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My unsolicted, biased, and subjective account of driving exotics, including F-cars

Discussion in 'Ferrari Discussion (not model specific)' started by Aradune, Jul 15, 2004.

  1. Aradune

    Aradune Karting

    Jul 11, 2004
    76
    San Diego
    (this was written before I got my 360 CS, yet I won't revise it until I've driven the 360 CS on the track, which should be later this month at Willow Springs)

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    The Top 20 -- Cars Driven & My Thoughts/Reactions

    The following are brief write-ups on the various cars I’ve driven. They are completely and totally my subjective opinion and, though I don’t mean them to be, may very well be controversial. I in no way pretend to be a ‘professional’ or even a ‘great driver’. If you’re really curious, try to drive these cars yourself (if you haven’t already) – your mileage will undoubtedly vary, and your opinion is certainly as good as mine… probably better. Also, the list is hardly complete and many fantastic cars are absent -- again these are only the cars I've personally had the privilege to drive. I certainly want to experience many more, and when and if I do, I'll try to keep this updated.

    0. Ferrari 360 Challenge

    I ranked this car zero because, well, it’s not street legal. I drove one quite a few laps at Willow Springs and wow, what can I say. It’s a lighter (and therefore faster) 360 with much tighter suspension, fantastic grip (Pirelli P-zero Slicks will do that for you) and amazingly fast F1 shifters. Not only that, a factory roll cage, race seats, racing harness, etc. is stock. If I ever buy a track-only car, this is definitely on my list, especially since they’re down to about $140k used (well over $200 when I was looking). When you drive a street Ferrari you can tell they’re bred for the track as well – how much more that is true in a real Ferrari race car.

    1. Ferrari Enzo

    I was lucky enough to drive one briefly just the other day. I put it in the #1 slot but with a small caveat: I didn’t drive it more than a mile or two, and didn’t get to push the car hard at all. So, ultimately, I can’t really write up a legit review. That said, from what I’ve read, and from what I did experience, I’m 99% positive I’d rank it #1, so I went ahead and did just that.

    The Enzo looks better than any other car save maybe the F40, but that may only be true because of the nostalgia I have for the F40 (it’s been my favorite car since 1989). Every line that looks strange in a photo is addressed when you see the car in real life. The build quality of the car is amazing and the cockpit very ergonomic and comfortable. The engine sound was not what I expected – instead of the higher F1 sound of an F50 or F355 with a Tubi, it sounded a lot lower and staccato… almost like a high-revving Viper, if such a thing existed. The steering and road feel is unparalleled. The feedback is perfect and the steering totally accurate… it feels like a go-cart, even moreso than the F40.

    And then there’s the power. I gave it 1/3 throttle in first and the wheels spun for a moment before the traction control kicked in and I was thrown to the back of my seat. Again, I did it in second, but had to slow down quickly because I was out of room. I can only describe the power as like riding a friend’s CBR900RR street bike hard, and the torque like punching a 2-stroke CR500 motocross bike in the desert. In other words: scary fast.

    I don’t know what else to say. It left me speechless and shaking. If only I could have experienced the full acceleration curve and its handling prowess. Maybe one day…

    2. Ferrari F40 (euro-spec)

    I rented this car in Germany and drove it on the Autobahn and on the Nurburgring. I’d read and even heard from people that this car is very hard to drive, that the power is uncontrollable, the interior plain, and the ergonomics uncomfortable. I say that’s crap. The power was very controllable, the interior very much like the 360 Challenge above (Spartan, and race car-like – I LOVE IT), and the ergonomics not really that bad. No, it’s not a daily driver, but yes, it is the road car closest to a true race car that I’ve ever driven. And oh, the horsepower. For those that don’t know, the European F40 is the true F40 – the American spec car was neutered to meet emissions… in fact, it lost so much HP they had to re-gear it just to get like a 4 second 0-60. The European model, on the other hand, has got to be somewhere around 3.5 – 3.7 sec. The handling is very stiff and the car is a natural on the track. Also worth noting is how well it accelerates when you’re already at speed (something, as of late, that is becoming more and more important to me). For example, I was able to gain on a GSXR-750 sportbike from about 80mph to around 150mph. Unbelievable. Additionally, the F40 is my favorite car of all time in terms of appearance. And while I’d still rather have an F50 (or even moreso the Enzo) because of its naturally aspirated V12, this car is still a dream car for me. If only the American-spec car wasn’t so much slower… buying one here would be more for looks and less for performance, I’m afraid :(

    3. Ferrari 360F1 Modena

    This is truly an amazing car. The build quality is much higher than older Ferraris, its cabin is more roomy than any other sports car I’ve even driven, and the performance and overall feel (the way the car communicates to you, the driver) is astounding. It is much more drivable day-to-day than, say, the F40, but it’s still a Ferrari – it’s loud, and people stare and surround the car whereever you park it… so it’s still probably not a daily driver for most, although it could be. The power is excellent, and even though it redlines at 8500, there’s still plenty of mid-range torque – enough to have fun with, but not so much that it makes it difficult to drive (say, like a Viper). The F1 transmission is a dream – while some ‘purists’ still prefer shifting conventionally, I’ll take the F1 transmission any day of the week, even though it still shifts rather roughly if you’re not under full acceleration (which should be rare… say, only when there’s a bimbo box or a cop in front of you).

