WORDS: ELLIOTT HUGHES | PHOTOS: FERRARI
Ferrari has unveiled the radical 1016bhp SF90 XX as the latest in its lineage of extreme models that began with 2005’s Enzo-derived FXX and was famously developed by Michael Schumacher. After that came the 599XX and the LaFerrari-based FXXK. As track day specials, no XX Programme car has ever been road legal from the factory – until now.
As track day specials, no XX Programme car has ever been road legal from the factory – until now
Available in both Stradale (coupé) and Spider bodystyles, the SF90 XX is less exclusive than its predecessors, with 799 and 599 examples planned for production respectively. With prices starting from €770,000 (£660,000) for the Stradale and €850,000 (£730,000) for the Spider, the SF90 XX is also more affordable than previous XX Programme models.
All 1398 examples have already been offered to Ferrari’s most discerning clients as a reward for their loyalty to the brand and, predictably, they are all already accounted for. Deliveries are scheduled to get underway in the first quarter of 2024.
The SF90 XX is powered by the same 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 and triple-electric-motor PHEV set-up found under the engine lid of the standard SF90. Two of those electric motors can be found at the front, powering each wheel individually to allow torque vectoring, while the remaining electric motor is sandwiched between the ICE and the eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. The maximum electric-only range is 15 miles.
New pistons and a higher compression ratio, as well as improved cooling of the ICE and electric motors, mean that the SF90 XX develops 1016bhp and 593lb ft – a marginal increase from the 986bhp and 590lb ft output of the standard model. Maranello does promise a more dramatic soundtrack, however, thanks to a ‘hot tube’ exhaust system and a tube from the intake plenum to the bulkhead.
If you switch the Manettino into its most aggressive Qualifying Mode, the electric motors will produce brief bursts of power during corner exits for better acceleration, thanks to a new ‘extra boost’ feature that Ferrari originally developed in Formula 1. With Qualifying enabled, the SF90 XX provides searing performance, achieving 0-62mph in 2.3 seconds and 0-124mph in only 6.5 seconds.
Even with the addition of the optional race seats, which are the lightest Maranello has ever produced, weight savings are still only 10kg for each version. With that option box ticked, the Stradale weighs in at 1560kg, while the Spider tips the scales at 1660kg. As with the powertrain, the lightweighting gains are limited because of both the hybrid system and the high specification of the standard car’s construction, which is underpinned by a carbonfibre and aluminium chassis.
A plethora of changes to the bodywork make the SF90 XX the most aerodynamically efficient Ferrari ever built, and this is what truly sets it apart. The fixed rear wing that appears to have been pilfered from a GT3 race car is one of the most noticeable aspects of the aggressive aero overhaul. Thanks to a clever ‘Gurney flap’ system that feeds airflow to the wing, it produces a colossal 530kg of downforce at 155mph. It is also the first fixed wing installed on a Ferrari road car since the F50 of 1995.
Another innovative aerodynamic feature can be found at the front of the car. Two S-ducts are located here, one on either side of the bonnet. They both help with cooling and increase front downforce by 20 perent, which adds an additional 325kg of downforce at the car’s top speed of 199 mph. The S-duct first appeared in the nose-cone of Kimi Räikkönen and Felipe Massa’s championship-winning F2008, providing further proof of the transfer of F1 know-how into Ferrari road cars.
A larger and wider rear diffuser, aggressive front splitter, sealed floor and myriad ducts and vents in areas including the front wheel housing mean that the SF90 XX develops twice the peak downforce of the car upon which it is based, although Ferrari has not yet given a specific figure.
Underneath the bodywork, five percent-stiffer springs and a lower rear ride height reduce body roll by 10 percent while also aiding the effectiveness of the diffuser. Stopping performance is improved with redesigned front brakes and rear discs that have been enlarged to 390mm. The brakes benefit from Ferrari’s motor sport-inspired ABS EVO system that debuted on the 296GTB.
Completing the suite of driver-flattering ‘electrickery’ is the latest version of the marque’s Side Slip Control and Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer systems. The former assists the driver in holding big slides, and can also subtly reign in spikes of on-the-limit oversteer, while the latter calculates how much brake pressure is needed at each individual wheel in real time.
Ferrari has yet to officially unleash the SF90 XX around its fabled Fiorano test track, but as the regular SF90 already holds the road-car lap record, it looks certain to be toppled in the near future.