Inden Design does delicate work on Ferrari F430

July 23rd, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Inden Design Ferrari F430 s

It’s can’t be an easy task trying to improve upon a Ferrari. There are a few aftermarket tuners (Edo Competition, Novitec Rosso) that manage to pull it off, usually.  Now German tuning house Inden Design is aiming to be one of the elite few with its own modified Ferrari F430 Spider. Inden Design has played it safe and kept the modifications tasteful, instead of going extreme.

Under the bonnet, Inden Design has been subtle only reworking the ECU and fitting a new stainless exhaust system — drawing out a 35-horsepower increase to bring total output up to 525 horses. Sport springs have been fitted behind multi-spoke 20-inch wheel and a lip spoiler, side skirts and carbon diffuser round out the aerodynamics upgrades.

The interior has undergone some treatment with extra leather applied to areas that didn’t have enough. If not ruining the vehicle is a sign of a good Ferrari tuner then Inden Design’s F430 Spider is a success.

Novitec unleashes twin-supercharged Ferrari Scuderia Spider 16M

July 1st, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Novitec Ferrari Scuderia Spider s

Not everyone is in favour of tuners messing with one of Ferrari’s amazing creations, let alone a limited edition model like the Scuderia Spider 16M.

But German tuning company Novitec Rosso has made a name out of putting their own creative mark on the cars from the prancing horse. Their most recent creation is this twin-supercharged Scuderia Spider 16M that pumps out 696 horsepower at 8400 rpm and 503 lb-ft torque at 6300 rpm. Capable of hitting 100kph in 3.5 seconds, it’s easily one of the fastest convertibles in the world.

The Italian drop top receives larger wheels and tyres, sport springs with a hydraulic lift system, black taillights, side markers and reflectors, a leather/carbon fibre steering wheel, and carbon fibre shift paddles.

Schumacher’s Ferrari FXX blitzes Top Gear test track (+video)

June 24th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Ferrari FXX dyn

Alright, so whether you’ve seen it already or not, most of us are aware that Top Gear has just revealed the Stig’s ‘true’ identity as none other than F1 maestro Michael Schumacher (see video clip).

The big unhelmeting came as part of the new season’s first show that aired in the U.K. last Sunday. Before the Stig a.k.a Schumacher was exposed he took to the Top Gear test track in a Ferrari FXX and screamed around it ruthlessly. How did the ex F1 World Champion go in his own crazy fast Ferrari? Well, there are some super fast cars on the lap times board so I won’t tell you where exactly he placed.

Check out the video below to see the lap and the result.

Ferrari confirms development of green technology

June 11th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Ferrari 430 bio fuel

After the recent announcement from Lamborghini that they will start developing hybrid technology, Ferrari is now rumoured to be heading in a similar direction. In a recent interview, Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa hinted towards the fact that a Ferrari hybrid concept is in the works. Felisa said that in order for the company to comply with the 2014 European emissions standards, Ferrari will need to develop new technologies away from its current engine line-up.

Apart from the Ferrari hybrid concept vehicle, the company is also exploring turbocharging and using bio-fuel (E85). Felisa said the ECU of the new Ferrari California is already capable of running on E85.

Felisa went on to say the Ferrari hybrid concept will have its debut shortly, at one of the upcoming North American car shows.

Ferrari California 2009 Review

May 27th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

ferrari-california-fq3

Is Ferrari’s California named for the US market? Yes, but not as recently as most might think. For the California convertible launched with such hoopla late last year is not the first Ferrari to carry that name. The 1957 250GT California Spider was also designed for export to the US. It used aluminium for the bonnet, doors and boot lid with steel elsewhere, though I believe some racing versions were aluminium-bodied.

Don’t remember it? That’s not surprising — only 45 were made, one of which was auctioned in 2007, reaching US$4.9 million.

Suddenly, the current car’s NZ$450,000 seems a bargain — though that price isn’t fixed. The waiting list is still around two years, and what you pay will depend on the exchange rate when it’s delivered.

What you’ll get is a car that when, it arrives, achieves a few firsts for Ferrari. Its their first front-engined V8; its first with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission — the only gearbox option; the first with a folding metal roof; a multi-link rear suspension; and with fuel injection.

This 4.3-litre flat-crank engine is an evolution of the unit fitted to the 430, the fuel injection co-developed with Bosch using a similar set-up to that used by the A1GP cars, with an injector per cylinder fitted between the inlet valves. It uses high pressure and a high compression ratio to maintain efficiency at the 8000rpm the engine can spin to.

The 338kW/485Nm thus delivered is controlled by that new transmission, supplied by Getrag to Ferrari design and fitted to the rear axle. Changes are quick — especially with ‘sport’ selected via the little red, steering wheel-mounted thumb lever.

The ‘hardest’ mode also switches stability control off — but we left it on for our road drive, for this is not just a boulevard cruiser, despite that folding lid. This car will sprint from zero to 100kph in less than four seconds, and reaches 310kph. I achieved close to that with shocking ease, the speed delivered with all the aural drama you expect from a Ferrari.