    The car is both amazing on the street and on the track. My only complaint would be that it comes stock with tires too skinny for it (215 front, 275 rear) and with Michelin Pilot Sports (a tire I really don’t care for). Once I put tires on it more close in size to what the Challenge car comes with (225 front, 295 rear) and Pirelli P-zero asymetricos, it turned into a dream. I’ve no idea what the skidpad is, but the Zanardi NSX is .99g and the 360 is superior (now that proper tires both in terms of compound and width have been equipped), so I’m guessing 1.01gs or so. It also has Tubi exhaust and air filters, allegedly giving it 5-15 more hp (depending on who you want to believe). In terms of straight line performance, I have drag raced a Viper GTS and we were neck and neck. I have come to a conclusion, however, after driving so many cars… I think I prefer specialists to generalists. To that end, I want my Ferraris to be extreme: loud, fast, race-car like, and exotically attractive. The 360 is a little too much of a compromise for me, and I’d prefer a Euro F40, an F50, or Enzo had I the funds… if you’re going to go Ferrari, I say go all the way.

    Update: The 360 Challenge Stradale has been announced and should hit the states as a 2004 model. This car, given my taste in cars, what’s important to me, and the criteria above, could very well be the ultimate street car for me, pushing it to #1 or #2 on my list.

    4. Acura NSX Zanardi

    Speaking of generalists, I indict the NSX… but more on that later. The Zanardi is an amazing car, ranked for me above, for example, the Porsche 996 Turbo even. The car is really just an Americanized Type S, and is therefore lighter, lacks power steering, and has tighter suspension, amongst other details. Basically, you get by default what most enthusiasts do to their NSXes right off the bat anyway, plus the exclusivity and gorgeous grey BBS rims. The strengths of the NSX for me? Beautiful (I don’t agree with the assertion that the looks are dated), unparalleled build-quality (it feels even better built than my wife’s Lexus), fantastic handling and feel (second only to the Ferrari’s above), and an engine that can survive day to day driving and thousands of thousands of miles (I drove a ’91 NSX with 90,000+ miles on it and it was still very tight.. the engine still bright). The cons? Well, we all know them: the car needs wider tires (partially addressed with the latest model update) and more power. (I’d also say stiffer suspension, but we’re still talking about the Zanardi). All in all, some people have called the NSX the Japanese Ferrari, and I agree. They are indeed very similar… similar looks, similar handling, similar philosophy behind the power band (both high revving, etc).

    5. Porsche 996TT

    My favorite daily driver to date, but that’s also my problem with the car. Having driven it extensively on the street and on the track, in my opinion it’s MUCH happier on the street. To me, the 996TT is more of a GT car than a sports car. You sit higher, there’s a little too much body roll, you are insulated from a lot of road feedback, etc. On the track it’s easy to drive pretty fast, but then when you really want to push it, and you turn of the incredible Porsche Stability Management System, well, it becomes a bit of a beast (though it is certainly possible I just need more practice with a rear engine car, and that they are more different than mid-engine cars than I suspect). I also don’t like the powerband for the track – all the power is in the middle, and it just tapers out at the high end… plus, it’s a turbo, and even though some reviews have said the lag’s not there, it IS. The throttle performance and response is nowhere's close to the throttle-by-wire 360’s.

    All that said, it’s probably my favorite daily driver. Non-enthusiasts really don’t know if it’s a boxster or what, so there’s rarely a crowd around the car in the parking lot. That extra room and comfy ergonomics? Great for the street. The Porsche, unlike the Ferrari, also has lots of nifty gadgets available, including a sweet sound system and a navigation system. Power? Having mid-range power on the street is perfect, and the car goes from very manageable when the turbos aren’t on to one of the fastest cars around when you punch it. And that power is not only available 0-60, but the thing also takes off like a bat out of hell when you downshift into fourth at 80mph. Also, the AWD is fantastic… not only do you feel more safe when it’s rainy or wet, it helps when accelerating from a stop (you just lurch forward like a tank – no stressing about wheel spin or being pushed this way or that). And it also helps when you hit any kind of bumps, sand, whatever… it’s definitely the safest car when you’re the type that has to drive fast as much as possible (not that that describes me, of course).

    6. Ferrari 550 Maranello

    I drove the 550 briefly at Willow Springs, the irony being that this is a GT car, not a track or sports car, but I’ve never driven it on the road. I can say this, though: it would be an awesome road car. Though the power is technically comparable to the 360, it’s really quite different. The car has much more torque and a very different power band. The car is also very heavy, with more body roll than even the 966tt. I’d say that if one really wanted to daily drive a Ferrari, this would be the model you’d want. That said, for the money and in that I want my daily driver to be less conspicuous, I rank the 996tt above this. I would have noted also that the Porsche is faster, but then I think this has been addressed by the car’s replacement, the 575M.

    7. Porsche 996 C4S

    It’s really easy to describe this car: it’s a 996tt without the turbo. I drove a friend’s recently, and it really is just that. The differences are very minor… the suspension seemed perhaps a little stiffer, but I may have been imagining it. The power was great, but also like the Turbo – all in the middle, with it tapering out at the end: definitely more a street car than a track car, IMHO. Bottom line: if you want what a high-end Porsche has to offer but can’t quite afford the Turbo, get the C4S.

