Nothing has changed in 2004 for the mid-engine two-seat 360 Modena, which is still the closest thing Ferrari has to an entry-level model. Both a berlinetta closed coupe and a Spider convertible are available. Ferrari claims the Spider has better chassis rigidity than any other convertible on the market.
Patience and a big wallet are needed to become a 360 owner. Enthusiasts must be willing to sit on a waiting list for a year or two to secure purchasing privileges.
Classic Ferrari styling by Pininfarina, one of the top Italian design firms of all time, helps the informed exotic sports car observer spot a 360 Modena from a distance. Ferrari says the design was inspired by such classics as the Ferrari 250LM and Dino. Even though the lushly rounded lines of a 360 Modena coupe or 360 Spider draw passers-by toward the car, the transparent glass hatch over the engine is what's likely to keep them there, staring in amazement.
In addition to a low, sloping nose and bulging back fenders, the 360 Modena has a fastback rear roof and a low 0.33 coefficient of drag. Two large functional air intakes up front cool the engine and twin radiators. Four exhaust outlets are visible at the rear. Five-spoke alloy wheels hold 18-inch tires, and cross-drilled disc brakes are installed. Rear roll bars contain a mesh screen to prevent wind buffeting when the Spider's top is down. Built on a 102.3-inch wheelbase, the 360 Modena is 176.3 inches long overall and 47.7 inches tall.
Ferrari says that despite a higher coefficient of drag due to the open body style, the 360 Spider performs exactly like the coupe. Its automatic top folds flush beneath a rear cover. Ferrari claims that the reinforced windshield surround can take the full weight of the car in the event of a rollover incident. A removable aluminum roof panel is available.
The two bucket seats are available in 12 shades of leather. Ferrari customers can even select the color of the upholstery's stitching, if they wish. Luggage goes into the front of the car, and the company claims that the space behind the seats is big enough to hold a golf bag. Ferrari seats are low, and the driver gets ample bolstering.
Cupholders are not available, but buyers can choose made-to-measure leather suitcases and golf bags. Options from Carrozzeria Scaglietti include carbon-fiber bucket seats, four-point seat belts and a leather-trimmed roll bar.
Under the Hood
Mounted behind the seats and ahead of the rear axle, the 3.6-liter V-8 engine features five valves per cylinder and develops 400 horsepower at 8,500 rpm and 276 pounds-feet of torque at 4,750 rpm. A six-speed-manual transmission is standard. Buyers who prefer the convenience of semi-automatic shifting can select the F1 racing version, which uses paddles to change gears electrohydraulically. Ferrari claims the 360 Modena can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and pass the 180-mph mark.
Antilock brakes and traction control are standard, but side-impact airbags are not available.