Ferrari 348

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Ferrari 348
Ferrari 348 - Flickr - Alexandre Prévot (2) (cropped).jpg
Manufacturer Ferrari S.p.A.
Model years 1989–1995 (8,844 produced)
Assembly Maranello, Italy
Designer Pininfarina
Body and chassis
Class Sports car (S)
Body style
Layout Longitudinal, rear mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive
Related Ferrari Mondial t
Engine 3.4 L Tipo F119 V8
Transmission 5-speed manual[1]
Wheelbase 2,450 mm (96.5 in)[1]
Length 4,230 mm (167 in)[1]
Width 1,894 mm (74.6 in)[1]
Height 1,170 mm (46.1 in)[1]
Kerb weight 1,393 kg (3,071 lb) (tb, ts)[1][2]
1,370 kg (3,020 lb) (GTS, GTB, Spider)[3][4]
Predecessor Ferrari 328
Successor Ferrari F355

The Ferrari 348 (Type F119) is a mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive V8-powered 2-seat sports car by Ferrari, replacing the 328 in 1989 and continuing until 1995.[5][6] It was the final V8 mid-engine model developed by Enzo Ferrari before his death, commissioned to production posthumously.

348 tb, ts[edit]

The 348, badged 348 tb for the coupé (Trasversale Berlinetta) and 348 ts (Targa) and the 348sp (Spider, or Convertible) versions, features a normally aspirated 3.4-litre version of the quad-cam, four-valve-per-cylinder V8 engine. As with its predecessors, the model number was derived from this configuration, with the first two digits being the displacement and the third being the number of cylinders. The engine, which produced 300 hp (224 kW), was mounted longitudinally and coupled to a transverse manual gearbox, like the Mondial t with which the 348 shared many components. This was a significant change for Ferrari, with most previous small Ferraris using a transverse engine with longitudinal transmission. The "T" in the model name 348 tb and ts refers to the transverse position of the gearbox. Overall, 2,895 examples of the 348 tb and 4,230 of the 348 ts were produced.

Ferrari 348 ts, pre-facelift model

The 348's styling differed from previous models with straked side air intakes and rectangular taillights resembling the Testarossa, stylistic themes reminiscent of the F40, the world’s fastest production car at the time, and other prestigious Ferraris of the past.[7] The model was also the final design overseen by chief stylist Leonardo Fioravanti, known for such designs as the Ferrari F40, Ferrari Daytona, Ferrari 512 Berlinetta Boxer, Ferrari 288 GTO, P5 and P6, and others. The F355 that replaced it returned to the styling cues of the 328 with round tail lights and rounded side air scoops. Fifty-seven "Challenge" models were built for owners who wanted a more "track-ready" car.

The 348 was fitted with dual-computer engine management using twin Bosch Motronic ECUs, double-redundant anti-lock brakes, and self-diagnosing air conditioning and heating systems. Late versions (1993 and beyond) have Japanese-made starter motors and Nippondenso power generators to improve reliability, as well as the battery located within the front left fender for better weight distribution.

U.S. spec 348's have OBD-I engine management systems, though European variants do not come with the self-test push button installed, which is needed to activate this troubleshooting feature.

Similar to the Testarossa but departing from the BB 512 and 308/328, the oil and coolant radiators were relocated from the nose to the sides, widening the waist of the car substantially, but making the cabin much easier to cool since hoses routing warm water no longer ran underneath the cabin as in the older front-radiator cars. This also had the side effect of making the doors very wide.

The 348 was equipped with a dry-sump oil system to prevent oil starvation at high speeds and during hard cornering. The oil level can only be accurately checked on the dipstick when the motor is running due to this setup. The 348 was fitted with adjustable ride-height suspension and a removable rear sub-frame to speed up the removal of the engine for maintenance.

This vehicle also served as a test mule for the Ferrari Enzo. Three of these were made.

Ferrari 348 Challenge

348 Serie Speciale[edit]

Between 1992 and 1993 Ferrari made 100 units of 348 Serie Speciale of its tb and ts versions. It was a limited edition only made for the US market.