Yet this is also a surprisingly practical car. It’s not as graceful as I expected, the side view is especially clumsy as Ferrari attempted to mask the height of the rump, mandated by the need to tuck that roof away — it takes just 14 seconds to deploy. But the front, and front three-quarter looks just as you’d expect it to.

That high stern imparts extra drama to the rear three-quarter view; and the cabin’s been wonderfully built to please both the road-focussed driver and his or her passenger. There’s even a vanity mirror and a cup-holder, albeit one more suited to espresso than Starbucks, and tucked beneath the armrest.

There’s a wind-deflector too, which dramatically cuts wind-buffet to reduce the impact on your coiffure.

As you’ll have gathered, we initially barely noticed the suspension. Our mostly motorway route wasn’t designed to show it at its best, but the narrow, potholed switchback up the Sicilian hills revealed that it’s incredibly compliant in comfort mode and impressively controlled in sport.

The slight, 53 per cent rear weight bias settles those driven wheels, the multi-link rear set-up and driver-focussed stability control allowing just enough rear movement for liveliness, without getting hair-raising. Indeed, the car felt rock solid until the motorway’s silly speeds and gusting winds caused an almost imperceptible weave, at which my passenger suggested a more moderate pace.
Meanwhile our rapid climb had underlined the car’s stiffness, with very little scuttle shake felt.

In fact despite its nimbleness this Ferrari would almost have been insufficiently exciting were it not for the car’s soundtrack, wild enough to raise the hair on your neck without getting wearing over a long day in the saddle.
Ferrari’s made an impressive compromise with this car. It’s not the hardest of the breed, but it’s arguably the best-balanced and most forgiving without blunting the sharp edge too far.

The modern California isn’t the most powerful Ferrari, and it’s heavy — the roof mechanism and all the comfort and convenience features do exact a toll. But these days money is tight, and even the super-rich may think twice about which toys they buy. A Ferrari that offers the experience most drivers seek with a comfort they won’t expect, at the cost of losing the ragged-edge few will reach on real-world roads, is the car to build. Meantime the California’s softer focus leaves a gap for a more aggressive sports car, with a 430 Scuderia Spider likely to be waiting in the wings.

Price: $450,000 approx

Words and Photos: Jacqui Madelin

Ferrari applies for 4WD hybrid system patent

May 27th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Ferrari patent

Ferrari has been busy working on a part-time 4WD system designed for both its mid and front-engined models for years now. Ferrari has named the new technology ‘Insertable 4×4’ and it has remained a bit of an enigma till now. A recent search of the European Patent Office revealed that the Italian carmaker applied for a new patent back in February for a 4WD system with hybrid propulsion.

The filing describes the system as being primarily intended to “improve the drivability of a sports car in conditions of poor grip.”

Ferrari’s design eliminates the associated heavy weight of 4WD vehicles by using two powerplants in the car — each to drive a separate pair of wheels — which in turn eliminates the need for heavy and bulky transfer cases and driveshafts. In all the designs, however, the engine is matched to an axle via a locking differential.

The design is similar to Citroen’s hybrid system in that it separates the roles of the engine and electric motor. Furthermore, Ferrari has submitted six different layouts for the patent, with some of them sitting the electric motors within the wheels instead of on a conventional axle.

No launch date has been revealed for the system but it looks like a lot of further work is required so don’t expect to see any 4WD hybrid Ferraris for some time yet.

Tokyo Motor Show looking thin on the ground as manufacturers pull out

May 25th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Tokyo Motor Show

Porsche and Maserati are the latest party poopers for the biennial Tokyo Motor Show, adding to BMW, Volkswagen, Volvo, Ford, GM, Chrysler and more. That’s 22 foreign brands that will be staying at home watching the telly as the world focuses its attention on the new releases of other manufacturers. Japan’s 14 domestic manufacturers will almost certainly have a strong presence, but who is left out of the foreign marques: Ferrari, Hyundai, Lotus and possibly Kia.

This will take the number of cars at the show down by around 50%.

Ferrari F430 Calavera – it’s skulltastic

May 19th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Ferrari F430 Calavera fq

The Ferrari F430 is about to make way for its replacement that is set to debut at the Frankfurt show. Ferrari itself is saying goodbye with a special edition to be auctioned off for charity (read news item). Now a pair of German firms has collaborated to send off the F430 in its own unique way. A joint effort by a company called Unique Sportscars and famous Ferrari tuners Novitec Rosso has seen the creation of the F430 Calavera.

First thing to do was strip the F430 of any class or charm this has been done by a unique tattoo-style paint job by airbrush artist Knud Tiroch. From there, Novitec has given the F430 its full workover, complete with twin superchargers to deliver 707 horsepower — more than Novitec’s own 656hp F430 Evoluzione — plus 20″ rims and an adjustable suspension. Unique and Novitec have also modified the interior and also added a strip of daytime running lights along the front splitter, integrating into the bespoke Novitec body kit.

The performance mods help the custom exotic hit 100kph in 3.5 seconds and push on to a claimed top speed of 347 kph. Unique Sportscars says they’ll only build 11 examples, and with such varied tastes in this crazy world it might just sell them all.