    8. Corvette Z06 (375hp)

    Ok, I’m going to say this right up front: I’m a red-blooded patriotic American, but I don’t like American cars. I typically don’t like their looks quite as much, and I definitely don’t like the build quality (or lack thereof). That said, the Z06 is an amazing car – just look at the data. Quite simply, it’s the best bang for the buck (especially now that it’s 405hp). Not only have I driven one for a bit, I’ve driven with quite a few on the track, and they are incredible. Not only are they fast, but you get like 1.0-1.01g right off the lot. But, though the quality seemed decent, it still didn’t feel that great, and my friend’s had problems pretty much right away. That, and the front end is long, and I just didn’t get very good road feel out of the car – it seemed purposely hidden from me, much like the Porsche Turbo. The car just feels large and more like a GT car, despite the performance numbers that clearly indicate it is indeed a sports car, and a formidable one at that. If I was going to buy an American exotic, however, I think I’d get a Viper GTS ACR… say, yellow with black stripes.

    9. Dodge Viper GTS

    Wow, the Viper. It was hard to not rate it above the Z06 (and maybe, had I ever driven an ACR, I would). I’ve simply never driven a car that felt like it had as much torque… it just doesn’t matter what gear you’re in, the power is there. If one was a big street racer, this would be the car to have – it just goes, any time, any where. Someone pulls up on you and you’re not ready? Don’t worry – you’re ALWAYS in the powerband. It also looks great… very aggressive and beautiful, IMHO. And, if you have the talent (and I mean, a LOT of talent) it can be VERY fast on the track. Yes, contrary to popular belief that the Viper is just some straight-line muscle car, it actually is a fantastically performing car on the track, both in a straight line AND in the corners.

    The cons? Like I said, it’s very hard to drive. For one, there’s tons of engine braking – if you can’t heal-toe with the best of them, you’re going to have issues on the track. And the braking? Well, they FINALLY added ABS (the Vipers I’ve driven didn’t have it)… and without ABS, it’s pretty scary. Also, you think the nose is long and in your way in a Corvette? It’s even longer in the Viper, really interfering with the ‘one-with-the-road’ 'Zen' feeling I like to achieve. And build quality? Forget it. It’s not there, and they rattle and make noise in a scary way (or, at least, all three I’ve ever driven have).

    10. Mazda RX-7 TT

    The 1993 Mazda RX-7 that I used to own was a great car. Decently fast with excellent handling characteristics. And it had good build quality, although I hear that I was rather lucky, that many other of these cars have issues. The power band is good, somewhere in-between the Porsche and the Ferrari in philosophy. The turbo lag is pretty bad, though. I sold mine to a friend who then took it and made a barely street legal track car out of it, and it now can beat me in a 360 on the track (and he only put probably another $10k into it or so). That’s pretty incredible (and he’s a really good driver, and I didn't drive the Ferrari at 10/10ths).

    If we had access to the newer, Japanese only RX-7s here (that have 280+ HP, as opposed to the 240 or so the American spec cars did, and have ‘type R’ equivalent model variations), I assume I’d have ranked this car even higher on the list. But I don’t. I will say that in the $10-$20k price range, it’s the sweetest used sports car you can buy, and one of the easiest to upgrade for the track.

    11. Honda S2000

    Well, why do I have an S2000 if I’d rate it a 10 on my list? Because it’s a convertible, that’s why. It’s a small, darty roadster with a 9k redline made by Honda that outclasses Boxsters and M Roadsters. But, when compared to all of these other cars, it does have some issues. For example, it’s cramped inside, has NO torque, and the radio sucks. It’s a lot of fun to drive, especially on a hot California night with your lady next to you, but it’s definitely no street racer (unless you like to ‘cruise’ with the engine whining above 6k RPM – ouch!). On the track it’s fun, with amazing balance (50/50 weight distribution, I believe), but also rather hard to drive fast. The opposite of the Viper, the challenge of the S2000 is to KEEP it in its power band. If you do, it’s pretty darn fast… if you don’t, there go a bunch of cars right on by you. I will say, though, that I’ve been on the track, for example in a 996tt, and have had S2000s zip right by me. Why? Hoosiers or Khumos, better exit velocity coming out of the last corner, and probably better drivers than me too. I know, for example, that Doug Hyashi FLIES in his S2000.

    12. BMW M3 (E46 SMG)

    I just drove one of these recently that a friend finally picked up. WOW. If you’re in the market for a sports sedan, look no further. I used to think BMWs were pretty much snobby status symbols, but this car changed my mind. It’s beautiful inside and out, has a great motor, lots of power (0-60 in 4.7 seconds, plus some sweet torque), and the SMG (F1) transmission seems to be on par with the 360’s (although, granted, this was some quick street driving as opposed to many, many laps on the track in the Ferrari). All that said, however, it’s a Sedan, and don’t forget that. It’s comfy, it’s fast, it has some trick shifting, but it also has like a mid-high .80s skidpad and a BUNCH of body roll. Enough to scare you, in fact, because you think for a second you’re driving a sports car with all this power and great handling characteristics… that is, until you hit your first turn and the tires start screeching and you start drifting off the road… Also, to nitpick, the paddle shifters move with the steering wheel (as opposed to the Ferrari 355/360 setup, where the paddles stay in one place so you always know where they are). To me, this was very disorienting. To a driver who is used to the setup, maybe it's not so bad. It's is technically more 'realistic' in that the paddles in an F1 car move as well.

    13. Acura NSX-T '00

    Ah, here’s where I risk being banned from NSX enthusiast boards and crucified at the next NSX meet. Pretty much everything I say about the Zanardi above applies, except this thing has body roll almost as bad as the M3 above. And, you know, that’s fine Mr. Honda IF you also sell sportier versions in America as well. But you don’t, and that’s pretty upsetting. Sure, release the heavy, boaty targa for the suit who wants people to see him in an exotic, but also give us enthusiasts that new Type R, dammit. We want the handling as well – thank God, as is well known, it doesn’t take much to turn a stock NSX into a truly fabulous sports car, which is exactly what virtually everybody does.

    14. Lamborghini Diablo VT

    Boy, was this a let down… probably more of a let down than #15 below. Now, I’ve never been a huge Lambo fan… the Countach just wasn’t my dream car as a small boy (the 512BB was, and then later the F40). But I still thought they were amazing, and was even more excited when the Diablo came out. I finally rented one, though, about 2 years back and at risk of heresy, the car is, well, a bit of a poseur. Yeah, it’s beautiful, and yeah you get more looks driving it than any Ferrari I’ve ever driven, but boy it’s a boat. It’s certainly a GT car and not a sports car. The ergos and visibility is bad, and the handling feels atrocious. And it didn’t even seem that fast (granted, this wasn’t the 6.0 model). Yes, going 70mph in first gear is pretty cool for a while, and yes it does feel very secure at speed and I was convinced it would do 190+ down the freeway in a very stable way… were I insane enough to have tried it. But, well, it’s just not for me… if I wanted a heavy GT car I’d much rather have a 996tt or a new Ferrari 575M. I’m still waiting for some decent track tests of the Mercialago, and hopefully it’s a much better car. (For another similar perspective, check out the CLASSIC Best Motoring January 2000 issue, where they race a Diablo, F40, F50, and other cars at Suzuka – the Lambo is pretty embarrassing there as well).

    Update: the new Gallardo is getting some rave reviews, though I've not seen a true track test with it up against the 360 and 996tt. Regardless, it sounds like a Lambo that's much more up my alley.

    15. Ferrari 355 Spider

    This car was also a let down. It’s beautiful, it’s a Ferrari, you get all the looks, and man what an incredible exhaust note (sweeter, IMHO, than the 360). But it’s slow. And this was the first Ferrari I ever drove, and I'd already put some miles on a Zanardi, so I was very disillusioned (in fact, I wondered for a while if Ferraris were overrated – thank God the 360, F40, etc. later changed my mind and renewed my faith in the marque). I just couldn’t (and can’t) imagine paying that much for a car I know a Zanardi NSX would smoke. Its powerband reminds me very much of the S2000… there is NO low end or mid end, and no torque. It does go when you are screaming close to its 8500 redline, but it certainly lacks the 360’s midrange, and even a 3.2l NSX’s midrange. I used to say that if you really, really wanted a Ferrari but could only afford a relatively cheaper one, get a 355… but then when Wayne Mello bought a 360 in the low-mid $100k range, there went that argument. I will say, though, that I still like the looks of the 355 over both the NSX and the 360.

    16. Acura NSX '91

    Not too much to say here… it was like the ’00 NSX, except older and the 3.0l engine lacks the midrange power to which I’d been accustomed. A friend of mine bought one for a really good price, I drove it, and this is where I’d rank it as long as it remained stock. ‘Nuff said.

    17. Corvette C5

    Well, take all the bad about the Z06, keep it, then remove all the good about the Z06, and you have a regular C5. Heavy, boaty, not that fast, big front end, poor road-to-driver communication, and weak build quality. Again, ‘Nuff said.

    18. Ferrari Testarossa

    My criticisms of this car, IMHO, are a bit unfair, because this car is pretty old (I think it was a ’90 (pre-512TR), but I’m not sure). I drove it briefly and it’s simply dated. It’s about as fast as an older NSX or an RX-7tt… it’s pretty heavy and boaty… the ergos suck, and the build quality was kinda like what I was told some older Ferraris were cursed with. That said, it’s gorgeous and you get a lot of looks and it’s still a Ferrari. I guess if were collecting cars to collect, not to drive, this car would be up there.

    19. Acura Integra Type R

    These last two cars are, like the M3, not really sports cars. The M3 is a sports sedan, and the Integra/RSX is a sports coupe. So it’s really not that fair to even put them on the list, but I did. The Integra Type R is a fun car, though not very good for daily driving due to the fact that it’s not a 6 speed but they geared it for the track anyway. It therefore drives down the freeway in 5th with the RPMs so high it’s pretty annoying. That said, if you want a cheap car to go on the track with, I suppose it’s decent. I’d still go with a used RX-7tt any day, but then the Integra is newer and not a turbo. I’d love to drive a Japanese RSX Type R (still called an Integra there, I believe).

    20. Acura RSX Type S

    A friend just recently bought one of these and all I can say is wow. Despite it being at the bottom of my list, I can’t think of a more amazing new car in its price range. For like $23k you get a 200hp car with an 8k redline. Pretty sweet. And it’s a 6-speed, and the ergos are better than the older Integra (e.g. an adult can actually semi-comfortably fit in the back seat without requiring neck therapy thereafter). That said, the suspension is not as stiff, it’s certainly not as track ready as the Integra Type R, and it’s uglier than its predecessor. Honda, release the RSX Type R here please. Thanks.
     