During 1992 -1993 there were only 35 TB Serie Speciales manufactured with the remainder being the TS Serie Speciale, based on my documents on hand.[citation needed]

The main technical modifications consisted in a revised engine which produced 312 bhp (229 kW) at 7,200 rpm, a wider rear track (50mm), a free flow exhaust system, a shorter ratio final drive and Pirelli P Zero tyres. Ferrari indicates a 0-60 mph time of 5.3 seconds and a standing ¼ mile of 13.75 seconds.

Several modifications were made to the body design as well: new front spoiler to optimize aerodynamics similar to the F40, new front grill with chrome prancing horse, bumpers and rocker panels in body color, engine cover in body color, modified taillight assembly and new rear grill with chrome prancing horse.

The cars were offered with F40 style sport seats in Connolly leather but the regular 348 seats could be specially ordered. The door panels were also modified and made of leather.

Each car is numbered (1 to 100), with a 348 Serie Speciale plate on the passenger's side door-post. In 1994, a further 15 units were produced, bringing the total production of this limited edition to 115.

348 Challenge[edit]

The Ferrari Challenge was initiated by Ferrari Club Nederland and designated for the Ferrari 348; the series debuted in 1993 and included the Italian and European series. Using the un-modified engine, the only changes of the car were slick tyres, better brake-pads, roll-bar, smaller battery in a different position and seat belts. The 348 Challenge carried all safety regulated kits but was supposed to be used on the road and driven to the events by their gentleman owners. In 1994 the G-spec engined cars had to be modified with the H-spec cylinder heads and injection. The car's final season was in 1995 and was replaced subsequently by the F355 Challenge.

348 GTB, GTS, Spider[edit]

Ferrari 348 Spider

In late 1993 the 348 was revised, featuring subtle styling changes (front grille, rear chrome Cavallino and removable seat cushions) and more power, this time producing 312 bhp (U.S) and 320 hp (Euro) from the same 3.4-litre engine, with an improved engine management system - Bosch Motronic 2.7, new exhaust system (single muffler).

The revised cars are called 348 GTB (252 made) and GTS (137 made) and were presented to the public as the 348 GT versions, equipped with the F119H engine (as opposed to the original F119D and US F119G). The F119H engine got a bump in compression ratio up to 10.8:1 vs the F119D & F119G 10.4:1 compression ratio, taller intake plenums, fuel pressure was raised from 3.4 bar to 3.8 bar, and different camshaft timing.

For these models, both the engine hood panel and lower body skirts were body-colored instead of black, and the rear track was one inch wider due to the mounting area, on the inside, of the rear wheels being thicker. The suspension geometry was revised which greatly enhanced its handling, ride and body control. The fuel tank was also smaller (88L) in order to reduce overall weight and provide space to improve chassis rigidity.

The 348 Spider (convertible) model was also introduced, in-line with the phasing out of the Mondial Cabriolet. 1,090 units were made of this style.

348 GT Competizione[edit]

In 1993 Ferrari presented a lightened, from 1370 kg dry weight of 348 GTB to 1180 kg / 2601 lb dry weight, 348 GT Competizione model designed for the GT Championship. Safety equipment was carried from the Challenge versions. Brakes system was derived from the F40 Evoluzione model. The cars also had changed suspension and exhaust systems. The engine had 320 hp. Only 50 were ever made, including 8 Right Hand Drive models. Special features included 3-part Speedline rims, and Kevlar seats for weight reduction. Furthering the weight reduction, Ferrari used carbon fibre for the bumpers and doors, removed the floor mats, and even removed the air conditiong. The final drive in the gear box was changed to 25/27 ratio to help with acceleration.


TB and TS[edit]

  • Engine: (F119D, F119G) DOHC, 32 Valve V8, 3405 cc / 207.77 cid
  • Bore/Stroke: 85mm x 75mm
  • Power: 300 bhp (224 kW) at 7200 rpm
  • Maximum Torque: 238 lb/ft, 324 Nm at 4200 rpm
  • Transmission: 5-speed manual
  • Chassis: Steel platform & sub-frame
  • Suspension: Independent all round
  • Brakes: 4-wheel Disc ABS
  • Max. Speed: 275 km/h (171 mph)
  • Acceleration:
    • 0–100 km/h (62 mph): 5.6 s
    • 0–161 km/h (100 mph): 11.5 s
  • 1/4 mile : 13.8 s

GTB, GTS and Spider[edit]

