Ferrari drove us to the Fiorano test track in Italy to reveal the new SF90 Stradale XX, which seemed like a very obvious debut venue for its latest XX model. However, when the lucky elite who managed to land a slot designated for this new special take delivery, they’ll be able to do something no previous XX buyer had: drive it street legal.
This, on the face of it, is confusing. From the first Enzo-derived FXX in 2005, the intent of the XX software was to create track-based monsters unconstrained by the need to satisfy the dull detail of on-road homologations. The style was shared by the 599XX in 2010 and then the LaFerrari-based FXX K in 2017. It was all intended for use in Ferrari’s track events, where XX owners effectively pay to become test drivers, and the company promises that feedback will be used to hone future models. But the SF90 XX Stradale—and its sister Spider—will be a popular type of Ferrari for grocery shopping.
The new SF90 XX will also be more affordable. We don’t have US pricing yet, but in Europe, the SF90 XX Stradale Coupe is set to start at €770,000 before options, but including 22 percent sales tax. Remove those additional fees and it becomes €630,000 – just $690,000 at current exchange rates – with the Spider being €850,000 with or without taxes being €710,000. No doubt it would be possible to splurge on custom options to round costs into seven figures, but when new the FXX was costing $2.1 million, the 599 XX was $1.5 million and the FXX K was $2.6 million. Both SF90 XX models are relative bargains, even if they’re far less exclusive than either of their predecessors: Ferrari will make 799 coupes and 599 spiders. They are all pre-customized for clients.
So what do buyers get? In terms of performance, only a partial gain from the existing SF90. The 4.0-liter twin-turbo XX gets new pistons and a more efficient cooling system, but power is only up by 17 horsepower, to 786 horsepower. The three motors haven’t been changed—one powers each front wheel to allow for torque vectoring, while a third sits between the engine and an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission in the rear. These engines can deliver a combined peak of 229 horsepower – 12 horsepower more than the regular SF90 thanks to improved cooling. While modest, the improvements mean that the XX’s combined peak output of 1,015 horsepower is now ahead of the 1,001 horsepower of the upcoming Lamborghini Revolto.
The weight savings are similarly slight. Both XX versions are 22 pounds lighter than their standard siblings according to Ferrari, although that number dictates the optional racing seating specification, the lightest Ferrari ever made. But the claimed dry weight of 3,440 pounds for the Coupe and 3,660 pounds for the Spider don’t qualify as lightweights thanks to having to carry the mass of the hybrid system and the 8-kWh battery pack (which still only offers a range of 15 EV miles.)
The most significant of the changes is aerodynamic, most evident with the arrival of the large spoiler mounted high at the rear of the car. The fit has caused some heated internal debate, Ferrari executives acknowledge, since the company hasn’t attached a fixed spoiler to a road car since the F50. But it had to meet the XX’s goals for enhanced downforce and also – let’s be honest here – to add the visual drama that clearly differentiates the SF90 from the little guys. Combined with a new front splitter, and a movable Gurney active fender like the regular SF90, it has greatly increased aero assist. Ferrari handles peak overall, but says the XX makes 1,170 pounds of downforce at 155 mph—310 pounds more than the SF90 makes at the same speed. The Spyder’s aerodynamic performance is matched by the retractable hard top.
Ferrari has a mastery of driver-pleasing technology, and it will feature more in the SF90 XX than any of its predecessors, with traction management that development chief Raffaele de Simone says is designed to help the car operate in the gray area between grip and slip, with the latest version of Side Slip Control Ferrari to manage oversteer in dynamic, punchy situations. It also gains an enhanced version of the Evo’s ABS system that debuted on the 296GB TB, using wire management to adjust force at each wheel under hard braking to maintain stability and assist the car in cornering. There’s also a new additional boost function, which depletes the battery pack to maximize trail performance when the powertrain is in its most aggressive qualifying mode. Unfortunately this is done automatically and without one of the push buttons to pass.
The current SF90 Stradale is already around a lap faster in the Fiorano than the LaFerrari that previously sat atop the Ferrari road car table. There is no doubt that this upgraded version will soon prove to be the fastest ever. The question is whether using the XX brand on one car on the street will result in its use on other cars.
Mike Duff has been writing about the auto industry for two decades now and calls the UK home, even though he usually lives on the road. He loves vintage cars and adventure in unexpected places, with career highlights including driving to Chernobyl in a Lada.