Ferrari F430 – OMG!

The great thing about when Ferrari offers a number of different versions of a given series is that you’re choosing your own kind of Best. Look at the F430. This car was in production five years, 2004-2009, and spawned a host of flavors, and I’d say even now, after all the stats and numbers are in, which one is actually the best comes down to delightful decisions like: Do you like having the wind in your hair? and Do you want to go faster than just fast?

The F430 has settled comfortably into what will most likely be a very respectable legacy. It succeeded the 360 and, in time, had to step aside to make way for the 458 Italia, in the manner of all great families. But during its reign it did many fine things. It carried its V8 with pride. It spawned a convertible Spider version as well as a coupe. It preserved the DNA of its bloodline — tail lights and intakes all bearing the design marks of Ferraris of yore. It was true to its roots.

Ferrari F430 – Scuderia

And when it had to face other royal families — the Porches and the Lamborghinis — it adapted, too. The 430 Scuderia appeared on the scene, a lighter, faster supercar which pushed the top speeds up to nearly 200 mph. It proved to be enough to keep the family proud.

And it fulfilled its duties well. Even when the convertible had to add weight and adjust balance to store the roof, still it runs nearly as fast as the hardtop. And the computer takes care of a lot for you, after you choose which setting you want on one of the F430’s newest adaptations — the manettino control knob, mounted on the steering wheel. Even after you’ve chosen your model, still you get different flavors.

Ferrari F430 – Near 200 MPH

But it’s the classic stuff that still tastes best. The rear mid-engine, thundering under glass right behind your head as you take it up to really close to 200 mph, it’s as refined and capable as ever — no matter where you switch the knob to. It’s all familiar to Ferrari and Ferrari’s people, and that’s what makes the taste of the new stuff sweeter. It’s evolution.

We’re still always talking about a new variety of Best though — let’s be honest. There are people for whom the 360 and the 430 and the 458 are all very different, and comparisons are maybe inexcusable. But the point is that the primary purpose of a royal family, like that of any organism, is to make sure there’s a next generation. You’re around so that you can pass that DNA on, take the tail lights and vents and hold them until its time to give them up. And so it makes it all the more important to enjoy the machine you’ve got, while it speeds toward its succession.

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