1. IT’S FERRARI’S FIRST ROAD-GOING “XX” CAR
For some time now Ferrari has sold, to its wealthiest and most loyal customers, track-only extreme versions of select models in its line-up, starting with the Enzo-based FXX and FXX Evo, followed by the 599XX and 599XX Evo, and most recently the LaFerrari-derived FXX K and FXX-K Evo.
Owners of these XX cars get to participate in a year-long calendar of XX-exclusive races around the globe, with full factory technical and logistics support. Critically, Ferrari also treats this XX Programme as a mobile test-bed of sorts to develop its latest models, with owners described as “client test-drivers”.
And now they’ve made one based on the SF90 hybrid supercar. Well, two actually – a hardtop version called the SF90 XX Stradale and its topless twin, the SF90 XX Spider.
But while the SF90 XX bears the hallowed “XX” moniker, it is not in truth full-fledged XX Programme cars, but rather straddles the divide between the XX Programme and Ferrari’s “special series” models such as the 430 Scuderia, 488 Pista, 812 Competizione and so on. So it still has creature comforts such as aircon and, on the Spider version, an electric retractable hardtop, is road-legal. A track car for the road, so to speak.
2. IT’S THE FIRST FERRARI ROAD CAR SINCE THE 1995 F50 TO HAVE A FIXED REAR WING
Having eschewed fixed rear wings on its road cars for nearly 30 years and relied on underbody aerodynamics, vented ducts, moveable spoilers and sculpted bodywork to generate downforce, Ferrari has finally chosen the SF90 XX to break its own rule.
And it’s absolutely the right car for it, the wing looking great and fitting the SF 90 XX’s road-racer ethos to a T. Surely if a rear wing is good enough for an F1 car, it’s good enough for the SF90 XX.
3. IT HAS DOUBLE THE DOWNFORCE OF THE “REGULAR” SF90
And lest you think that wing is just for looks, it combines with the rear diffuser and what Ferrari calls a “shut-off Gurney” (essentially a movable portion of the rear bodywork that rises flush with the surrounding bodywork at high speeds to reduce drag, but drops into the bodywork during braking or cornering to direct onrushing air towards a fixed vertical element) to generate massive total rear downforce of 315kg at 250km/h.
Without a corresponding increase in front downforce the car’s stance would resemble that of a speedboat at high speed. To that end, the SF90 XX’s front splitter is much bigger than the regular SF90’s, and there is a larger and wider front diffuser concealed in the underbody.
There are also two F1-derived “S-ducts” which suck air through the gaping intakes in the front bumper and vent them through the large concave channels carved into either side of the front bonnet – these ducts alone contribute to a 20% front downforce increase over the SF90.
The upshot of all these measures is total body downforce of 530kg at 250km/h, and at the SF90 XX’s maximum speed of 320km/h, twice the total downforce that the regular SF90 can muster.
4. FOR ONCE, IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT POWER
The SF90 XX retains the SF90’s hybrid powertrain – a 4-litre twin-turbocharged 90-degree V8 and triple electric motors (one for each front wheel and the third sandwiched between the V8 engine and the 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox). And yes, it packs more punch than the SF90, but not that much more.
Having (not unreasonably) judged the SF90’s 1000hp output (a combination of the 780hp internal combustion engine (ICE)and 162kW electric motors) as being more than any sane person would ever need, Ferrari have upped the SF90 XX’s output by just 3 percent (i.e. 30hp) – mainly through slight tweaks to the ICE such as new pistons with a higher compression ratio, polished intakes and redesigned radiators for improved cooling.
Still, that’s enough to shave a significant 0.2 seconds off the SF90’s 2.5-second 0-100km/h time, and half a second off its 7.0-second 0-200km/h time. Fast enough, wouldn’t you say?
5. BUT STILL, IT HAS A BOOST MODE
Apparently enough is never enough for some people. And for them the SF90 XX has a boost mode which gives an added dollop of electric assistance under certain conditions.
What are these conditions? The eManettino must be in Qualifying mode, the batteries must have sufficient charge remaining (shown by a bar-graph display on the instrument panel), and the electronic brain must have assessed that the car is sufficiently hooked up to the road – i.e. not already sliding wildly – for the extra power to be usefully deployed.
With these boxes ticked, the extra electric boost is delivered automatically on corner exits at full throttle – no need for any button-pressing by the driver. This boost function alone shaves a quarter-second off the lap time at Ferrari’s Fiorano test track.
6. IT SOUNDS AWESOME
It’s a Ferrari V8 that revs to 8000rpm. That’s all the sound system you need, really. But the Italian boffins have channelled yet more of that engine’s music to the cabin by redesigning the “hot tube” and resonator which carry sound from the intake plenum to the cabin, so that the SF90’s extra pace comes with extra aural kick too.
7. BUT ALSO HAS A STEALTH MODE
Being a plug-in hybrid, the SF90 XX can do quiet too. In full electric mode it can hit 135km/h and run up to 25km – not at the same time though. But with a 797hp V8 an ankle-flex away, I’d defy anyone to drive the SF90 XX for 25km without caving to the urge to boot the throttle and fire up the ICE.
8. IT MAKES THE DRIVER FEEL LIKE A HERO
The SF90 XX benefits from an enhanced version of Ferrari’s electronic Side Slip Control (eSSC) system, which not only integrates various separate dynamic control sub-systems to keep the car glued to the track, but also, depending on what driving mode you’ve chosen on the eMannetino, helps you to indulge in lost of smoky sideways sliding without losing control.
Onlookers will think it’s Charles Leclerc at the wheel.
9. YOU CAN’T BUY ONE
Yep. Deliveries only start in Q2 2024 for the Stradale and Q4 2024 for the Spider, but all 799 units (Stradale) and 599 units (Spider) were sold even before the car was officially announced. Sorry.
Ferrari SF90 XX Stradale/ Spider
ENGINE 3990cc, 32-valves, V8, twin-turbocharged
E-MOTOR Three electric motors, maximum total output 171kW (233hp)
MAX ENGINE POWER 797hp at 7900rpm
MAX ENGINE TORQUE 804Nm at 6250rpm
GEARBOX 8-speed dual-clutch with manual select
0-100KM/H 2.3 seconds
TOP SPEED 320km/h
CONSUMPTION Not available
PRICE IN ITALY EUR 777,000 (Stradale)/EUR 850,000 (Spider)
AGENT Ital Auto