Saturday 18 July 2009

2009 Ferrari F430 Scuderia THE PERFECT EXOTIC

2009 Ferrari F430 Scuderia
According to the statistics, Ferrari claims the Scuderia can do anything the F430 can do, only better. And it wasn’t long after I heard the bark of the engine and put my right foot down that I was in complete agreement.

In fact, the overall performance of the Scuderia is so impressive it has achieved a time of one minute, 25 seconds on the Fiorano test track – the exact same time as the legendary Ferrari Enzo.

Behind the wheel it’s obvious that it’s faster, brakes harder, corners with more finesse and control and yes, even changes gears quicker than an F430. Oh, the gear changes!

Equipped with an updated version of Ferrari’s F1-Superfast gearbox – the Superfast2 – the Scuderia changes gears in just 60 milliseconds – compared to 100 ms for the 599 and 150 ms for the F430.

Ripping through the gears, the Scuderia screams past 6000 rpm, alerting you that a shift is imminent. There may be 2500 rpm left to go, but in the blink of an eye you’re at 8500 and the steering wheel mounted shift lights have all lit up – signaling it’s time to make your move. Second gear and third gear fly by almost as quickly and already I’d be looking at a massive speeding ticket were the local law enforcement to see me... and catch me.

While braking for a corner and flicking the left paddle to drop gears I am surprised. The rev match on the downshift seems much more refined than on the stock 430. Perhaps Ferrari engineered a little extra throttle on the 430 for show purposes, or perhaps the new Superfast2 gearbox is just that much more efficient. Either way, it was a little disappointing.


Sweeping out of a nicely banked corner it is really starting to sink in that the Scuderia vastly outpaces its “standard” sibling. While we can partly thank the gearbox, it doesn’t hurt that the Scuderia is powered by a massaged version of the same 4.3-liter engine that puts out an additional 20 hp and four ft-lbs of torque thanks to reworked intake and exhaust systems, as well as a boost in compression from 11.3:1 to 11.88:1. The new total of 510 hp comes on at 8500 rpm and 347 ft-lbs of torque are available at 5250.

The added horsepower is, however, a somewhat trivial reason for the Scuderia’s added gusto. The real difference in performance comes as a result of weight reduction. In total 220 lbs have been shaved off for a new curb weight of just under 3,000 lbs.

The result is not only in acceleration, with a vastly improved 0-62 mph time of 3.6 seconds versus 4.0 in the standard F430, but in the braking and especially the handling.


Some of the weight reduction is thanks to the 19-inch magnesium wheels and the carbon ceramic brakes. Other weight-saving measures include carbon fiber bay liners and air boxes as well as a Plexiglass engine cover.

The weight reduction effort is most noticeable, however, in the cockpit, where there is neither carpeting nor floor mats. Amazingly, however, it all still feels very luxurious and sporty, thanks to plentiful amounts of Alcantara. Light-weight seat inserts made of what Ferrari calls “technical fabric” (essentially a sort of mesh material) add to the look.


From the driver’s seat the feeling is incredible. The seating position makes it feel like you are situated ahead of the front wheels and because of the massive power, screaming V8 and perfect handling, you may find yourself explaining your forgetfulness to the police.

As this is a road test, I’m not pushing the car to its limits. Regardless, there isn’t even a hint of understeer, and the car reacts to quickly to the steering inputs and just darts wherever I point it.

As with all modern Ferraris, the Scuderia is equipped with a Manettino, however, there are some important differences to point out. There is no “Ice” or cold weather setting on the car – shame on those who would drive it in less than perfect conditions. Instead it has been replaced with a CT or, “traction control off” setting, which allows for some tire shredding fun while still retaining the safety of stability control. Both systems can be shut off simultaneously by flipping the little red toggle to the “CST-off” setting.

Don’t be fooled, however. You don’t need to turn the traction control off to get performance out of the Scuderia. It is equipped with E-DIFF2, an electronic differential that works with Ferrari’s F1-TRAC traction control system, allowing you to put down 40 percent more power out of the corners.

Another unique attribute is that Ferrari has allowed drivers to adjust the shock settings independently of the Manettino settings.

You don’t have to wind the car up to enjoy it either, as the airbox design produces an incredible note with throttle input at even low rpm. But wind it up to that 6000-rpm sweet spot and prepare for sound that will leave you with no doubt why this car was named after the Ferrari racing team.


As for the aesthetics of the Scuderia, there is no denying it is vastly more aggressive than the stock 430 – especially the shark-like nose. Out back, the new diffuser immediately conveys the designed-for-the-racetrack message.

The entire body redesign, including slightly lower side skirts, increases the Scuderia’s downforce while retaining the same coefficient of drag as the stock 430.

Overall, the Scuderia is far edgier than the stock 430, which really helps to convey the message that this is no longer a sleek, sexy and sensuous exotic but a raw, mean and aggressive supercar.


In many ways, the Scuderia is barely a road car, with no floor mats and a Plexiglas engine cover. And yet, with a stereo, power windows, a surprisingly smooth suspension and an engine that can operate with incredibly civility, it could certainly do commuter-duty in a pinch.

That, however, would be sacrilegious – like making Albert Einstein recite his multiplication tables, or forcing Tiger Woods to play mini-put.

As the Scuderia does practically everything the stock 430 does but better, and as the stock 430 is just about the best car money can buy, it’s not much of a stretch to conclude that this light-weight Ferrari might just be the perfect exotic. It’s not the best performance value on the road at $257,456 – a Porsche would be a far-wiser economic decision – but there is something (actually, a lot of somethings) that the Scuderia provides that can’t be found elsewhere.


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