|2-door convertible, production car
|Miles Per Gallon:
|260 bhp @ 7000 rpm
|213 lb-ft @ 5500 rpm
|f: --.- / r: --.- in
|14.5 sec @ 94 mph
|Braking, 60-0 mph:
|Nürburgring Lap Time:
Ferrari's removable roof 328 GTS (along with the fixed roof 328 GTB) debuted at the 1985 Frankfurt Auto Show. While often considered the final evolution of the 308 series, the 328 was a substantially new car. Extremely high performance, incredible 308-derived Pininfarina styling, improved road holding, and greater comfort, ensured the 328's desirability. Ferrari's challenge was to consolidate market share gained through 1970s and early 80s by improving an icon without alienating its acolytes. The 328 easily became the most successful model in Ferrari's history to that time. It remains a highly sought after sports car almost two decades after its introduction.
Without hampering the magnificent balance of the 308 design, Pininfarina made significant though subtle changes to modernize the looks of the 328 and improve its aerodynamics. The designers smoothed out the 308's sharpness and produced in the 328 a lighter crispness of flatter planes and more integrated shapes. Though it appears slightly flatter and longer, giving the car an even lower appearance, the roof line of the 328 is basically the same as that of its ancestor and the 328 is almost half an inch taller than the 308qv. Contributing to the illusion is an optional body-color rear spoiler to guide air over the rear of the cabin.
The windshield, curved rear glass and rear quarter windows (featuring full louvered covers on the GTS versions) were unchanged from the 308. The GTS version also kept its vinyl-covered fiberglass roof section. The buttressed C-pillars connected the roof to the rear deck in a unifying sweep. The rear deck itself was given a cleaner look by combining all the vents into a single, large, slightly raised wraparound unit.
Behind the engine bay, the luggage compartment provided adequate space for light touring or shopping. Protected by a thick canvas and vinyl zippered cover, the luggage was accessed through the single rear deck lid.
The 328 body was formed mostly from steel. The front hood was aluminum, the floorpan was fiberglass-sandwiched steel. Fiberglass was employed for the inner wheel arches, while strong ABS plastic was used for some louvers and valance panels. The adoption of galvanized steel to drastically retard corrosion was a key improvement.
Under its skin, the 328 chassis was an oval-section tube frame construction, offering race-car construction and rigidity, without a weight penalty. The exterior and structural design actually reduced the car's weight to an impressive 3165lbs for the GTS, substantially lower than their predecessors.
The 328 was designated a new model primarily because of changes to its engine. This second major development of the venerable 90° Ferrari V8, was the first to increase displacement, accomplished through increased bore and stroke.
Other changes included the replacement of shrunk-in cast iron and nikasil cylinder liners with shrunk-in aluminum/nikasil cylinder liners. A larger, redesigned oil cooler system was added to the larger, hotter engine and new spark plugs were also assigned. The Marelli Microplex single module ignition system was adopted. Intake camshafts were revised to complement throttle body and intake manifold changes. The piston casting was also new, helping to produce a compression ratio of 9.2:1. Efficiency and reliability were increased along with power and torque.
Much was retained from the three liter V8. Along with the block casting, the 308qv's four-valve per cylinder dual overhead camshafts and five main bearing crankshaft were kept. All engine components were balanced and matched. The free-flowing exhaust system of large diameter tubing was altered only by further changes to emission control requirements. The Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection and metering system, the best then available, continued from the 308. This helped ensure that the 328 had Ferrari's most trouble-free engine to that point.
Power was produced with full emission controls in place, a testament to Ferrari's development prowess. Even with its larger wheels and tires, the greater power and lower weight of the 328 rocketed it to 60 mph in well under six seconds, with a terminal speed of 150mph. The 328 was something of a rarity in being able to hit its redline in fifth gear, a further testament to its design and ability. The 328's driver knows the car's full potential is always available.
The close ratio, 5 speed transmission of the 328 was similar to that of the last 308, except for a shorter first gear. This helped to provide neck-snapping acceleration off the line, and more than made up for the torque lost to increased wheel diameter. The gears were connected to the shifter by rods, providing precise gear changes with the tactile "click" Ferrari owners have long enjoyed. The unit was all synchromesh and received power from the engine via an unassisted single plate clutch. From the transmission, power was fed to the rear wheels through a limited slip differential and solid driveshafts with constant velocity joints.
The 328 suspension was the time-tested unequal-length dual wishbone design with coil springs over Koni shock absorbers. It featured standard front and rear anti-roll bars. In calibrating the suspension and making use of improved technology, Ferrari improved both ride and road holding. In high speed and track conditions especially, the 328 adhered to the asphalt noticeably better than its predecessor, particularly at the rear. A revision that evened front to rear weight balance helped with the road holding.
The brakes were large vented discs with twin piston calipers, actuated as in the 308 by a hydraulic system offered security through redundancy. Anti-Lock Braking, an option before 1988, became standard on the 328 and the suspension geometry was revised to further reduce squat and dive. Steering was by unassisted rack and pinion giving purity of feeling.
Changes to the wheels and tires contributed to the improved performance and subtle change in exterior appearance. The 308qv's wheels were of proprietary metric size. The 328 gained standard sized wheels with slightly greater dimensions of 16X7" in front and 16X8" at the rear. The stock tires were Goodyear NCT"s, 205/55VR 16 in front and 225/50VR 16 at the rear. The size revision, combined with softer rubber compounds, helped achieve the overall improvements which benefit the car. The wheels were traditional Ferrari five-spoked stars shaped from cast alloy, tinted a dull brass color and, in cars with ABS, given convex centers.
The interior of the 328 owed as much to Ferrari's 1984 GTO supercar as it did to the 308. The GTO was a homologated racing car derived from the 308 series. The GTO's interior was significantly different from the 308"s, maintaining a hint of luxury mixed with the purposeful simplicity of a racing cockpit. The 328 benefited significantly from the development of the GTO's interior, gaining a simple modernity without sacrificing style.
The back-lit orange on black gauges of the GTO were installed into the 328 almost unchanged. The main instrument binnacle, seen through the anatomical Momo steering wheel, presented the driver with information from the large tachometer and speedometer with odometer and trip counter. Between these large round gauges were two smaller ones for coolant temperature and oil pressure. The binnacle facia was flat black. In the center of the broad dashboard, angled towards the driver, a rectangular pod held auxiliary gauges, above the center console dominated by the hallmark Ferrari steel shifter and polished gate. The 328 seats and doors were upholstered in leather. The inner doorskins were substantially redesigned to integrate a generous map pocket and arm rests.