  2. jordan747_400

    jordan747_400 F1 Veteran
    Lifetime Rossa

    Dec 9, 2002
    6,926
    Houston, TX
    Full Name:
    Jordan Witherspoon
    Amen to that! I had trouble putting my experience in words but that sums it up perfectly.

    Ive driven quite a few of the same cars you have and I happen to agree with you on almost all accounts! However, I would actually rate the 2000 NSX slightly higher. Its really not that bad of a car at all. The argument about it just not being a Ferrari really doesnt hold much water :) If anything it is a very respectable car for sure. Whether a person would prefer a Ferrari over an NSX or vice versa is very subjective and unique to his/her own person circumstances.

    The 550 really is THE best modern GT car in my opinion. I say that over the 575 as well...Unless you absolutely need the F1 transmission I really dont see too many reasons for the huge price upgrade from a 550 to a 575. Both are absolutely exceptional and really do handle well for their size. I say these things without taking into consideration the comfort level of the cars. While they felt great to me, I can imagine (without first hand experience) Aston Martins and Maseratis (though being in a slightly different league) beating the 550/575 in comfort and luxary but maybe lacking in excitement and overall rawness. Maybe someone else who has experience with Aston Martins can back me up on that.

    Im looking forward to driving some more Porsches in the future. The only one I have driven was an old 944 and it was tons of fun, although Im pretty sure my Mustang could out perform it in most accounts. The 944 Turbo, thats another story however! The car had that thick indestructable "german" feel and I also enjoyed the type of gearing as well --really geared twoards high speed cruising.

    Great post!!
     
  3. Testacojones

    Testacojones F1 Veteran

    Nov 3, 2003
    5,139
    Terra
    Having owned and driven hard some of the cars you talked about I think that you really needed more seat time in them to think or feel some of the things you said.

    The Testarossa is something you can't miss, the Testarossa and the 512TR are very different inside and out and in the engine bay, maybe not to people that are not in the Ferrari world but totally obvious to anyone driving either one. I have over 50,000 miles in a 88 Testarossa and it does feels a little old but to me it didnt feel that heavy, there are sport cars today just as heavy maybe a little down in power at low revs. I took it in the track and was faster than two Porsches C4s a 2003 and a 2004 around the track, and that was my first time out in the Testarossa. The 996TT is much but much faster than a 360F1, after driving a 360F1 hard for half an hour I really didnt like it much more than my Testarossa and then went and bought a 996TT, the 360 handles great and the fit and finish was better than the Testarossa but the looks and sound and the whole car didnt make my heart skip like the Testarossa. I find myself racing more against motorcycles than cars in my 996TT and have fun beating them, I know there are faster bikes than my car but haven't raced one that beated me yet. The 360 felt like an improved NSX and thats that. A viper GTS would have killed that 360 no problem so I can only imagine that the viper had a bad clutch or a bad driver. I have no more time to write I have to go but some things you said just don't click in my head, and by the way I hate american cars, have fun thats all that matters
     
  4. Agent Smith

    Agent Smith Formula 3

    Apr 20, 2002
    1,474
    The F355 is slow???????
     
  5. jimangle

    jimangle Formula 3

    Nov 5, 2003
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    James
    Maybe he was driving a 355 that was running on four cylinders.
     
  6. ETW

    ETW Formula Junior

    Nov 3, 2003
    575
    MA
    Thats what I was thinking... How is it slow? And no torque...? It doesnt really matter when the car weighs so little.
     
  7. SupercarGuru

    SupercarGuru F1 Rookie
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    Dec 14, 2003
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    John Temerian
    to be honest...he wasnt on par with alot of things he said...

    -jt
     
  8. Aradune

    Aradune Karting

    Jul 11, 2004
    76
    San Diego
    Well, it's simply true. The power band in the 355 is at the top, and it doesn't have a lot of torque. This was one of the reasons the 360 offered more torque and at lower RPMs -- Ferrari wasn't satisfied with what the 355's engine had to offer.

    That, and I know a Zanardi NSX will smoke a 355 spider on the track -- seen it happen multiple times.
     
  9. Aradune

    Aradune Karting

    Jul 11, 2004
    76
    San Diego
    Cool. Not only did I say it was my subjective analysis and therefore only opinion, but at the same time I don't see you posting anything in response based on the cars you've driven.

    If you have actually driven a lot of exotics, then please do contribute, as I'd love to hear your subjective analysis as well -- until then, however, rejecting my opinions with no back up, explanation, or creditentials means I politely tell you to bugger off :)
     
  10. Aradune

    Aradune Karting

    Jul 11, 2004
    76
    San Diego
    This is fact. Ferrari feels that way, owners feel that way, and magazines feel that way. That's why the torque curve for the 360 was so improved over the 355.

    If you disagree, there's not much I can say other than you need to get out and drive some more cars, and maybe we should meet at the track.
     
  11. Aradune

    Aradune Karting

    Jul 11, 2004
    76
    San Diego
    Maybe the Testrarossa wasn't well taken care of - I didn't put a lot of miles on it.

    That said, you're quite wrong about the 996tt vs the 360 Modena. While their numbers look similarly, road test after road test, especially on tracks, show the 360 beating the 996tt.

