Just about the only item carried over from the F355 was its glorious V8 engine, enlarged from 3.5 to 3.6 litres for the 360. Equipped with four overhead camshafts and five valves per cylinder – an arrangement borrowed from Ferrari’s F1 engine – this remarkable unit produced 400bhp at 8,500rpm, with 275lb/ft of torque available at 4,750 revs. Unlike the F355’s transverse unit, the 360’s six-speed gearbox was mounted longitudinally behind the similarly disposed engine and could be ordered with an improved version of the F1-inspired paddle-operated gearchange pioneered on the F355.
While its power train represented a degree of continuity with the past, in every other respect the 360 was entirely new, the most striking break with Ferrari tradition being the body’s frontal treatment: gone was the omnipresent oval grille, replaced by two separate intakes set low into the front fenders à la McLaren F1. A larger car than the F355, the 360 owed its radical new shape to the quest for increased downforce, generating four times as much as the F355, yet achieving the impressively low Cd of just 0.33.
There was further innovation beneath the skin, a lighter, stiffer aluminium spaceframe/monocoque replacing the old arrangement of steel frame, tubular steel sub-frames and part steel, part aluminium body. This extensive use of aluminium meant that, despite its increased size, the 360 weighed around 220lbs less than the F355. Although it was also more powerful (by 20bhp) than its predecessor, the only straight-line performance increase claimed was a marginal reduction in the 0-60mph time to 4.5 seconds, top speed being unchanged at 183mph. Nevertheless, the 360’s on-the-road dynamics constituted a significant advance, its best time around Ferrari’s Fiorano test track being some three seconds faster than the F355’s. This black on black Ferrari 360 has covered a mere 37,000 km from new. This example is fitted with the desirable F1 gearbox, electric seats, climate control along with xenon head lights. Despite its prodigious performance, the 360 Modena is no mere ‘racer on the road’ but a thoroughly modern automobile employing state-of-the-art technology to make the car reassuringly user-friendly.