What is it?
You could drive this new Ferrari for a month and never find an occasion when the road ahead and your backbone combined adequately for you to send the right-foot pedal to the floor.
The SF90 Stradale is many things: the first ever mid-engined Ferrari with four-wheel drive, the first Ferrari with true plug-in hybrid capability and the first road-legal Ferrari to possess a thousand metric horsepower. But above all else, and for the curious souls who do manage to contrive an opportunity to unleash it, the SF90 is satanically quick.
I won’t steal thunder from an upcoming, 4000-word full road test of this novel supercar, but know that when you see the raw numbers, you will find both the car’s lap-time at MIRA and its straight-speed performance quite shocking. In the meantime, this is a brief dispatch following our first taste of the SF90 on British roads.
It’s also a chance to reacquaint ourselves with an exceedingly complex car with a correspondingly high asking price. The SF90 starts at £375,000, despite the fact that neither it nor its Spider sister is limited-production, as was the LaFerrari. Without a composite tub to complicate matters, they’re assembled on the same lines as the F8 Tributo and 812 Superfast.
The example seen here is even more expensive, courtesy of the £40,000 Assetto Fiorano package, which adds track-day flair. It brings fixed-rate dampers from Formula 1 supplier Multimatic and titanium springs; as such there’s no forgiving ‘Bumpy Road’ mode, as you get with the regular multi-mode dampers. Also included is a titanium exhaust, carbon door cards and, in case you somehow missed it, an aggressive rear wing-cum-spoiler, whose central panel can lower to cut off air through-flow by creating an enormous Gurney flap.
But the main event is the plug-in hybrid powertrain. Much more detail will be forthcoming in the road test, but in short, the 8000rpm V8 from the F8 Tributo is has been modified and bored out for the application, with the two turbochargers repositioned for a lower centre of gravity and modifications to the injection for better propagation. Between this reworked V8 and a dual-clutch gearbox then sits one of the SF90’s three electric motors – a slim axial-flux motor a mere 72mm thick that’s complemented by two cylindrical motors on the front axle, one for each wheel.
It’s this electric front axle that gives the SF90 whisper-quiet running capability, and although just 15 miles of EV range seems nominal, the ability to go ‘incognito’ adds likeable civility to this otherwise very loud and sometimes painfully ostentatious ownership proposition.