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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Comparison: 2014 Hot Wheels Ferrari 5-pack

Even though Mattel does not have the license to do many Ferrari models this year, the what would likely be the last 5-pack of annual Ferrari's from 2014 still hangs around in stores.  In the midst of its life cycle, the F40 got a tooling change that resulted in a revised body with the sealed rear hatch; while the view of the engine will be slightly missed, the poorly-done body will not, even though it also loses the metal base.  This is the first time I get to review two castings that I've never had over the years: the wild and sharp-looking F430 Scuderia, and the 612 Scaligetti with the sunroof.  The other two have been seen many times, and both are nice castings: the sharp Enzo Ferrari and the 458 Italia spider.  So I gathered all five of them to see which one is the best of this Ferrari 5-pack and to find out what is worth me getting this only Ferrari 5-pack over the years.

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All five are the cars men dream of, even though in the diecast world they are as common as a typical midsize sedan.  Then again, no one can doubt Mattel's success at giving each Ferrari its sharpest details, as in the F430 the best in the bunch with the exposed headlights on dark blue paint and sitting in 5-spoke wheels that are the only two in  this 5-pack that have a concave curvature in the rim.  One of my biggest beefs with the F430 is the rounded lower beltline and twin-grille nostrils that look out-of-place on the car, and look worse on the Hot Wheels castings.  However, the Scuderia gains a revised front bumper with sharper curves for a more angrier look, and all-around it gets curves that are better suited for this car.  The Enzo is not far behind with excellent details all-around, though it is still the controversial point in the Ferrari camp as some like the styling and some do not; for me it look unique and cool, though the front chin seems to be longer and odd-looking from some angles.  The F40's revised body looks great with more cleaned-up lines to show off the race car for the road looks, especially at the rear where the opening engine cover was destroying the rear body lines.  The foglight covers below the pop-up headlights are now a part of the body, though the ride height still seems a bit too high.  The 458 was one sharp turnaround for the Ferrari mid-engine V8 line with great looking curves.  Then there's the Hot Wheels version that looks rather large and lacks character lines around the body.  The Spider resolves that with cleaner looks now that the large roof has been removed, but still its plain-looking especially in the same-old red color, and the engine bay cover is gone thanks to the folding hardtop's new resting place.  The 612 has a unique look of its own, and I like the sunroof as well, but the unique casting in the diecast world still looks rather plain and uninspiring.

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If you want your Ferrari plush with seating for four, go with the 612 as it has a nicely-detailed interior with seating for four and lots of light courtesy of the sunroof.  It is easily the best interior of the bunch.  The Scuderia is not far behind with excellent details with large windows all-around, even in the engine bay cover!  While crude, the Enzo is worlds better than the F40 with excellent dashboard details and creature comforts not found on the F40 (but to be fair the F40 has air conditioning).  Just before the last-place F40, the Spider has the advantage of letting the air in and having the most technologically up-to-date interior, but one again its rather plain just like the exterior.

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Your choice between smaller mills and larger ones, and even one that is turbocharged.  The F430 has the 4.3L DOHC V8 that produces 503 hp. and 393 Ib-ft of torque through a 6-speed F-1 automated manual.  The 458 has a 4.5L DOHC V8 that produces 562 hp. and 398 Ib-ft. of torque through a 7-speed dual clutch transmission.  The 612 uses a 5.7L DOHC V-12 that produces 532 hp. and 434 Ib-ft. of torque through a rear-mounted 6-speed semi-automatic.  The two supercars have two different ways of making max power:  The F40 uses a 2.9L twin-turbocharged DOHC V8 that produces 478 hp and 424 Ib-ft. of torque through the only true manual of the group, a 5-speed.  The Enzo uses a traditional 6.0L DOHC V-12 that produces 651 hp. and 485 Ib-ft. of torque through a 6-speed semi-automatic transmisson.

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Acceleration and Braking

All Ferrari's are fast, and most of them are quite strong in this test, but there were some differences.  The F40, F430, and Enzo were the best of the group.  The 458 felt slower than it was, while the 612 had the really odd problem of losing traction at the rear during launches.  Even after several tries it still does the same thing.  It was the start of bad things for the 612.  Braking was pretty good, especially for the F40's higher stance that resulted in a mid-pack finish behind the F430 and Enzo.  The 458, surprisingly, had the longest stopping distance.

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All Ferrar's are built for the track, so they should all be sharp at the handling right?  Not really.  The 612's rear traction issue during acceleration continued when it was time to hang in the corners.  The rear tail sliding out was making this otherwise neutral car perform at its peak, finishing last.  The 458 really didn't do much either as the car's handling, though properly controlled, didn't allow for much play like slight oversteer at the rear to steer the car as it was too much restricted.  The F40 showed a surprising third finish with excellent control, braking, and acceleration through the corners, hampered by the high ground clearance.  The two best were the Enzo and F430 as both were neck and neck in this round, then the F430's slightly loose tail resulted in an upset in the handling of the car and the win from the fast and smooth Enzo.

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Hands-down, the F430 Scuderia is the best with sharp exterior styling, detailed interior, and the most visible engine bay of the bunch, all wrapped in a gorgeous dark blue color.  The Enzo, despite the love-it-or-hate-it styling and lousy color choice of the group, shares the F430's excellent line of interior, exterior, and engine bay detailing.  The 612 ranked mid pack with the plush and well-detailed interior holding a car that mostly is uninspiring.  The F40 loses the opening rear hatch, metal base, and sits too high, but do give credit for the retool providing a fresher look on the F40's exterior body.  The 458 comes in last with nothing much to bring excitement what the road car provides.  It's just too bland and lacking of sharp details to really get noticed.

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All of them are out of our price range, but the 458 and F430 would be the best bets.  The other three are higher up the price chain, and as you get to the Enzo and F40 good luck trying to find a good used one at a decent price!

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At the end of the day the final ranking positions was not a difficult task.  Fifth place went to the 458 Italia Spider: It's a cool car in real life, and looks good here, but this casting has no details to oggle over or performance to really support the Ferrari nameplate.  Forth place goes to the 612 Scaligetti: It's got the most plus interior and unique personality, but fails to deliver in styling and most disappointingly  performance.  Third place goes to the F40: Still a classic supercar, now with a much-improved body, it still has some aging issues that places this car mid-pack.  Second place goes to the F430 Scuderia:  A hard choice since it was the best-looking, the best-detailed, and the best-performing car of the bunch, but some slight negatives let this car slip from the winning place, to allow the Enzo Ferrari to be the winner of this comparison test.  The Enzo may or may not be your cup of tea for Ferrari cars but nonetheless it still has the excellent details and performance that i've come to suspect from this casting over the ten years of production.  As for my impression of this 5-pack:  It's the best with the F430 the killer car of the bunch, the first in-hand look of the 612, and seeing the improved retool of the F40 was the highlights of this 5-pack for me.

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