    A viper GTS is also comperable to these cars, but harder to drive as fast on the track -- but if the driver has the skill, it will also stay with the 360 and 996tt in general on the track.

    Having put 15,000 miles on both a 360 and a 996tt (I sold the 360, trading it in on a 360 CS, but I still own the 996tt and drive it regularly, and have also taken it to the track multiple times) I can say that your absolutely wrong to assert that the 996tt is 'much faster'. YOU may drive it faster, whereas I'm faster in the 360, but like I mentioned, professional race car drivers are generally faster on a track on a 360.
     
  12. Aradune

    Aradune Karting

    Jul 11, 2004
    76
    San Diego
    According to the web, the spider weighs 2976.2 lbs and has 267.7 ft lbs @ 6000 rpm and has a .93 skidpad and a 0-60 in 4.6 seconds.

    The Zanardi NSX (essentially a US spec NSX Type S) weighs 3050 lbs and has 224.2 ft lbs @ 5500 rpm and a .99 skidpad with a 0-60 in 4.8 seconds.

    It's pretty well accepted, though, that Ferrari wasn't very honest with the 355 numbers but have since been a lot more accurate with the 360 and other newer cars.

    I guess we could argue stats forever; my experience was after driving a 355 after having already owned my Zanardi, that it was very disappointing (other than the looks and sound). I've also been on multiple tracks and smoked 355s with my NSX.

    Does this prove anything? No. It's just my anecdotal experiences, and also accounts from other owners, as well as magazine reviews.

    *shrug*
     
  13. Pong

    Pong Formula Junior

    Nov 5, 2003
    785
    Thailand
    Full Name:
    Pong
    Having driven a few cars mention in this thread also...I feel that I should add my opinion in here...

    To me, the F355 does feel slow. I owned and drove it daily for over a year. And I must say it lacks mid range torque. The 360 is a big improvement in both torque and handling...although I drove the 360 very little, but I did spend full day at the track with it...and, boy..it was fun to drive.

    I used to own '94 NSX...it is truely a great car, very useable very friendly and can be quick if you ask it to perform. It can't beat the 360, but it sure gives 355 a good kick. By the way, my wife still wants it back.

    I just bought 512TR recently, and still have not done many miles in it...but it does feel old. But the power delivery is quite impressive, I love the torque that 12 produces...smooth and constant.

    My previous experience with the Porsche has been very possitive. I drove the 993 C4S for almost 2 years before moved to 355. The best thing about the car???...its brake. 993tt was a lovely car to drive...up to a speed..ha ha. The 996 turbo...only got a chance to drive it around local track on the "Porsche Road Show" and felt that it was a great car...easy to handle. My brother recently bought the 996 GT2 and sold it quite quickly...this is due to the fact that this machine is way out of our ability to control and have fun at the same time. It is one mean animal. The power delivery is phenomenal. Everytime I floored the gas, it's like a bomb went off...and it does keep going...I reach about 260 km/h and itis still pulling hard.. But the front gets very jiggly and unsecure on Thailand at high speed...

    The latest car in our garage is the Gallardo...it's still in a run-in period, so I don't want to say anything. My brother is much happier with this car than his F360...it must be a good one.

    Other than this, I don't think I can say much more. Other cars that I own and drive (drove??) are mostly rice rocket: modified '92 RX-7, modified '95 Supra tt. I still own R34 Skyline GTR...lightly modified..but a great fun on track. I used Mitsubishi EVOLUTION VI to do some autocross here in Thailand..it was the quickest car I ever drove (Motec does wonderful things to the engine+turbo). Point-to-point sprint, it's hard to beat the prep EVO.

    So, let me add this then.... if you care about performance, try some of the Japanese car (don't mind the ricer image...I don't). Modify it a little. You will be surprise how good it is for smaller sum of money. But if you want the look and the image plus tradition along with the performance, you still need to drive cars like Ferrari and Porsche....

    For me...I would try to have boht..ha ha.
     
  14. Testacojones

    Testacojones F1 Veteran

    Nov 3, 2003
    5,139
    Terra
    In the 0-60, 0-100 and 1/4 mile the 996TT is absolutely faster than a 360F1 specially 0-100 with one full second ahead towards the 996TT against the 360, however one driver could be faster in the track in either one that depends on the experience of the person driving a 996TT or any other 911, the 911s command that the driver fully understands and trust this machine plus the driver really needs to be really a good one to take them to the edge and lap their best, this is why people respect the drivers that really can exploit the 911s chassis. Maybe you and some other people lap faster in a 360 but that doesn't tell the whole story and as far as the 360s lapping faster times in the track in comparisons to the 996TT that I have never had a chance to see.
     
  15. Auraraptor

    Auraraptor F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Sep 25, 2002
    11,391
    MO
    Boy if you guys think 355's are slow stay away from 328s 308s mondials etc etc...

    That said I miss the acceleration of my old NSX. My 328 feels like grandpa in terms of speed. Oh well, still rather drive the 328. Puts a bigger smile on my face.
     
  16. damcgee

    damcgee Formula 3

    Feb 23, 2003
    1,864
    Mobile, AL
    One thing that might be a bigger deal at a road course than it is at the drag strip is the weight difference. The Turbo weighs about 400-500 lbs more than the 360, and AWD isn't necessarily a positive thing on the track once you're up to speed (if it causes understeer, etc).

