Ferrari F355

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Ferrari F355

1994 - 1999
V12 Mid Engined.
3496 cc
380 bhp
6 spd. man
Top Speed:
180 mph
Number Built:
3 star
Ferrari F355
Ferrari F355
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 3


The Ferrari F355 was the first new model under the new vision Luca di Montezemolo. Launched in late 1994, the F355 was not a clean-sheet design - its chassis and powertrain were based on the 348 just as the styling implied, and Pininfarina’s work in the F355 was very limited.

It was virtually a 348 with modified details, such as odd-looking circular fog lamps, revised shape of air dam, rear bumper, rear spoiler, skirts, engine cover etc. (The chassis had the same wheelbase as the 348, although it was 30% stiffer).

The powertrain was via a 90° V8 mounted longitudinally amid-ship, mated to a transverse gearbox and driving the rear wheels. The engine gained 2 mm in stroke over the previous model, thus raising displacement to 3496cc from 3405cc. Breathing was greatly enhanced by using 5-valve cylinder heads, 3 intake and 2 exhaust per cylinder.

The centre intake valve opened 10° (phase angle) later than the side ones, thus creating swirl to improve air-fuel mixing, thereby creatng higher power and cleaner emissions. Titanium connecting rods reduced inertia thus raised rev and top-end power. Individual butterfly valves for each cylinder improved throttle response.

The result was a record-breaking 108.7 hp/litre specific output, up from the 348's 88.1 hp/litre. In total, there are 380 horses running under the engine bonet at 8,250 rpm, blessing the F355 with a 100 hp advantage over its rivals.

For improved stability, front and rear tracks were widened by 12 mm and 37 mm respectively. Body panels were mostly made of steel as before, but the bonet was made from carbon fibre, as was the newly-added flat undertray (which reduced aerodynamic lift and equalised downforce on each axle).

The 18-inch 5-spoke wheels were made of magnesium, which is even lighter than aluminium. The F1 semi-auto transmission greatly reduced driver fatigue during city driving, but most importantly this was not at the cost of performance.

While the F355 was a significant turning point for Ferrari, its successor the 360M raised the stakes even higher.

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Enzo Ferrari
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