the radiators escapes through vents on the sides of the front bumpers in an area vacuum that maximizes the extraction effect. The engine compartment is cooled by air from two intakes set into the front and rear wheel arches. The air is channeled and distributed to critical areas with a high thermal load to provide optimum cooling even under hard use. The brakes benefit from a greater airflow thanks to larger intakes and bigger diameter ducting. The new wheel design also helps maximize the expulsion of hot air from the brake discs to match their performance.
Particular attention was focused on analyzing the airflow in the cockpit to ensure that the F430 Spider would be as comfortable for occupants with its hood down as up. Experimental techniques and fluid-dynamic calculations were used to establish the speed of air arriving at the occupants’ heads and the amount of pressure generated by the airflow. This in turn led to the definition of the dimensions and position of the wind deflector to ensure optimal comfort in terms of wind and noise.
Lastly, the new rigid Plexiglas wind deflector was tested in the wind tunnel using pressure transducer to assess structural and aerodynamic loads. This allowed Ferrari to optimize the wind deflector’s performance, in terms of rigidity and vibration.
Carrozzeria Scaglietti personalization program
The Carrozzeria Scaglietti personalization program is Ferrari’s way of ensuring that F430 Spider owners can choose from a range of racing and styling features and personalized finishes so wide that the possible combinations are virtually limitless.
A total of 16 bodywork colors, 12 leather colors (these can also be used for the roll-bars) and 8 colors for the mats are available.
The fabric top comes in a choice of 4 colors while owners can also choose between carbon and titanium-colored aluminum dashboard inserts and whether they want a yellow or red background for the rev counter.
The program offers virtually endless freedom when it comes to creating your very own bespoke car.
The personalization options are divided into four main areas: Racing and Track, Exterior and Colors, Interior and Materials, Equipment and Travel. Clients who wish to give their car a sportier flourish will be able to order our exceptional carbon-ceramic brakes and body-hugging carbon-fiber bucket seats. Owners can also choose a color for their car’s bodywork that is not included in the standard range or even supply their own sample.
“Scuderia Ferrari” shields can be fitted to the fenders and red, yellow or aluminum brake calipers can also be specified at the time of order.
Challenge-style wheels are also available. The F430 Spider’s interior can be personalized in any number of ways: owners can choose between various leather trim color combinations or opt for Daytona-style upholstery with perforated inserts.
There’s even a special leather trim for the rear bench.
So detailed is the program that even the color of the thread and the spacing of the stitching can be specified. The travel options include an upgraded stereo system with sub-woofer, a satellite navigation system, Bluetooth wireless technology for your mobile-phone to the speakerphone system built directly into the radio. An exclusive luggage set, specially tailored for the F430 Spider, is also available.
The F430 Spider is the only uncompromising mid-rear engine drop-top to boast a compact, fully automatic electric top that allows the engine to be seen at all times. This stylistic flourish comes courtesy of a soft-top system designed to take up as little space as possible.
The rear window is made of exceptionally flexible polycarbonate which folds away easily, and can be simply and rapidly replaced.
Given the existing engineering, performance and stylistic constraints, this design is the ideal solution, as it does not effect the weight distribution or the handling. The new F430 Spider’s wind deflector has been improved and is now much more effective than the 360 Spider’s.
The roof fabric itself is now available in a range of four colors: black, navy, beige and Bordeaux.
The wind deflector system consists of three sections that considerably reduce the turbulence generated inside the cockpit at high speeds when the roof is down. Two of these are located inside the arches of the roll bars, while the third is a new removable section made of rigid Plexiglas that fixes between the two roll bars.
The fully lined electric top is completely automatic, and is opened and closed by seven electro-hydraulic actuators.
The structure of the mechanism is made from cast aluminum and pressed steel.
The front latches are integrated directly into the windscreen header rail to ensure maximum headroom clearance.
The hood folds over twice before disappearing completely into a well just ahead of the engine compartment. The well itself is made of extremely rigid SMC (Sheet Moulding Compound), which reduces the transmission of noise to the cockpit. The top has its own automatic rigid body-colored tonneau cover (again in SMC) which is integrated with the roll bars.
Opening or closing the F430 Spider’s top takes 20 seconds to open or close from start to finish.
The driver is alerted that the movement is complete by an audio signal. For safety reasons ? given the high-performance nature of the F430 Spider ? the convertible top can only be operated when the car is moving at under 5 km/h (3 mph) and the engine cover is closed. This restriction also helps reduce the weight of the convertible system and thus the car.
The interior finish and the unusual shape of the structural elements mean that none of the mechanism is visible.