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New Ferrari SF90 XX Stradale review: the legendary F40's spiritual successor

The sensational Ferrari SF90 XX Stradale is the Italian brand's most track-focused road car since the F40

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4.5 out of 5

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Verdict

By giving the SF90 Stradale the XX treatment, Ferrari has created arguably its most track-focused street car since the legendary F40. Aggressive aerodynamics and expertly tuned suspension, stability control and ABS systems combine to make this hardcore (and already sold-out!) £673,548 supercar a road racer in looks and deeds. 

The Ferrari SF90 XX Stradale is the most extreme street car the Italian brand has ever made. That’s quite a statement, but not only is it the most powerful road-legal model, but it is also the first to get the fabled XX treatment. 

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Like all XX models this means an obsessive focus on aggressive aerodynamics to generate race car levels of downforce (530kg at 155mph). It also showcases the latest developments in suspension, transmission, stability control and braking control systems. Enhanced track performance is the objective, but not at all costs. Think along the lines of Porsche’s 992 GT3 RS, but applied to a mid-engine supercar with twice the power. 

Production of the XX is limited to 1,398 units, divided between 799 Coupe and 599 Spiders. Priced at £673,584, the XX Stradale Coupe is roughly 40 per cent more than its regular SF90 counterpart. All are sold, with first deliveries before the end of the year. 

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The results of the XX transformation are spectacular, as we discover at Ferrari’s fabled Fiorano test track. Road driving is frustratingly off-limits during our test, but the circuit gives us the freedom to explore the extraordinary limits of the XX’s performance.  

Despite the obvious and to our eyes extremely appealing bodywork changes – the XX marks a return to a fixed rear wing - the XX Stradale’s mechanical underpinnings are very closely related to the regular SF90. That means Ferrari’s familiar twin-turbocharged 3990cc V8, mated to a tri-motor battery electric hybrid system that feeds power to both the front and rear axles. Ferrari has squeezed a little more power from both elements of the powertrain, but the gains – 17bhp from the V8 and 13bhp from the hybrid system – are modest. 

Use of lightweight materials saves 45kg, but the larger front splitter, prominent fixed rear wing and associated active aero addenda reduce the net weight loss to 10kg, to a claimed dry weight of 1,560kg. Unsurprisingly, with 1,016bhp and 804Nm of torque it accelerates like a rocket sled. 0-62mph takes just 2.3 seconds, 0-124mph in 6.5 seconds. Top speed? 199mph, 12mph down on the regular SF90 due to its focus on downforce and corner speed.

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As you’d expect the SF90 XX is an intense experience in every way. More vocal than the regular SF90 thanks to clever tuning of engine noise harmonics directed towards the cockpit, the XX is a truly exuberant machine. The power delivery and gearshifts are scalpel sharp, punchier and more immediate to maximise performance and emotion.

Packed with Ferrari’s most advanced technology, the XX is an extraordinary and fascinating machine to drive. Employing a suite of fully integrated systems with exotic names such as Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer (2.0), ABS Evo and eSSC 1.0 Electronic Side Slip Control, you can progressively feel your way into the XX’s performance and handling limits via increasingly aggressive dynamic modes via the familiar ‘manettino’ switch on the steering wheel.

Unsurprisingly, the XX Stradale is sensational around Fiorano’s twists and turns. There’s immense grip and traction, but the car always feels alive, dancing to your inputs. It slices through fast corners with uncanny precision, thanks to the stabilising effects of downforce, yet has an equal appetite for tighter turns. It’s just as impressive under braking, with stupendous stopping power and stability enabling you to brake late and deep into corners, racecar-style. No wonder it set a new lap record for Ferrari road cars around the Fiorano test track.

All Ferraris prioritise passion and performance, but the XX Stradale takes this to new extremes. Immensely fast yet surprisingly approachable, it brings welcome rawness and racy looks, yet retains enough civility to imagine it will work just fine on the road. Those 1,398 XX Stradale customers are in for a treat.

Model:Ferrari SF90 XX Stradale
Price:£673,584
Powertrain:4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, 3x e-motor
Power/torque:1,016bhp/804Nm
Transmission:Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
0-62mph:2.3 seconds
Top speed:199mph
On sale:Sold out
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