Ferrari SF90 Spider Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
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Thursday 5th October


What is it like to drive?

Surprisingly the SF90 doesn’t actually feel all that quick. Nah, just kidding… it’s an absolute rocketship.

Like in the Stradale, push the throttle pedal at any speed and at any revs and you’re transported into the next dimension. There’s so much traction under acceleration, although you will notice the front wheels helping out as the 217bhp of electric power scrabbles away at the tarmac to assist the 769bhp firecracker at the rear. A slightly strange feeling but one that you can quickly get used to.

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A launch control start is absolutely savage, with the eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox cycling through cogs at relentless speed and the combination of electric power and turbocharging offering a constant surge forward. Remember, 0-62mph is dealt with in just 2.5 seconds. Overtakes need to be recalibrated in your brain, with just the smallest gap needed to blast past slow-moving traffic, particularly when you’re in Performance or maximum-attack Qualifying mode.

How does it sound?

Obviously all of this speed is made even more visceral by chopping the roof off, and Ferrari has managed to avoid too much buffeting, so thankfully the main sound isn’t rapidly-travelling wind noise. Of course this powertrain doesn’t quite have the soul of a big V12, but it’s an angry, urgent noise that suits the hectic, sports car nature of the SF90. They certainly haven’t toned it down to be a better roofless grand tourer. 

Can it go around corners?

Of course it can. Braking into a corner you’ll notice (or should we say won’t notice) how well integrated the SF90's regenerative braking is. The brake-by-wire system blends said regen to get charge back into the battery with proper pad to disc friction, and somehow the result isn’t a disjointed pedal. Perhaps it’s not the last word in feel, but you’re never left wondering what the car is up to underneath you, and the stopping power is remarkable. 

The electronic power steering too is ultra-direct like in all modern Ferraris, but at road speeds at least the SF90 Spider doesn’t feel overly twitchy. Flick the regular Manettino from Sport to Race or CT Off though and you’ll be thankful for the rapid response. Opposite lock will be needed, but that’s only because the cornering speeds are huge, with the ultra-clever torque vectoring on the front axle allowing you to attack bends at ludicrous speed, confident in the knowledge that the tech will sort you out. 

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Is it uncomfortable?

It’s not. Obviously weight comes in to play when you’ve got a hybrid powertrain and folding roof, but the Spider’s chassis is strong and the suspension well-judged. It can get a little fidgety on the most bumpy of roads, but this is a sports car. Plus, if the surface is really poor then you’ve got the ‘bumpy road’ mode that’s activated by pressing the Manettino. Unless of course you’ve specced the optional Assetto Fiorano pack – that brings passive Multimatic dampers, 21kg of weight saving and an extended rear spoiler for extra downforce.

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