  • Engine:(F119H) DOHC, 32 Valve V8, 3405 cc
  • Bore/Stroke: 85mm x 75mm
  • Compression ratio: 10.8:1
  • Power: 320 bhp (239 kW) @ 7200 rpm
  • Maximum Torque: 238 lb/ft, 324 Nm @ 5000 rpm
  • Transmission: 5-speed manual
  • Chassis: Steel platform & sub-frame
  • Suspension: Independent all round
  • Brakes: 4-wheel Disc ABS
  • Max. Speed: over 280 km/h (over 174 mph)[8]
  • Acceleration
    • 0–100 km/h (62 mph): 5.4 s
    • 0–161 km/h (100 mph): 12.0 s
  • 1/4 mile : 13.6 s (As rated)

Zagato Elaborazione[edit]

Between 1991 and 1992, a number of owners allowed Zagato to modify their 348 TBs into Zagato Elaboraziones. The changes were all cosmetic and the engine and running gear remained identical to the 348 TB.

At the front of the car a new bumper removed the original’s fake central grille and also replaced the Ferrari prancing horse emblem. The side intake cooling ducts were enlarged and the engine cover was replaced with a glass item allowing a view of the V8 engine. A new triple tail-light arrangement and an electronically operated spoiler were added. A double bubble roof was added, the idea being that Zagato could lower the roofline of a car, but retain enough headroom for each occupant. Other modifications included custom OZ Racing alloy wheels, external fuel filler caps and a completely reworked interior including a three-inch rear view screen and suede upholstery. Zagato initially announced a production run of 22 examples, but only 10 or 12 cars were made.[9]


The Ferrari 348 made its debut in September 1989 at the Frankfurt Auto Show to positive review, as Road & Track magazine described, “to many, it was Best in Show.” In a later 1991 comparison against the NSX, Road & Track inquired, “Has Honda bettered Ferrari?” The magazine concluded the Ferrari 348 was “the better exotic” and would later name it “one of the ten best cars in the world.” Auto journalists described the 348 as, "something quite special," and the engine being the formative element in defining the car's character, rising in an, "operatic crescendo," having the, "power to raise goose bumps as Pavarotti climbing to that note in Nessun Dorma."[10]

Gavin Green reviewed the 348 against contemporaries in Car Magazine, Oct 1990: “There is nothing like it. It communicates so richly, involves you so completely. And, when you have finished driving it – cocooned in that exquisite cockpit – you can get out and feast your eyes on one of the loveliest cars ever designed.”[11]

LA Times staff writer Paul Dean described the car in July 1990: “Ferrari builds motor cars in much the same way Claude Monet painted landscapes—not to please the populace, but more to satisfy self, a technique and a coterie,” with the 348 as a “better looking, stronger, faster” successor to the “enormously successful” 308/328 series, and “thoroughly irresistible.” Revising the longitudinal V8 layout in the way of the 288 GTO and F40, with a dry sump and transversely mounted “new gearbox and transmission (actually a carry-over from a Ferrari Formula 1 racing car),” the center of gravity is lower “by about 2 inches. Ergo flatter handling, and better steering response.”[12]

Autocar Magazine featured a comparison of the 348tb, Honda NSX, Porsche 911 Turbo, and Lotus Esprit in the July 1993 article, “Lord of the Fliers,” by Stephen Sutcliffe. Through the road test that extended from Paris to Le Mans, the 348 was lauded for its styling and presence, “Crawling out of Paris in the thick of the densest French traffic jam any of us can ever recall, three things about our convoy were already becoming apparent. The First – how much more attention and affection the French public had in reserve for the Ferrari – was perhaps predictable, especially since the 348 had already blown the others into the water at Dover when it came to impressing the locals. Even so, the crowds that gathered like bees to honey wherever and whenever we parked it, and the comparative lack of enthusiasm for the other three, still came as something of a shock.”[13] On the Le Mans race circuit, the 348s control and steering garnered praise over the NSX, “It's the Honda's body control and its meaty yet beautifully positive steering that allows it to feel so natural through the Esses of Le Mans; both seem peerless. Until you try the Ferrari. In the 348 you've got the same degree of body control, the same iron tautness through the corners, but the steering – lighter than the Honda's but with much more feedback – lifts it clear of even the mighty NSX at La Sarthe.”[13] Critique found the 348 difficult in traffic due to heavy steering and controls, though transformative on open road, “the further we traveled and the harder we drove in France, the more special, the more unique the Ferrari felt. We argued long and hard over which of the two made the best noise under full throttle, although no one disputed the fact that the NSX was more refined overall and had vastly superior gearchange. But ultimately this is as much the Honda's problem as it is its strength. Because it is so well honed as an all-rounder, so easy to live with, it misses out on that last 10 per cent of pure, raw thoroughbred sports car appeal that makes the Ferrari such a deliciously rich experience. Partly it is the steering; the NSX's is very good, the 348's exquisite. And partly it is the extra sharpness of the Ferrari's chassis, which is that crucial fraction more responsive to your inputs than not only the NSX but also any other supercar this side of £100,000 we can think of.”[13]

