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Our new performance benchmark but not a track-handling great

The Ferrari SF90 Stradale has just catapulted its way into a special place in the Autocar road test archives. No other car has ever accelerated harder with our timing gear attached to it and not one has ever lapped our benchmark handling circuit as quickly as this.

Those facts are monuments to the way Maranello has set out to tackle the challenge of electrification. The company could have entered the market with a mid-engined hybrid sooner than it has, but it chose instead to bide its time as others made the leap. On the basis of how fast it is, the slickness with which it operates, how robustly it can keep on lapping and more, the SF90 vindicates that decision in so many ways.

There’s room for the dynamic improvement of this new electrified breed of Ferrari, but now there may also be time. The SF90 is only a first step, but it’s a really positive one in a vital direction for the company

Many ways, but not quite every way. While it handles as a Ferrari should on the road, the SF90 isn’t better than a conventional mid-engined F8 Tributo on track. Relying heavily on the electric motors that give it such phenomenal pace, the handling feels electronically manipulated and managed on the limit of grip. This isn’t the flattering, free-flowing delight we hoped it might be and, although fast, it could be more fun.

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