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In the second part of the ‘Three Kings’ series we have the Ferrari F430 Scuderia. The ‘Scud’ was a sensation when new, but currently falls into that not-quite-classic, not-quite-new tranche that affects even the most celebrated of cars. Everything is relative, of course, but a Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale can be over Rs 2 crore for a low-mileage example, and a 458 Speciale over Rs 3 crore, which makes a Scud at just under CS prices conspicuously good value – particularly so, given its performance.
The Ferrari F430 Scuderia was a heavily developed 360 (with an entirely different engine, much like the 488 is to the 458), and that’s clear from the familiar driving position, the dashboard, the door cards and the overall dimensions of the car, which all exhibit a close similarity with the 360. Like the CS, the Scud feels much, much smaller on the road than the gigantic Speciale, and therefore far more wieldy on British tarmac – even if at 1350kg to the 458’s 1395kg it’s not that much lighter. It’s a bit more luxurious inside than the 360, with leather appearing on some surfaces and more sophistication to the interior design – a sign perhaps that Ferrari was understanding who was actually handing over the money for these more potent versions of its ‘junior’ supercar.
It’s the powertrain and electronics of the Ferrari F430 Scuderia that move it on comprehensively from the CS, the Scuderia name more than a subtle hint that this combat-spec Ferrari V8 had direct inspiration from the firm’s Formula 1 efforts. Powered by a higher-revving, titanium-filled version of the standard 430’s V8, this is the F136 motor that shared its fundamentals with sister brand Maserati. You can tell it’s a different engine immediately: there’s the same flat-plane crank harshness at idle, but it emits an instantly recognisable bark at lower revs, a reedy sort of warble that could cut glass. Open the engine up, though, and you’re treated to proper accelerative violence and a savage blast of induction roar, particularly with the side glass lowered. This is the Scud’s 503bhp making itself felt, an astonishing amount from just 4.3 litres of naturally aspirated V8, and frankly worth the price of the car alone.
The Ferrari F430 Scuderia feels appreciably faster than the CS, as you’d expect given the power output, but it’s the gearshift that helps, too. The dear old single-clutch ’box had come a long way by 2007, and the shifts are much more convincing in their swiftness, at least in the Race setting. Those settings are accessed by the appearance of the Manettino, and with an electronic differential (the E-Diff) and increasingly sophisticated stability control software (F1-Trac), the Scud can be seen as a pioneer of the kind of trickery we’ve come to expect in the modern Ferrari. Essentially, the systems are there not just to keep you on the road, but to make you look good, and let you have fun, all with a safety net in place.
Just as with the CS, there’s a lightness of touch to the Ferrari F430 Scuderia. There’s that same flighty but deft character, just with everything that bit more serious, and not just because of the increased speeds. Now Race gathers a lot more different systems together, but there’s the ‘bumpy road’ button to slacken the damping off, and in this configuration it actually rides well, capturing that all-of-a-piece feel that a well-sorted mid-engined car always seems to exude. It does still feel raw, though. The V8 dominates the proceedings, and there’s still the creak and clatter from a pared-back Ferrari cabin of the older generation; don’t go expecting the refinement and build tolerances of a Mercedes S-Class if you buy a Scuderia, because particularly at low urban speeds the Scud’s more luxurious leather trim soon feels like little more than a thin facade to the racer underneath.
The more I drive the Ferrari F430 Scuderia, the more I wonder if it might be the best of both worlds. This left-hand-drive example is valued at Rs 1.65 crore by the Octane Collection, and while that’s an awful lot of money, by the standards of the modern supercar it seems like a good deal for a blue-blooded Ferrari such as this one. Most of all, though, it’s the bark of that V8, and the large jump up in torque from the much bigger engine that kicks the car forward in the mid-range (even if this is still an engine that’s all about the revs). It’s a real hooligan, the 430 Scuderia, in a sophisticated, F1-inspired suit.