Best of the Best 2008: Sports Cars: Ferrari 430 Scuderia

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Ferrari is engaged in some dark alchemy these days. How else could the 430 Scuderia be both quicker and more drivable than the car on which it is based, the F430? Perhaps Ferrari’s engineers did not intend to make the 430 Scuderia a great street car. If not, then that is a happy consequence of the myriad changes that have transformed the F430 into a machine that can pace an Enzo around Ferrari’s Fiorano test track.

First, the obvious: The 430 Scuderia develops 20 more horsepower (for a grand total of 503) than does the F430, and it is 221 pounds lighter. Those differences alone would make the Scuderia a faster, more satisfying drive, but the magic is in the details. For instance, the new F1-Trac traction-control system metes out the maximum usable power on corner exits, allowing even mortal drivers to turn heroic lap times and exploit the limits of the chassis without scarring guardrails or punching Ferrari-shaped holes in tire barriers. The new F1-Superfast transmission executes shifts in an incredible 60 milliseconds, which is verging on the shift times of Formula One transmissions. And now you can adjust the suspension’s damper firmness independently of the steering-wheel-mounted manettino settings. This feature lets you queue up lightning-fast shifts and a high stability-control threshold while choosing more suspension compliance—precisely what you want for attacking your favorite real-world road.

The 430 Scuderia represents an elite carmaker at the height of its powers. This is Tiger Woods winning the Masters by 12 strokes. Sure, the $262,300 Ferrari 430 Scuderia costs more than an F430 and no doubt features an even longer waiting list. But with Enzo-level performance, a blood-curdling wail of an exhaust note, and a lightweight, exquisitely balanced chassis, the 430 Scuderia prompts a serious question: Is there a better car anywhere, at any price?

 

Ferrari, www.ferrariusa.com

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