“A road legal racing car” – that’s how Ferrari marketing boss Enrico Galliera describes it Ferrari SF90 XX Stradale and his open siblings, the SF90 XX Spider.
On paper at least, that doesn’t seem like much to brag about. This new limited edition Ferrari, the first to arrive in Australia at the end of 2024combines racetrack-honed powertrain, chassis and aerodynamic technology with the everyday drivability of the regular SF90.
Conceptually, the SF90 XX sits between road cars like the 599 GTO and F12 Tour de France, limited-edition performance variants of mainstream Ferrari models, and track-only cars like the 599 XX and FXX-K Evo developed under company innovation. Program XX, which allows customers to drive these extreme cars on track days organized by Ferrari around the world.
The SF90 XX retains the ‘regular’ SF90 hybrid powertrain; Its 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 output is coupled with three electric motors, one mounted between the internal combustion engine and the eight-speed dual-clutch transmission driving the rear wheels, and one driving each front wheel.
An overall power increase of 22kW may not seem like much, but bear in mind that the standard SF90 produces a whopping 736kW. “The only thing we’re not really pushing for is extra power,” smiles Ferrari test and development driver Raffaele de Simone.
Codenamed F154FB, the SF90 XX’s internal combustion engine makes 12kW more than the car’s regular V8 courtesy of new pistons, a re-machined combustion chamber, increased compression ratio, polished intake and exhaust ports, and better cooling.
The removal of the secondary air intake system has reduced engine weight by 3.5kg. All three e-motors produce a total of 10kW more than those in the regular SF90. The 7.9kWh lithium-ion battery enables the e-motor to propel the SF90 XX smoothly and quietly at speeds of up to 135km/h, with an EV range of up to 25km.
However, that’s not a number that anyone looking at this new Ferrari will care about. This is, though: with a total system output of 758kW under your right foot, the SF90 XX will storm from standstill to 100km/h in no time 2.3 secondsand reach 200km/h in 6.7 seconds on the way to top speed 320km/h.
The SF90 XX transmission is the same as that used in the SF90 but features the shift logic used in the Daytona SP3 to deliver a more dynamic acceleration and sound profile.
However, straight line performance is only part of the story. A new anti-lock braking system dubbed ABS EVO, a Formula 1-style power boost function called Extra Boost, and dramatic new aerodynamic improvements mean the SF90 XX is faster around the racetrack than the regular SF90.
How much faster? Raffaele de Simone wouldn’t elaborate, other than to say the Extra Boost alone is worth about a quarter of a second per lap around Ferrari’s legendary Fiorano test track.
Extra Boost is an automatic function that uses the e-motor to deliver extra power in discrete bursts of up to two seconds each. Extra Boost is only available with the Manettino set to Qualifying Mode and will only start when the accelerator pedal is fully depressed, and the car knows it has enough charge in the battery and enough traction to ensure no wasted wheel spin.
The system will fire out up to 30 2.0-second bursts from a full battery, and drivers can keep track of how many they’ve used via a display on the dash that shows how many Extra Boost ‘tokens’ they have left.
A qualifying lap of the 2.9km Fiorano circuit will use seven Extra Boost tokens, says de Simone, which means you have about four flat laps before the battery runs out, although the car’s regenerative braking sends energy back into it at every opportunity.
ABS EVO is an evolution of the braking system that appeared on the 296 GTB, a car we love for its confidence-inspiring dynamics and subtle driver support mechanism.
Thanks to its integration with the new six-axis yaw sensor, ABS EVO allows you to brake deep into corners like a pro, making the most of the incredible stopping power of the SF90 XX’s large carbon ceramic brakes. While the Extra Boost means the SF90 XX is faster out of corners than the regular SF90, ABS EVO makes it faster into corners, something that is harder to achieve for non-expert drivers.
In addition, the SF90 XX delivers the most efficient aerodynamic performance of any road car in Ferrari history, rivaled only by the LaFerrari hypercar, said chief product development officer Gianmaria Fulgenzi.
“There’s not a single centimeter of the car that hasn’t been optimized for aero.”
The most obvious piece of aerodynamic hardware on the SF90 XX is the large rear wing, which can produce 110kg more rear axle downforce than the standard SF90 setup. Two bonnet vents form part of the S channel system which increases front axle downforce by 20 per cent.
Less obvious are the new front splitter, revised front floor, and innovative stop-Gurney system, where the panel between the rear wing braces is lowered to reveal Gurney flaps that increase rear axle downforce under braking. The back panel sits flush with the trailing edge of the rear body to reduce drag at high speeds.
Overall, the SF90 XX produces 530kg of downforce at 250km/h, a 36 percent increase over the standard car at the same speed.
That, combined with revised steering, increased spring stiffness and a lower rear ride height, makes the SF90 XX feel very confident inspiring through fast fifth and sixth gear corners, says Raffaele de Simone – “the car is very predictable compared to SF90″.
Ferrari design chief Flavio Manzoni describes the SF90 XX as “the intersection between performance, innovation and design”.
The giant fixed rear wing, the first on a road-going Ferrari since the 1995 F50, dominates the visuals. But when you look past that, you find a revised front fascia, cat-scratch vents scrunched into the wheels and a new light bar across the SF90 XX’s wide tail.
The car rolls on unique 20-inch alloy wheels shod with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 or Cup 2R tires – 255/35 at the front, and 315/30 at the rear.
Inside, carbon fiber lashings and stripped back trim on the door panels, center console and floor make the SF90 XX’s performance intentions clear.
It’s not that simple, though, with Alcantara on the dash, and on the new sports seats, which feature adjustable backrests and are 1.3kg lighter than the SF90’s non-adjustable sports seats.
Despite the different graphics, the digital dash has the same multi-function capabilities as the regular SF90, as do the touchpads on the left and right of the steering wheel.
Those who love open-top motoring will be happy to know that the SF90 XX Spider requires few compromises. It weighs just 100kg more than the Stradale coupe but has the same dynamic performance, says Ferrari. The retractable hard top can be raised or lowered in just 14 seconds at speeds of up to 45km/h.
Ferrari planned to build just 799 SF90 XX Stradales and 599 SF90 XX Spiders, and despite expected Australian price tags of around $1.5 million and $1.7 million respectively, all have been sold.
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