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Ferrari F430's tech is all for the driving

It's pretty easy to forget about missing amenities, like USB ports or sat nav, when the F430's V8 is wailing like a banshee and you've negotiated yet another corner at warp speed.

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Derek Fung
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1 of 22 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

It's pretty easy to forget about missing amenities, like USB ports or sat nav, when the F430's V8 is wailing like a banshee and you've negotiated yet another corner at warp speed.

Derek Fung travelled to Melbourne as a guest of Shell Australia.

We don't normally review cars that are no longer on sale, but for Ferrari we'll make an exception or two.

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2 of 22 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

For our trip to the Yarra Valley and back, we drove both the F430 coupe and convertible, in addition to the California that we detailed earlier.

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3 of 22 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

Both F430s are strictly two seaters. The convertible's canvas roof retracts or raises in 20 seconds flat courtesy of a set of electric motors.

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4 of 22 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

The F430 is short, sits low to the ground and features body-hugging bucket seats, so ingress and egress is less about style and more about utilising muscles you'd long forgotten existed.

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5 of 22 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

OK, it's not a totally fair comparison, seeing as the F430 is a generation behind the California, but the F430 interior is considerably more spartan and the design aesthetic not entirely befitting a high-priced exotic car.

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6 of 22 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

The radio system is pretty basic, you'll have to supply your own sat nav and the climate control system is of the single zone variety.

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7 of 22 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

Not that we needed any, but the lack of beautiful music from the stereo just encouraged us to orchestrate our own soundtrack via the 4.3-litre V8 sited right behind our ears.

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8 of 22 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

Much as we love the wind-in-the-air driving experience, the F430's V8 sounds more furious within the closed confines of the coupe.

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9 of 22 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

Again, the wind-in-the-hair experience has much to recommend it, but we prefer the coupe's sleeker lines.

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10 of 22 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

Changing gears in the manual coupe is accompanied by a wonderful metallic snick.

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11 of 22 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

In the convertible we drove, mechanic and electric smarts remove the need for a clutch pedal. The upside includes fast gear changes in the white hot heat of driving. The downside is a loss of physical and emotional connection between driver and car; it also takes a considerable amount of effort to ensure smooth gear changes when driving at anything less than a flat-out pace.

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12 of 22 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

From most cautious to track day-ready, the manettino switch alters throttle response, gear change speed and the amount of electronic intervention.

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13 of 22 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

These grilles behind the doors feeds air into the hungry V8 beast living behind the passengers.

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14 of 22 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

These massive holes in the front bumper feed the two radiators that cool the engine down.

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15 of 22 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

The F430's rear tail-lights are apparently taken straight from the track-focused Enzo supercar.

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16 of 22 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

The standard alloy brakes do an excellent job of arresting speed, but buyers can opt for even more effective (once warm) carbon fibre ceramic alloy brakes.

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17 of 22 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

The F430's wing mirrors are inspired by those fitted to the Testarossa.

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18 of 22 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

Projector headlights are flanked by LED driving lights.

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19 of 22 CNET Australia

So, how does it drive? Despite the face we're pulling here, the answer is excellent.

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20 of 22 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

Power the F430 into a corner, its squat stance and well-sorted suspension ensure that body roll is measured on a scale between barely noticeable and not very much at all.

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21 of 22 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

The engine's 360kW of power and 465Nm of torque, and a kerb weight of just 1450kg thanks to an aluminium body structure, ensures brutal acceleration (or stupendously acceptable if you happen to be in the wrong gear). The engine's position in the middle of the car equates to excellent balance and poise, but when it breaks traction, it can be quite sudden and brutal.

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22 of 22 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

The convertible body feels considerably less stiff than its coupe brother, dulling both our enthusiasm and courage.

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