Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

Behind the F430's two seats lies a 4.3-litre V8 that produces 483bhp at a stratospheric 8500rpm accompanied by a truly incredible sound. Due to the engine's racing design, the noise is much harder and more mechanical sounding than the rumble of a traditional V8, and really starts to shriek as you near the red line on the rev counter. A six-speed manual gearbox is still standard, however nine out of ten buyers go for the optional racing-style automated manual box that swaps a conventional gear lever for a pair of paddles behind the steering wheel.

It does come at an additional cost of £5000 though. This F1 transmission changes gear faster than a human hand can manage, but can feel clunky in urban traffic because the clutch is operated automatically. Both versions will rocket to 62mph in just 4 seconds and power you on to 196mph. A Lamborghini Gallardo fractionally betters these figures by 0.1 seconds and 1mph, but both cars feel evenly matched on the road.

It's nearly 50 years since the mid-engined revolution changed Grand Prix racing, yet mounting the engine behind the driver is core to the design of today's greatest supercars. It's this layout that Ferrari uses on the F430 to give it with such an agile chassis. But having said that, this car is much less of a handful at the limit than the 360M and feels more stable at all times.

Of course you’re only likely to get near those limits on a circuit. Unlike its Lamborghini Gallardo rival, the F430 is rear and not four-wheel drive. But the clever E-diff electronic differential shuffles torque to the wheel that needs it most. That's on the track - at road speeds you'll only be aware of the precise steering, brilliant brakes, surprisingly good ride quality and strong body control – although tackling really bumpy B roads at speed can cause the aerodynamic undertray to scuff the tarmac.