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Engine options, speed, acceleration and refinement

Never mind the mirrors: you should also think carefully before deploying the Stradale’s firepower anywhere other than a racetrack. When fitted with a manual ’box, the light frame and relatively small rear contact patches make it tricky to launch this car off the line, but thereafter little can keep up with the Italian rocket.

Torque peaks early, with 369lb ft delivered from 2500rpm, while power arrives late, with 395bhp appearing at 6200rpm, and if a flat spot exists between those points, our testers failed to notice it. Bosch Engineering has clearly earned its commission, because never before has Ford’s 2.3-litre Ecoboost four-pot operated with so little turbo lag.

Its name tells us the Stradale is built for the road – but to uncork its prodigious reserves of downforce and grip, make sure that road is pointed in the direction of a race track

The Toyota 3.5-litre V6 found in the quickest Lotus models still exists in another realm of responsiveness, but in this guise Ford’s fizzing hardware is clinical enough to avoid undermining the Stradale package.

While this choice of engine may still invite questions of the Stradale’s £143,500 list price, the performance it enables brooks no argument. Carrying two testers and 52 litres of fuel, the car accelerated to 60mph in 3.7sec. This was the slow bit. Between 40mph and 60mph in second, the Dallara’s time matched to the tenth that which we recorded for the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ.

Then, between 40mph and 70mph in fourth, it matched that of the Ferrari 812 Superfast, again to the tenth. In fact, all telemetry for in-gear acceleration at real-world speeds illustrated a car quite comfortably able to hold its own among more powerful alternatives, even if it does want somewhat for aural character.

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In terms of through-the-gears acceleration, the Stradale can’t match the pace of top-level turbocharged supercars, and even approaching three-figure speeds the aero hardware starts to hold it back. All of which, allied to the fact that no tester can swap gears with the speed of the a modern dual-clutch transmission, explains why the quarter-mile time was closer to 12 seconds than to 10.

The Stradale proved sensational in one aspect, however: braking. The firm pedal action feels considerably over-servoed and its sensitivity can make it difficult to accurately rev-match on downshifts, but there’s no doubting how assertively the system kills speed. Even after numerous hot laps of MIRA’s Dunlop circuit, stopping from 70mph took just 39.4 metres of road – less even than track day behemoths such as the McLaren 600LT and Porsche 911 GT3 RS.