This car was designed solely to improve on performance and to deliver this performance at many different more accessible levels such as low speeds. This is a Ferrari that goes as good as it looks and even to this day a good one is very desirable for collectors.
The car was the first to use a relatively new 5 valve cylinder head that made the v8 engine far more powerful that in previous models. The car prior to this was the 348 which was a great car but not the best of handlers in comparison to the 355 and the 360. A great emphasis was made on the cars suspension and the dampers were able to be adjusted by the driver with the options of sport and comfort. Connolly leather seats fitted asymmetrically in the car made for a better drive because the driver sat closer to the center of the car giving him better perception and feel from the car.
The passion for excellence with this car shows as it does on almost all Ferrari's cars. There is a plague to make sure that the next car is better than the last and this car is no different. There were many complaints by drivers at Ferrari that the 348 and previous models were not as good in traffic and when cruising than there were when going flat out through a corner in Monaco.
With this car over 1300 hours were spent in the wind tunnels doing wind analysis of all body panels and how the car behaved at different speeds. The engineers were so thorough in their development of the car at this stage that they got large amounts of negative lift from the car at the test drive stages. The car would hug the road and chassis would shimmy and bump the floor on crests and dips at speed.
The 355 was released in 1994 with the Berlinetta and the Spider being the first to be put into production. These cost around 78k and 82k respectively with much with all of that money you expect a lot of car and you do get it. The Spider does lose some of the rigidity of the hard top due to less support with the roof gone. However this does not not affect either the handling or the performance too much that it is noticeable. This is due to another 1800 hours being spent in the wind tunnels trying to perfect the aerodynamics of the car with the different roof and with the roof off.
Later in 1995 the hard top GT version also came out and was greeted with a muted response in terms of sales. The F355 Challenge was a pack that was was offered to clients to create a heavily modified 355 which added $30,000 to the factory price. The main reason to this steep sum was most of major mechanical components apart from the engine were changed. This included the competition clutch, a roll cage for safety, racing seats (bucket seats) , rear carbon fiber wing , upgraded Brembo breaks, racing slicks and much more.
In the end the 355 was plagued that tainted its great life. Many cars were recalled in 2009 by Ferrari because of legal action which was taken by a driver. The driver was involved in an incident in which the car burst into flames and the driver was badly burnt. The problem was because Ferrari had badly mounted screws near the fuel supply lines that could potentially rapture them and cause fuel to pour into the engine compartment. As such Ferrari recalled 2400 Ferrari's , just something to look out for when trying to purchase one of these beauties.