Four Ferraris

An opportunity arose in May to drive four of the latest Ferrais, when Maranello Concessionaires Ltd made these available to journalists arid gave them lunch at the celebrated Le Manoir aux Quer Saisons, off the end of the M40 near Oxford – although true enthusiasts would be prepared to take a packet of sandwiches, or forego lunch altogether, to get behind the wheel of the 328GTB, Mondial 412 and Testarossa which were provided for the test.

The most interesting of these was the latest Ferari 412 in which the aerodynamics have been revised many improvements made to the interior to enhance cornfort and safety, and power has been increased by 8% torque by 9 1/2%, while ABS anti-lock brakes are now provided. This means that the 4,943cc V12 engine now develops 340 bhp at 6.400 rpm. with a torque output of 333 ft/lb. The engine has increased bore and stroke, c.i. cylinder liners and pistons; an increase in c.r. from 88 to 92 to 1, new fuel injectors, larger air cleaners and an improved exhaust system, while microplex electronic ignition figures in the specification. To accomodate the ABS braking the front suspension has been redesigned. The front seats now have electric adjustment, air-conditioning and ventilation have been changed and now have microchip control front and rear seat headrests have been improved, and the safety belts better positioned. As on the Testarossa the clutch diameter has been increased by one inch. to cope with the power increase.

The Testarossa needs no comment as a full road test appears in this issue, but the comfort of its interior is notable: as Ferrari says, “a living room at 180 mph”, the body being of aluminium but with steel doors and cockpit area. Either Goodyear or Michelin tyres are fitted the steering asked 3.45 turns, lock-to-lock, and the claimed performance is a standing mile in 36 seconds with a maximum speed of 181 mph which it would be foolish to try for along the M40, especially on a prearranged journalists test day!

The newest Ferrari Mondial convertible now has front and rear bumpers of the smae colour, the exhaust outlets and rear fogintregated into the undertairing of the body, and the wheels slightly restyled, the front ones now being of 165TR-390 size, to ensure lighter steering. Only minor changes have been made to the interior, such as the instruments being incorporated into the main fascia panel and given red graphics, the inside door handles being improved a more modern radio system fitted and the temperature controls now monitoring external air temperature through sensors. The 328 engine, of 90-deg V8 twin cam four-valve-per-cylinder formation, has a capacity of 3,185cc in its latest form, and develops 270cv at 7,000 rpm. This new 3200cc engine is used throughout the eight cylinder Ferrari range, for the 328GTB, 328GTS, Mondial 3 and Mondial cabriolet 3.2. — W.B.