We noticed you're blocking ads.

Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker.

Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us

Font Size

- Aa +

Thu 28 Feb 2008 04:00 AM

Font Size

- Aa +

Better than the gym

The Ferrari 430 Scuderia leaves Tom Bird battered and bruised - but happy.

The Ferrari 430 Scuderia leaves Tom Bird battered and bruised - but happy.

Sixty milliseconds in anyone's book is not a lot of time. 0.06 seconds in decimal, or 6/100th of a second for fraction fans. It's a period of time extremely difficult to put into perspective.

The human eye takes 300-400 milliseconds to blink, which compared to a hummingbird who will flap its wings every 20 milliseconds, seems like an eternity.

So imagine how mind-bending it is when a car can change gear in the same time it takes for the hummingbird to perform three wing-flaps.

It's impossible for any human to be able to change gear that quickly, but thanks to Ferrari's combined efforts in road car development and being the most successful F1 team ever, it's made a car that can do just that.

The software's named F1 Superfast, which it really is.

Just before I pulled back on the 430 Scuderia's steering column mounted upshift paddle for the first time I knew the change would be quick, but it's just inconceivable at just how quick.

There's no annoying delay, no let up in the insane acceleration of the car, just unconstrained mechanical joy.

And the paddle itself is a joy to pull, unlike the Porsche 911 with its horrible rocker buttons on the steering wheel, or the Audi R8 with a glorified button

The Scuderia's have just the right amount of movement to make you ask why other manufacturers miss the mark so badly.

As I watched the LEDs mounted in the top of the steering wheel's rim race further right, I knew I'd had to change gear again.

There's no point in trying to brace yourself for it, by the time you've tensed your muscles in a vain attempt to lessen the affect of the whip-crack change, it's over and you're charging towards the next change with no let up.

I can't even put into words how fast the changes are, as it would take you longer to read than it actually happens.

Just imagine accelerating to 100kph in 3.6seconds surrounded by noise and just one perfect gearchange altering the exhaust note for a split-second, before that wondrous engine howls back towards the redline.

And what a noise - an unrelenting ear-splitting, headache inducing roar - utterly fantastic.

Away from the engine and gearbox, the Scuderia impresses even more. The steering is so delicate, yet so direct, you feel absolutely everything on the road. Every little bump, crease, or crack in the tarmac is fed into your palms.

You can place the car with unbelievable accuracy on the road, making corners a dream. Find yourself on a track and you would never leave - only stopping when the last millilitre of petrol had been expelled through the twin exhausts to the elements.

But what a way to go. If hydrocarbons could have one last wish before being ignited to oblivion, it would be in the engine of a Ferrari.

The car makes a hero of anyone behind the wheel - but it makes you work.

The four glorious hours that I had the pleasure of the Scuderia's company on the roads around Modena were the most exercise I've had in a long time. I ached all the way back to Dubai, but it was worth it.

Worth sampling the changes that Michael Schumacher had insisted go into the Scuderia during in his many test sessions - the ability to turn the traction control off, but leave the stability control on, so you don't kill yourself.

And the softer suspension setting that can be chosen regardless of where the manettino is pointing to.

The Scuderia is one of the best cars ever made - drive one before you die - you won't regret it.

NEED TO KNOWPrice: $230,000

Engine: 4308cc 32v V8, 503bhp @ 8500rpm, 347lb ft @ 5250rpm

Transmission: six-speed semi-auto, rear-wheel drive

Performance: 3.6sec 0-100kph, 320kph, Weight: 1350kg

On sale in ME: March

Rating: 5/5

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall