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
The center 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
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/liter specific
output, up from the 348's 88.1 hp/liter. 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
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 aluminum. 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