Ferrari 360 Modena

Buying advice Ralph Hosier
Tuesday, November 3, 2009 - 00:00
Ferrari 360 Modena

It’s one of the truly great modern Ferraris, and it’s tough enough to withstand everyday use too. Here’s all you need to know to bag a good one

The 360 Modena arrived in 1999, bringing with it new curves and computer-controlled suspension that made its predecessor, the excellent 355, look immediately outdated. Technologically the 360 heralded the beginning of a new approach to car design at Ferrari. Modern, lightweight and sophisticated, it featured the company’s first aluminium spaceframe chassis, which was 40 per cent lighter than the 355’s steel platform but also nearly 30 per cent stiffer, despite being slightly larger.

The Modena also saw a new word introduced into Ferrari reviews: reliability. The engineering had been more thoroughly thought through, and this was (and still is) reflected in lower servicing costs than for earlier mid-engined Prancing Horses.

For the 360, Ferrari increased the capacity of its V8 from 3.5 to 3.6 litres, enabling it to produce 400bhp at 8500rpm. The result was a 0-62mph time of just 4.5sec and, if you could find somewhere to do it, a top speed of 183mph. Around 70 per cent of 360 buyers opted to have their cars equipped with the ‘F1’ automated manual gearbox, which although fine on the move and excellent on track, can make low-speed manoeuvring a little tricky until you get the hang of it.

In fact, for everyday use the 360 is a bit of a mixed bag. The cabin is nice and roomy, which makes getting in and out relatively easy, and visibility is generally good, unless you are reversing. However, for what is quite a big car there is remarkably little stowage room, just a small space in the nose (which can be better utilised with the matching Ferrari luggage set), a shelf behind the seats, and the glovebox, so if you’re planning a weekend away then you had better travel light and buy anything else you might need when you get there.

The convertible ‘Spider’ version of the 360 appeared in 2000, then in 2003 the Challenge Stradale (not to be confused with the 360 Challenge race car) stormed on to the roads. A track-biased, stripped-out special edition, it gained titanium road springs and ceramic composite brakes, which provided legendary stopping power when hot. Inside there were fabric-covered carbon seats, while the CD player was deleted to save weight. Perhaps most significantly, the engine was squeezed to give an extra 20bhp, knocking nearly half a second off the 0-62 time and adding 3mph to the top speed, making the CS the ultimate road-going 360.

Owner's view

The 360 is without doubt the best thing I have ever bought. After two decades of 911 ownership I finally took the plunge and have never looked back.

My car is parked outside in the middle of a town, used every day and is a fantastic ownership proposition and driving experience as far as I am concerned. These cars were built to be used and are all the better for it. They are wonderful, but a little thirsty, mainly because it’s so difficult not to drive them!

Insurance wise it costs me £450 per year and an annual service and belt change is around £600 from my independent, who I would trust over and above any franchised dealer.

These cars are fantastic value at the moment. I think most people dream of owning one but are fearful of the running costs, but I’d say go for it. Get a car that has been used, rather than a garage queen, with a full service history and you’ll never look back. Chris Ramsden

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