In a 2015 retrospective, EVO Magazine compared the 458 Italia against its 308, 348, F355, 360 and F430 ancestors, where Henry Catchpole noted the primary highlight of the day being the 348’s steering, describing it as, “instantly obvious this car has some of the best steering, possibly the best, that I have ever sat behind.” He expounded on the car’s analog character, describing the steering as, “coming alive in my hands. It literally starts wriggling around, talking excitedly about all the bumps in the road and sometimes making a bigger gesture as a camber attracts its attention. Despite the lack of assistance and the wheel’s relatively small diameter, it’s not heavy in any way, there’s just perfect weight and no slack to add to the constant communication.”[14]

Some areas of critique focused around the long-established topic of Ferrari gearboxes, typically stiff and balky when cold. The 348 did not break from tradition in this area, requiring careful adjustment and lubricating considerations, as well as full warm up, and was found to perform best with quick and aggressive driving. "It's only when you allow the engine full voice that the 348's drivetrain really works," mentioned Mike McCarthy of May 1994's Wheels Magazine.[10] "Only then does this drivetrain achieve harmony," with the gear lever "moving fast and fluidly," leaving "no surprise to anyone who knows why Ferrari has the reputation it does," summarizing it to be, "very much like what you imagine a Ferrari might be." Paul Dean described, “Gears are given up smoothly only when the moment, the engine, the clutch and shift are in concert. But finding that moment, being the conductor of a coordinated downshift, earning some respect from a benchmark machine that rises above the best of our abilities . . . ah, there's the defiance but also the satisfaction of Ferrari.”[12] Though lauded for its capability on a race circuit, oversteer characteristics at the limit in early 348s became a point of concern for the buying public due to the sensitive nature of the chassis setup, leading to updated mounting points in the rear combined with revised alignment specifications in later cars.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "348 TB". Ferrari official website—past models. Ferrari S.p.A. Retrieved 2015-10-24. 
  2. ^ "348 TS". Ferrari official website—past models. Ferrari S.p.A. Retrieved 2015-10-24. 
  3. ^ "348 GTB". Ferrari official website—past models. Ferrari S.p.A. Retrieved 2015-10-24. 
  4. ^ "348 Spider". Ferrari official website—past models. Ferrari S.p.A. Retrieved 2015-10-24. 
  5. ^ "Ferrari 348 tb & ts". Archived from the original on 2008-03-27. Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  6. ^ Husleag, Mike (2005-02-10). "1989 - 1995 Ferrari 348 TS". Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  7. ^ Ferrari 348 Motorfair press release; Maranello Concessionaires Limited, October 1989
  8. ^ "Ferrari 348 GTB". Ferrari GT - en-EN. Retrieved 2016-01-15. 
  9. ^ "1990 Ferrari 348 Zagato Elaborazione". Retrieved 2012-05-13. 
  10. ^ a b McCarthy, Mike. "Idol Machinery." Wheels, May 1994
  11. ^ Green, Gavin. “All Together Now.” Car Magazine, October 1990
  12. ^ a b Dean, Paul. “Behind The Wheel.” LA Times, July 20, 1990
  13. ^ a b c Sutcliffe, Stephen. “Lord of the Fliers.” Autocar Magazine, July 1993
  14. ^ Catchpole, Henry. "Ferrari 458 Italia meets 308, 348, F355, 360 and F430". EVO. Retrieved 28 September 2016. 


  • Buckley, Martin; Rees, Chris (1998). World Encyclopedia of Cars. London: Anness Publishing. ISBN 1-84038-083-7.