Ferrari Mondial
Driving Impressions

  The engine of a 1981 - 1983 Ferrari Mondial 8 is the exact same engine as used in the 308GTBi and 308GTSi.  In fact it received the fuel injected engine before the 308 series did.  Like many companies, the luxury verisons of cars, which the Mondial is, receives new technologies and fancier trimings earlier.  The transmission is also identical but with a slightly higher ratio rear axle ratio to compesate for the Mondial's higher weight.  This increase in ratio lowered maximum top speed at redline somewhat.  However, 135mph with rock solid stability and predictibility is still quite nice.
  It is a 3.0 liter V8 with twin overhead cams per bank - 4 in all.  Rubber synchronized timimg belts are used for each bank.  The Mondial 8 has 2 valves per cylinder and produces about 215HP and the Quattrovalve has 4 valves per cylinder and produces about 240HP.  The redline is very high for an 8 cylinder at 7,700 RPM.  Its peak torgue is around 6,000 RPM.  Compared to a large displacement low-end torque Corvette, it is very different to drive.  It is best comparable to high reving Alfa Romeros but with more power and smoother delivery.
  Fuel Injection is Bosch K-tronic, same as used in BMW V8.  That means parts availability and reliability.  The change from 4 carburators to fuel injection was not for performance reasons but for stiffer emission standards.  However, it also lowered maintenance costs significantly (balancing 4 dual barrel webber carbs is extremely expensive.  Also, the high reving V8 has dual electronic ignition systmes to deal with the need for producing over 30,000 piston firings/minute.  Every other firing is from a differnt ignition system - basically a staggered firing system.

  European versions do not have catalitic convereters and produce about 10 more HP than Amercan models.  Either version has a beautifull tuned exhaust system and high rise, laminar intake manifold.
  The high reving whine with that many cylinders is a very distinctive sound.  Before I told my friends I bought the Ferrari Mondial, I showed up unexpectedly and my buddy said "I had the windows open and all of a sudden I hear a Ferrari - I run to the window and look, and there you are".  Distictive sound - you bet ya!

  The brakes are absolutely incredible.  They are vacuum boosted with seperate balanced front and rear wheel systems.  Since they are designed to safely and predictably slow a 3,500 lb car from 135mph many times over, one can imagine how impressive they are when doing but 75 and stomp on them.  The big wide tires help out much here too!  Later versions of the car had anti lock brakes installed but I have a hard time understanding why with as impressive as these are.  As a comparison to other company's brakes, my other two everyday cars are a Mercedes S class and a Corvette.  I'm used to good brakes.  These are incredible.  As you can guess, it is ventilated disks all around.

  Driving the Mondial is like driving a go cart.  The steering is super tight.  Any flinch of the wheel and the car will steer that direction.  No question who is in control - you are.  Any mistake made is definately you, unfortunately.  It is comfortable to drive but you always know that you are in control so it take a little more attention than a super soft riding Lincoln.
  Going across RR tracks at angles sends a fair amount of feedback throught the steering wheel.  For any driving, there is a lot of feedback and sound returned to the driver.  With the "cab forward" style of the Mondial, the front wheel wells are very close to the driver and the change in sound of the tires on the pavement is very apparent and with time, one can hear how much effort the tires are placing and how much grip they have to the road.  A very differnt experience than a Mercedes where auditory cues are masked.
  The audio feedback of driving from the front tires and the engine behind you is quite accilerating.  There is no question the racing heritage and purpose of this car.  To hear the 7,000+ RPM of 8 cylinders screaming behind you is an experience that just can't be matched.

Kurtis Keller