As observant chroniclers of the automobile scene will note (along with students of Hollywood B-lists and Sunday-dinner fixings), midlife makeovers are not always good news. Alleged improvements are easy to count in the version 2.0-or, as we used to say, Mark 2-editions; we've got press releases just in case we miss them. But sometimes these revisions are harder to feel behind the wheel. Indeed, be they mortal or super, most cars are lucky to emerge from the face-lifting process no worse than they were before.
So welcome, first, the most exceptional of the many exceptional features of the new Ferrari F430 Spider, the just-launched revision of the Ferrari 360 Modena, which debuted in 1999. This follow-up is a striking exception to the rule, not only equaling but fairly blasting past the incredibly super model it updates. As if it suddenly had 483 hp and 343 lb-ft of torque at its disposal, which, of course, it now does. Not since the Z06 version of the C5 Corvette debuted in 2001 has a vessel already so exciting to drive gone in for a mid-ocean course correction and returned to steam so wickedly strong and so noticeably improved.
Outward refinements seem subtle on this most unsubtle machine, until you learn that the only carryover sheetmetal is the doors.... Read full article