After being in production for fourteen years, the 308/328 was finally replaced by a new car in 1989. Although the exterior remained virtually unchanged in that one and a half decade, the transverse mounted V8 engine received many upgrades over the years, including Fuel Injection and four valves per cylinder. A slight facelift and an increase in engine displacement in 1985 lengthened the lifespan of the most successful Ferrari model to that date.
The styling was a development of the 328, combined with touches of the Testarossa model. The real changes were found under the body, where a 3.4 litre V8 was installed, longitudinally. A five speed gearbox was directly bolted on the engine, transversely. These changes are well reflected in the 348 TB/S type indication, with the '348' referring to the 3.4 V8 and the 'T' to the gearbox. Like it's predecessor the 348 was available as a coupe ('B' for Berlinetta) and a targa ('S' for Spider).
Production lasted for five years in which various limited edition models were released. Of these the 348 GTB/S can be identified by the color coded front lip and side skirts. A full convertible model was also added to the line-up in 1993, which represented the first fully open Ferrari in over 20 years. Ferrari also offered an after market package to create a 348 'Challenge' model, to be raced by customers in a one model race series, which grew out into the Ferrari Challenge.
Today the 348 TB does not have the best reputation of the V8 series, which is not the result of the car's shortcomings, but mostly due to the big leap forward its replacement, the F355, was.
After release of the F355 Luca Di Montezemolo (Ferrari-CEO) described the 348 as "the worst car that ever left Maranello"...
I talked to a Belgian racingdriver who owned both and considerd the statement of Di Montezemolo as "unloyal and over the edge".
The 348 is a very fine car, a real Ferrari with awsome looks and driving capabilities. As a matter of fact F355 is the better car from technical point of vieuw, but nowadays, a Ferrari-mechanic tells me, the 348 is the better "value for money" because of the better balance of driving fun vs price vs maintenance-cost. (more trouble withe F355 electronics vs 348)