Test Drive | Ferrari 430 6 Speed Manual

Test Drive Report | Ferrari F430 with Manual 6 Speed


In the F430 range, what’s rarer than the Scuderia, arguably even more hardcore but cheaper to buy? I would say it’s the F430 Manual.

The F430 is THE LAST manual transmission Ferrari. (Apart from a few custom-made 599 and California delivered to their special owners) It is a PURE modern-day Ferrari driving experience that doesn't get any better than this.

With the life-cycle of manual transmission sports car coming to the end, older folks like me might be considered “hanging on” too much to the past and not embracing the future. Similar to photographers who insisted to use a Film camera and refuse to switch to digital, we are a bunch of old geezers who will soon become extinct just like dinosaurs.

While the Double Clutch transmission is undoubtedly a preferred weapon of choice in racing and to perform better lap times, the manual transmission remains a popular choice among those who seek greater connection with their machines. The case in point is the highly desirable and truly rare F430 with an open-gate stick shift.

I was lucky enough to be offered some seat time yesterday and was mesmerized by the experience. Like all modern Ferrari, this F430 requires you to turn the key and press the big red “START” button to fire up, nothing out of the ordinary there. The drama actually starts the moment you depress the clutch and slot the clunky metal shifter into 1st gear, “cluck” “cluck”, you will immediately hit by the nostalgic feeling of Ferrari of yesteryears. Lift the medium weight clutch slowly and you are off. “Cluck….Cluck” 2nd gear……. I felt like a rock star.

Since this machine has close to 500hp V8 (483 to be exact) and relatively lightweight body, it accelerates very quickly. The sound alone is worth million dollars! I would keep the engine boiling all day long just to hear the sound hovering near its 8500RPM redline. Open window “tunnel run” is a must if you are in possession of this car. Handling & braking performance is nearly as good as the hardcore Ferrari 430 Scuderia, the Hero of its time. The major difference between F430 and its Evil Twin Scuderia is everyday usability. While the Scuderia is one hell of a machine (my favorite Ferrari), it beats you and your passenger up every time you drive it in an everyday situation. Just like a Dominatrix, either you spank it hard or it will spank you, really hard. Pleasure is only achieved through heavy spanking.... if you know what I mean 😉

The “regular” F430 is a lot more civilized, with softer suspension setting, more sound deadening and creature comforts (ie: more comfy leather seats and regular seatbelt), it is well suited to everyday driving and occasional weekend cruises. However, equipped with the F1 transmission, driving the regular F430 does become a little dull. The manual F430 is indeed the perfect compromise for anyone looking for a fun daily driven Ferrari but not ready for a spanking Scuderia.

There are few things in the world more blissful than firing off a perfect rev-matched metal clicking downshifts while heel-toeing in a car like that. You should know that, with practice, you can eventually do damn near as good a job as a computer, even though it is milliseconds slower, does it even MATTER? Because YOU are in total CONTROL!

If you are in the market for an F430, find a manual one, you will not regret this decision. It is the best way to connect to the heritage of Classic Ferrari without having to actually buy one.


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