Which would you rather have?

For argument’s sake, assume they cost about the same (obviously not true).

458:

355:

(Try to picture this Spider with a hard top, since we’re not able to find a decent picture of a Berlinetta.)

While we:

  1. have obviously never had the pleasure of driving either car,
  2. would be the first ones to say that objectively, the 458 is probably the better (maybe even far better) driver’s car, and
  3. realize we may well be in the minority here

we think we’d rather have the 355. We have always loved this car, which might be the last truly lovely Ferrari. It is absolutely stunning to behold, and it just does it for us. We even prefer the 355’s more traditional V8 note to the 458’s high-tech sound. The 458 reminds us of the GT-R, in that it’s a car that is easy to admire, but (for us, anyway) difficult to love. Hell, they’re even starting to take on similar visual features, like the exaggerated, elongated headlights.

We realize that cars like the 458 and GT-R are marvels of modern engineering and likely outclass the 355 in most quantifiable measures. But engineering isn’t everything.

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~ by motoringconbrio on February 16, 2010.

12 Responses to “Which would you rather have?”

  1. The whole thing depends on what you want the car for. If you’re flashy, all-show-and-no-go, then only the latest Ferrari will do. If you’re, trying to turn over the fastest lap times possible(which most of these will never be burdened to do) then you’re still going to pick up the 458 for all of its technical prowess.

    However, if you want a car that’s more raw and probably better for an occasional track day or blast down a back road then the 355 wins it all day.

    If it were my money – I would probably take a 355 – it’s the more important car – I think the 355 was more iconic of entry-level exotica while the 360 and 430 were more big volume cars for Ferrari. I’ve probably seen twice as many 360’s and 430’s in my time compared to the handful of 355’s.

    Also – 3 exhausts look ridiculous.

    • certainly agree with you, re: triple exhaust pipes! although there is precedence for it (see: f40, ferrari).

      • I believe the third (middle) pipe on the F40 was for the wastegate. Certainly falls into “function over form” if that was the case.

      • Ah I forgot about the F40. That is a more functionally designed exhaust which I can appreciate – it’s (I’m guessing) done for asthetic with the 458.

        I don’t doubt the 458 is a great car and probably the most competent Ferrari are selling right now – but it just doesn’t stir my emotions like the 355. The 458 comes off too sanitized.

      • the worst offender of [what ferrari perceives to be] form over function? the ferrari california’s unconnected exhaust “finishers.” ugly *and* disgraceful.

      • I expect faux tail pipes from Lexus on the IS-F but not the Ferrari California. My verdict is still out with that car…that and the 612…both are awkward.

  2. A black/black 355 Spyder was the first car I ever wanted to have sex with. And you’re right, the exhaust note is equally delicious.

    6-Speed, please.

  3. It comes down to Italian Auto Sex vs. Italian Technology. The 355 is SO much better looking. And it (I imagine) is much more engageing to drive. More car and less gadget.

  4. I feel exactly the same way. The new breed of supercars, Nissan GTR, Ferrari 458 and Lexus LFA etc, do absolutely nothing for me. I would take the 355 over a 458 in a heartbeat. It helps that the 458 is almost bland and samey to look at and the Ferrari 355 is the last pretty car Ferraru built.

  5. Spent a fair bit of time up close to the 458 now, and I gotta say I’m in love.
    Most important Ferrari in a very very long time indeed.
    Looks are on the cutting edge (it has the sharpest, most wonderfully elegant sills I’ve ever seen) whereas the over-rated 355 just has that 90’s flabby-slabby look that plagued everything from Mk3 Golfs to 993 Porkers.
    458 is a true Ferrari, make no mistake. 430 Scud had plenty of on-board gizmos and the critics loved it. 458 simply cranks it up a notch. 562 bhp from an N/A 4.5-litre V8! (Btw, mention the Honda S2000 and you lose both testicles).

    I’m an Englishman, and I’d have a 458 over that new McLaren ‘thing’ (which looks like a design student concept sketch from 1992).
    The LF-A is just a bad joke. A Veilside Supra headache on wheels.

  6. for fun, here’s chris harris on the 458:

    http://www.evo.co.uk/videos/planetevovideos/244516/video_203377/ferrari_458_road.html

  7. [...] and roadgoing go-kart, and like many of you, we would gladly take one in a heartbeat. But the F355 is a truly special machine. You are bound to come across an Elise or Exige (or several) at your [...]

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