    It seems to me that a novice driver would probably be faster in a 996 Turbo on the track due to the extra torque and less worry about spinning due to the AWD, but I would think that in more experienced hands the 360's superior balance would mitigate the Porsche's advantages.


     
  17. Vyrus

    Vyrus Rookie

    Jul 15, 2004
    24
    Suffolk, Va
    Full Name:
    Cyrus Mistry
    Wow this is an excellent thread, I'm impressed that the NSX made is so high on your list. I am aware that it is a great car, especially for the dollar, yet I was not aware that it could hang with the best (Ferrari)! Makes me want to go out and buy an old one.
    -Cyrus
     
  18. 6.0 se

    6.0 se F1 Rookie
    Lifetime Rossa

    Mar 26, 2004
    3,087
    Atlanta,ga. area
    Full Name:
    A.J.
    14. Lamborghini Diablo VT

    "Boy, was this a let down… probably more of a let down than #15 below. Now, I’ve never been a huge Lambo fan… the Countach just wasn’t my dream car as a small boy (the 512BB was, and then later the F40). But I still thought they were amazing, and was even more excited when the Diablo came out. I finally rented one, though, about 2 years back and at risk of heresy, the car is, well, a bit of a poseur. Yeah, it’s beautiful, and yeah you get more looks driving it than any Ferrari I’ve ever driven, but boy it’s a boat. It’s certainly a GT car and not a sports car. The ergos and visibility is bad, and the handling feels atrocious. And it didn’t even seem that fast (granted, this wasn’t the 6.0 model). Yes, going 70mph in first gear is pretty cool for a while, and yes it does feel very secure at speed and I was convinced it would do 190+ down the freeway in a very stable way… were I insane enough to have tried it. But, well, it’s just not for me… if I wanted a heavy GT car I’d much rather have a 996tt or a new Ferrari 575M. I’m still waiting for some decent track tests of the Mercialago, and hopefully it’s a much better car. (For another similar perspective, check out the CLASSIC Best Motoring January 2000 issue, where they race a Diablo, F40, F50, and other cars at Suzuka – the Lambo is pretty embarrassing there as well).

    Update: the new Gallardo is getting some rave reviews, though I've not seen a true track test with it up against the 360 and 996tt. Regardless, it sounds like a Lambo that's much more up my alley."
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Put down the crack pipe. Maybe you rented a replica, it sure sounds like it. Would you know the difference? Did you look under the car? In the engine bay? You want to look at magazines, check this one out. I dont think they were on drugs.

    http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/coupe/112_0008_lambvsfe/index2.html
     
  19. ETW

    ETW Formula Junior

    Nov 3, 2003
    575
    MA
    I appreciate what you have to say. IMO the 355 feels faster than an NSX. Accelerating on the highway it had plenty of punch, and going through 1st gear into second you can leave a good amount of rubber. Its plenty fast enough for me, so I dont mind other cars (NSX) being faster.
    And yes, you were most likely in a Diablo replica, since the Diablo is far faster than most of the cars you rated above it.
    PS the 355 spider gets .98 Gs on the skidpad
     
  20. JBsZ06

    JBsZ06 Formula Junior

    Dec 6, 2003
    758
    Great write up and thanks for your insight..

    I have a Z06 with 224/224 .563 114lsa cam/pully/long tube headers/3.73 rear gears/2004 shocks and a hurst shifter.(465 hp at the flywheel and the 2004 shocks really make a big difference over the original 2001 shocks)

    The cars a blast...and its relatively inexpensive so I don't have to worry much about it being stolen etc..

    I own the car..it doesn't own me..and for me..I find that more enjoyable..

    I'm planning on having zeroshift installed in 2006 when it becomes available as a retrofit option here in the states...(comparable in some ways to the ferrari sequential shift technology in its user capabilities although somewhat of a newer technology coming to consumers)

    The car takes a beating and doesn't even breath hard..

    That said..theres nothing like the sensous beauty of a Ferrari 360 or Lamboghini Gallardo..

    I enjoy this site very much and appreciate the very cool atmosphere here..
     
  21. jordan747_400

    jordan747_400 F1 Veteran
    Lifetime Rossa

    Dec 9, 2002
    6,926
    Houston, TX
    Full Name:
    Jordan Witherspoon
    With regards to hte 355. Ive been a passenger in a well driven 355 spider and it had the kind of acceleration that made my head hurt. Not a slow car by any standards :)
     
  22. Aradune

    Aradune Karting

    Jul 11, 2004
    76
    San Diego
    #22 Aradune, Jul 17, 2004
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Sorry, no crack pipe.

    You know, many of these responses are knee jerk, reactionary, and outright religious in nature. People are defending cars emotionally and not rationally. My post was clear that these were my opinions, that I am no expert driver, and that other people's milage may vary, but that I have been lucky enough to drive a decent # of exotics. I am STILL waiting for someone who has also driven such a variety and to hear their opinions -- and if they differ from mine, so be it, but they will still be far more valid than the insulting and ignorant shoot from the hip posts such as these.

    Yeah, sure, buddy, I was driving a replica. You can bugger off as well.

    It was an older Diablo VT, not a 6.0 liter, I talked about how impressed I was with the stability at speed and the fact that you can easily exceed 60mph in first gear. I also talked about the attention and looks one gets in a Diablo, which far exceeds what I've received in my 360, that's for sure.

