Year(s): 2009-2010 / Engine: 4.3L V8 / Power: 503 bhp @ 8,500 rpm / Torque: 347 lb/ft @ 5,250 rpm / Power to Weight: 378 bhp/ton / 0-60 mph: 3.6 seconds / Top Speed: 198 mph / Units Built: 499 / Verdict: A genuine hardcore soft-top Ferrari
This was the last Ferrari F430. The limited edition (only 499 we built) Scuderia Spider 16M was built to celebrate Ferrari’s 16 Formula One constructors’ championships and it is based on the Ferrari Scuderia coupe. The basics are the same as the Scuderia with the 16M getting the higher compression 4.3 liter V8 that is good for an extra 20bhp and 4 lb/ft torque over the base Spider. Bodykit, aero, suspension, interior and electronics are all fettled like the Scuderia coupe too. The 16M weighs in around 3300 pounds, about 200 fewer pounds than an F430 Spider, or just over 200 more pounds than a 430 Scuderia.
Did the changes make a difference? You bet. Ferrari clocked the Scuderia Spider 16M around Fiorano test circuit and said it was faster than any open-top road car it has ever built. It isn’t just track performance though, because the best part about the 16M is the way it combines hardcore performance with daily driver usability. This is an open top car remember so it is a good thing that the suspension is adjustable and in its softest settings is actually quite good at massaging away the hardcore nature of the rest of the package.
Perhaps the best part of the 16M is that it intensifies the Scuderia experience. With the top down the noise is just absurdly good. That flat plank V8 Ferrari engine, all 503hp revving to 8,500 rpm is the best thing you have ever heard, the closest thing to an F1 engine you will ever experience. Today’s turbocharged Ferraris don’t come close to the same intoxicating excitement. It is an astonishing car.
At the Ferrari Finale in Mugello, a drop-top version of the F430 Scuderia became the weekend’s surprise. Called 16M, it now celebrates Ferrari’s continued success as a manufacturer in F1.
Ferrari says this Spider is their fastest ‘open-top road car’, which probably comes as concerning news to anyone on the waiting list for the new California. Unlike the coupe, the 16M is being limited to 499 examples which will probably be sold very quickly.
Remarkably, this new car isn’t the first Ferrari to be called 16M. Infact, one of the very first, chassis 0016M was built new as a 166MM Touring Barchetta. These 166s were Ferrari’s first real production car and helped Ferrari win the 1949 the Mille Miglia.
What It’s Like To Drive
From the moment the 16M fires up there’s no doubt it’s going to deliver a spectacular aural performance. The sound of the 16M’s 4.3-liter V8 stretching for the red line rips holes in the atmosphere. There is no better sounding engine on the planet.
It has all the features that differentiate the hardtop Scuderia from the standard F430, including lightweight bumpers and an abundance of carbon fiber panels, many visible, some such as the bulkheads hidden. It also has less sound-deadening and a few novel and exotic weight-saving features including titanium road springs and hollow anti-roll bars.
The upshot of all these weight-saving efforts is that the 16M weighs a chunky 80kg less than the regular 430 Spider, giving its power-to-weight ratio a useful boost. As does the extra 20bhp that has been coaxed from its V8, while intake resonators amplify the voice of the 16M’s engine in a way that perhaps it doesn’t need. But, you know, why not turn it up to 11?
Cockpit ﬁxtures and fittings are the same as in the berlinetta, so it’s a cabin shorn of soft furnishings but featuring a pair of superbly comfortable and supportive seats. Their centre panels are trimmed in a woven ’technical’ fabric like that used for training shoes, and their bolsters are finished in Alcantara. The same material appears on the facia, too, contrasting with the generous amounts of glossy carbon fiber that swathe the cabin.
The 16M has a fabric hood and, despite grey skies promising drizzle, our first job is to stow it. A simple button-press initiates a surprisingly complex, delightfully choreographed process, the fabric folding itself. in half and the double bubble rear deck lifting and reversing to allow the hood to lower itself in the well below. As with the regular F430 Spider, roof-down the 16M is a handsome thing, especially from the rear three-quarters.
The Scuderia/ 16M has Ferrari’s gearbox shifts in just 60ms. Of more use to more drivers most of the time, Ferrari also configured its management logic to use throttle demand and engine speed to determine the speed and character of each shift, which made it the most intuitive and finessed of them all. In ’auto’ mode, as soon as the clutch is in and you’re rolling along, the ’box shufﬂes the cogs smoothly and with as little fuss as a DCT.
You can drive it calmly for a long time too, it is really quite friendly with the ’box choosing high gears and low revs. Squeeze the throttle a bit harder, the tailpipe valves ﬂip and the blare of exhaust makes you jump as though an air-horn has blown in your ear. The lightweight, thin-walled exhaust system gives a more resonant, harder-edged note than the standard car, but I’m sure the valve switch is set at lower engine revs than in the hardtop Scud, too.
