The 1994 F355 was the latest in a very long line of smaller entry level mid engined Ferraris. These dated back to the absolutely classic 206 Dino, which was launched upon a Ferrari loving market as long ago as 1967. The F355’s predecessor, the 348, had always been rather disappointing in terms of driver appeal. The new car represented a huge improvement across a whole swathe of fields. The F355 used a virtually all new, 90 degree V8 mounted longitudinally behind the seats and driving the rear wheels. With five valves per cylinder, it now made all the right noises and delivered superb punch through six closely stacked gears. The chassis, too, was much improved thanks to advanced adaptive damping that sensed any excessive wallows that were beginning to build when cornering. It also allowed for the type of supple, comfortable ride that you would expect from this type of car. The sheet metal of the chassis itself was much stiffer than before, and the result of this was a car that handled sensationally well, yet was also much easier to drive and much more comfortable. Unlike the 348, the F355 was an absolute for any driver to get his or her hands on.
And, of course, there was a new body as usual; it was the work of Ferrari’s favorite stylist, Pininfarina. Perfectly proportioned typically beautiful, it had more curves and much more presence than the out going 348. The F355 also enjoyed a much more inviting interior. Good for 173 mph (277km/h), many pundits reckoned the F355 was the best road going Ferrari for ages, better, even, than the big 512 TR.