    But it was still a GT car, not a sports car, and wasn't that fast (high 4's to low 5s 0-60 maybe?), and cornered poorly, had a LOT of body roll, and was overall a disappointment. It's lack of speed is probably why they later went to the 6.0 and the overall lack of performance on the track is undoubtedly why they went to the Mercialago and Gallardo -- the reality is Diablos are pretty weak track cars, ESPECIALLY the earlier Diablos. Hell, I've been to Willow Springs and seen embarassed Diablo GT drivers when going up against 360 Challenge Cars, GT3 Cup Cars, and pimped out Vipers.

    And don't just take my word for it -- take a look at the January 2000 Super Car battle from Best Motoring, featuring the F50, F40, 996 GT3, 993 GT2, etc. The Diablo gets SPANKED. And spanked hard on a real track (Suzuka).

    I love sports cars. I love how they are built with different form and function relative to the design specs, and differing philosophies and ideologies behind their origins and design. My 996tt is very different than my 360CS, but I love them both -- I don't criticize the 996tt because it's quiet, and I don't criticize the 360CS because it doesn't have a NAV system.

    Try maybe backing off the religious dogma and rhetoric and try to be objective for a moment, and then try to learn to appreciate the good and bad of the various exotics available to us, and also perhaps learn to call a car with problems (e.g. the early Diablo) for what it is, not some dream you have in your head -- did you also have posters of hot chicks next to Countaches when you were a kid?

    In summary, here are photographs of the Diablo VT I put several hundred miles on -- if you think it's a replica, I definitely want some of what you're smoking. Lastly, the magazine article you refer to seems to be a Diablo 6.0 vs. a Ferrari 550 -- no clue why you posted a link to apples and oranges here -- not only am I criticizing the VT with the 5.7, but I also make it clear that undoubtedly the 6.0 is a better car, and the Mercialago an even better car. Hello? Anyone home?

    (ps. whereas my original post was civil, full of disclaimers, and an attempt to share my personal experiences and opinions with others, some people have chosen to resort to insult intead of logcial discourse or even disgagreement (not everyone in the thread, don't get me wrong). I have responded not only with more data to back up my experiences and to refute their silly assertions (e.g. the Diablo was a replica, and 355s actually have a lot of mid-range torque (yeah right), but I also have been a bit snappy in response -- for that I apologize to some extent -- but niether can I let such rhetoric and Ad Hominem go totally unanswered).
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  23. Aradune

    Aradune Karting

    Jul 11, 2004
    76
    San Diego
    Not saying it's slow -- it's a beautfiul car, is fast, has an incredible sound, etc.

    But it's slower than a Zanardi NSX, a 360, a 360 CS, a 550, a 575, and Enzo, an F40, an F50, a 996tt, and 996 GT3, a 996 GT3RS, 996 GT2, and probably slower than even a 996 C4S (and I know I've leaving a many other cars out of my list as well -- my point is that yes, it's fast, but not that fast).

    Hence, given my experience with the NSX and other less expensive cars, and because the 355 was the first Ferrari I ever drove, I was very disappointed and worried that Ferrari's were symbolism over substance.

    Much to my pleasant surprise, like an expensive bottle of Napa Cab, Ferraris are indeed incredible cars, worthy of their reputation, and fantastic performers on the street and track.

    It just took me driving a 360 and then later an F40 to verify that fact for me, that's all.

    Let there be no mistake -- Ferrari is my favorite marque, DESPITE the variety of exotics I've had the priveledge to own or drive. That said, I'm not going to get religious about this and claim all Ferraris as flawless, reject any criticism, and pronounce heresy as it appears others are wont to do.
     
  24. Aradune

    Aradune Karting

    Jul 11, 2004
    76
    San Diego
    Did you miss my reference to where professional race drivers took the 996tt and the 360 and a variety of other cars to the track, and the 360 was faster? (I think maybe even the Z06 took second -- I'll have to dig up the magazine). Just googling around I found another test that ranked the cars around track as follows:

    1. Ferrari 360 Modena
    2. Lotus Elise
    3. Porsche 911 Turbo
    4. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII
    5. Chevrolet Corvette Z06
    6. Porsche Boxster S
    7. BMW M3 coupe
    8. Mazda MP3

    Undoubtedly, there are many variations based on how the cars were performing, the weather/temperature, the track conditions, the drivers themselves, etc. But what seems to be pretty clear is that the 360 almost if not always beats the 996tt on the track.

    So, sure, maybe Walter Rohrl who specializes in Porsches would do better in a 996tt than in a 360; likewise, I'm sure Ferrari's Dario Benuzzi would do better in the 360 around Fiorano. My point, instead, is that the average skilled driver seems to do better around the track in a 360. In any case, I certainly do, which is what's ultimately important to me, yet I love 'em both.
     
  25. 6.0 se

    6.0 se F1 Rookie
    Lifetime Rossa

    Mar 26, 2004
    3,087
    Atlanta,ga. area
    Full Name:
    A.J.
    You have no clue. Go rent another exotic. I'm sure that would give the insight to post more nonsense. I cant believe you would post an opinion on a car that you rented. Well, my 22 years of Lambo and F car experience(not rented), tell me you need to lay off the juice. We all have our own opinions. I have mine as an owner, you have yours as a renter. And quite honestly, I would be saying the same things if the Lambo was near the top of your list.
     

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