The 2009 Ferrari 430 Scuderia is what happens when a serious performance-car company decides to weed out the wannabes. Let's start with two features it doesn't have: a radio or anything worthy of being called "sound-deadening material." If you're a Beverly Hills weenie, Ferrari seems to be saying help yourself to the regular F430, preferably in convertible form. But if you want arguably the most exhilarating driving experience Ferrari has to offer, bring your racing shoes and get your name on the 430 Scuderia waiting list. Oh, and bring money, too -- the Scuderia costs (gulp) $100,000 more than the F430 on which it's based.
So what do you get for your extra $100,000? Well, if you have to ask about value, you probably shouldn't be shopping for a Ferrari in the first place. But the Scuderia does give you a lot of upgrades for your 65-percent-greater financial contribution. By ditching the sound insulation, replacing some significant components with carbon-fiber versions (door panels, central tunnel, seats), ripping out the carpet and making the floor aluminum, Ferrari shaved about 450 pounds off the F430's already svelte 3,196-pound curb weight. The 4.3-liter V8 also came in for revisions, albeit minor ones, resulting in a 20-horsepower gain for a total of 503 hp. The result isn't what we'd call refined, exactly, but it sure is fast -- the 0-60-mph sprint drops from 4 four seconds to a shade over 3, making the Scuderia one of the quickest cars in the world.
The 430 Scuderia also employs the services of E-Diff2, an electronic dream team that combines the F430's E-Diff electronic limited-slip differential with the 599 GTB Fiorano's F1-Trac traction control system. E-Diff2 offers 40 percent more acceleration out of corners than a traditional traction/stability control system, so it won't just save your bacon -- it'll also make you look like a better driver. Ferrari's single-clutch automated manual F1 gearbox is mandatory on the Scuderia. Some may wish for a conventional manual transmission instead, but Ferrari says the F1's quicker shift times make it ideal for racetrack duty.
The limited-production 2009 Ferrari 430 Scuderia is an unparalleled track day toy or look-at-me accessory for folks with a roster of more comfortable daily-driver options. We'd rather have a 599 GTB Fiorano for just $20,000 more -- but then, that's because we don't already have one in the garage.
Body Styles, Trim Levels and Options:
The 2009 Ferrari 430 Scuderia is an ultra-high-performance two-seat exotic coupe available in one trim level. Standard equipment includes 19-inch wheels, carbon-ceramic brakes, five driver-selectable settings for suspension, throttle and transmission calibrations, numerous carbon-fiber body panels and interior components, carbon-fiber racing seats available in three sizes, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, xenon headlights, full power accessories and automatic climate control.
There are numerous personalization options available, including special paint and trim items for both the exterior and interior. While the standard Scuderia comes without a stereo, you can add one as an option, and it includes Bluetooth and the availability of a six-CD changer with iPod connectivity.
Powertrains and Performance:
The Ferrari 430 Scuderia is powered by a massaged version of the F430's 4.3-liter V8 that produces 503 hp and 347 pound-feet of torque. The only transmission available is the F1-SuperFast 2 automated-clutch manual, which is controlled by carbon-fiber paddle shifters mounted on the steering column. Gearchanges are accomplished in 60 milliseconds, or a quarter of the time needed to change a gear the old-fashioned way.
The estimated 0-60-mph time for the Scuderia is 3.4 seconds, with a quarter-mile time of around 11 seconds at 126 mph. The standard carbon-ceramic brakes haul the Scuderia down from 60 mph in just 95 feet, which is about as good as it gets.
The 430 Scuderia comes standard with antilock brakes, stability control and the E-Diff2's combination of a limited-slip differential and traction control. There are no side airbags.
Interior Design and Special Features:
The Scuderia's interior is quite literally a shell of its former F430 self. Carbon fiber is used throughout the cabin to save weight, while Alcantara faux suede fills in the blanks. The optional stereo is worth considering, but the unadulterated V8 howl might be the only music you'll ever need. The driver and passenger are kept in place by carbon-fiber seats, which are available in three sizes and include street-friendly manually adjustable seatbacks.
With five driving settings controlled by the steering wheel's "manettino" (Italian for "little manager") knob, not to mention E-Diff2's magical power management, the 2009 Ferrari 430 Scuderia seems designed to make even the average Giuseppe feel like Ferrari F1 legend Michael Schumacher in the twisties. Not coincidentally, Schumacher himself was supposedly involved in the Scuderia's development. Even without the electronic gadgetry, the 430 Scuderia is still a delightfully elemental embodiment of the midengine sports car concept.