Just an ankle-ﬂex away there’s a huge amount of energy waiting to be released. The 16M wants to go; it strains at the leash, and, once clear of town, when there’s no chance of frightening children or the elderly, a long push on the throttle summons up a Mr Hyde sensory explosion. A tremendous, evolving, banshee wail envelops you and combines with neck-snapping, relentless acceleration to cause a temporary mental overload. It’s such an incredible noise that you look in the mirror expecting to see all the leaves blown from the trees, fences ﬂattened, windows shattered.
Even when you’re ready for it, the ﬁrst few times you struggle to take it all in. And even when you think you’ve got your head around it, the demonic, runaway sound of the engine as it reaches 8500rpm — and feels and sounds as though it’s going to go right on accelerating until it explodes -— never fails to send a shiver up your spine.
On backroads the suspension is pretty firm but a button on the centre console allows you to summon the ’bumpy road’ damper setting. The Scuderia was the first Ferrari that would allow you to dial-up maximum-attack mode for the gearshift, stability and traction controls yet still enjoy a relatively compliant ride. This was at Michael Schumacher’s insistence, apparently, and that wasn’t the only inﬂuence he and Marc Gene’, Ferrari’s F1 test driver at the time, had on the dynamics.
The ﬁrst thing to say, however, is that it takes only a couple of miles to appreciate that, despite its soft top, the 16M has a solid structural feel and an impressive lack of shake and shimmy. In fact, I’d say it feels more like its coupe’ equivalent than the 488 Spider I drove recently. Add in steering that feels solid but not too hefty nor overly ’bright’ as some Ferrari’s of this generation could be, and you have a car that’s responsive and accurate yet calm. The perfect platform for outstanding dynamics, in fact, which is what Schumacher, Gene’ and the engineers created.
What helped lift the dynamics of the Scuderia way clear of the stock F430 was the addition of the F1-Trac traction and stability system ﬁrst seen in the front-engined 599. In combination with the regular 430’s clever electronic locking differential, F1-Trac helped optimise drive out of corners, and this was reckoned to allow any decent driver to get within half a second of Gene’s lap time around a track like Fiorano in ’Race’ mode.
It’s a very rewarding car. Plenty fast enough measures up well dynamically to its coupe sibling. If you’d never driven the coupe’, the soft-top would strike you as a remarkably well-resolved, exceptionally capable and exciting driver’s car; it really doesn’t feel like a car that’s had its roof chopped off. Most of all you’ve got to revel in the schizophrenic nature of the 16M’s character, which shifts from meek and mild to angry and wild with a squeeze of the throttle.
“Depending on how much runoff is available in the corners, a flick of the Manettino switch can dial the amount of allowable oversteer up or down quite reliably from zero slip angle in Normal mode, to Formula-Drift in Race mode. Sport seems ideal for narrow Italian back roads. In between the turns there’s that inimitable flat-plane-crank V-8 wail bouncing off the retaining walls and goading you to charge deeper into each corner, testing the seemingly infinite depth of the carbon-ceramic disks’ braking power. They’re incapable of vibration-inducing warpage and incredibly resistant to fade. In 120 miles of driving over roads of varying quality, no bump or dip ever elicited a shake or shimmy of chassis flex, but the violence of a full-throttle Race-mode upshift sends a shudder through the structure that I don’t recall feeling on the same roads in the coupe. With a bit of brainstorming one can imagine more exciting ways of getting from point A to point B while enjoying the sun and wind-a flying-squirrel suit, a jet pack, a rocket luge-but it’s hard to think of an open four-wheeler that’s this exciting to drive and still offers full weather protection, A/C and a decent sound system (put your pencils down, Ariel Atom buffs). That’s ample cause for celebration even in a down year.”
Car Magazine Review F430 Spider 16M
Without a back-to-back comparison it was impossible to tell for sure, but the Spider felt as composed and well balanced as the coupé – user-friendly, but lairy-on-demand too. There’s a little understeer if you push too hard too early in a tight corner, but get the nose tucked in, then feed in the power and the tail will come into play. That lopping the roof off the Scuderia hasn’t ruined the driving experience of this track-honed machine is pretty impressive. But the fact that it’s actually intensified it thanks to the extra noise and the buzz of fresh-air motoring – with no loss of poise – is simply astonishing. The Scuderia 16M really is a brilliant car.
Car & Driver Review F430 Spider 16M
The 16M devoured the switchbacks coursing through the hills surrounding Ferrari’s Maranello factory. The chassis is never unsettled in transition, managing quick shifts in weight effectively, and it seemingly enjoys being pushed to the limit and driven as deep as possible into mountain hairpins. A typical problem with a car so capable never lies in the engineering but in the hands of the driver—driving an exotic near the limit on a country road, especially when you don’t own the vehicle, isn’t the stress reliever a Sunday drive might be.