Even faster, even easier to drive, even more dramatic and, to my eyes, even better looking. Those were my first thoughts after driving the new 458 Italia that turned up here on test – straight after a weekend blasting around in ‘our’ used F430.
Does that make the F430 an inferior car to the 458? Yes, of course it does. Just as well, too, because who wants a new car without any progress? The 458’s double-clutch gearbox especially is a massive step forward over the 430’s rather more conventional robotised manual system, first used by Ferrari in the mid-1990s.
But despite all this, I can’t bring myself to look upon Steve Cropley’s F430 any less favourably. It still goes up the road absurdly well and can comfortably outperform some seriously fast cars, including an Audi R8 V10 we had around here for six months.
There aren’t many cars that can match it for drama or sense of occasion, either. I tagged along to a job involving the new Mercedes SLS in the F430 recently. Even the Gullwing, excellent car though it is, just didn’t quite have the pizzazz of the Ferrari. And you can add quite a few exotic cars to that list.