While it has 50hp and 36 lb-ft more, thanks to stainless steel cats and 3-inch-wide sport mufflers, it's barely a tenth faster to 60 mph-breaching that mark in 3.9 seconds. Top speed rises to 199 mph, not bad considering the extra drag from the add-on parts. And God it sounds good. The V10 is the thug's choice compared to the Ferrari's cultured V8, but makes up for its lack of subtlety with a brute force that suits the new look.

The widebody kit allowed Hamann to fit fatter tires, but swapping from Pirellis to Hankooks is not the obvious step when going for performance. The wider 20-inch Race Edition wheels (7,800 a set) need more muscle to turn in and they fidget a little more on a broken back road at triple the prescribed limit.

To talk of high-speed handling gains, though, would be kidding ourselves. Just like the outside, the minor tweaks to the handling are all about the attitude: it feels faster and that's what counts. When the Italians became a little too Teutonic, more Germans stepped in to put the flair back into the package and, when we checked back, they sold the car to the Middle East. Life is weird sometimes.

Ferrari F430 Black Miracle
No one in their right mind could accuse a matte black Ferrari with red racing stripes of lacking impact, in normal circumstances. But the Ferrari looks bulbous here, overweight even, next to the angular and vicious Gallardo, losing the battle for road presence by a country mile.

Gripes like this soon disappear when the needle is bounding toward redline and the sonorous note of that high-strung V8 reverberates off a tunnel wall. Again, Hamann hasn't messed with the internals; these engines aren't cheap and delving inside means taking over the warranty.

Hamann makes a valid point, too, in that horsepower can be jacked through the roof, but to make it work would require an electronics department bigger than the one at Maranello. So the tuning shop has settled for a sport exhaust and a minor remap to give the supremely advanced E-diff 540 hp to think about.

With a new set of springs dropping the car right onto its Race Edition wheels, it feels the part too. The feedback gives the impression of going faster than the speedo says. There's still a sense of occasion beneath speeds that will land the driver in jail, though. That symphony hall of an exhaust gives every rev a touch of venom so badly needed in the base car.

It dances, darts, and fights through bends in a way that previous generations of Ferraris did. By puncturing that air of invincibility, Hamann has brought the fun back to Ferrari; for that we should be truly thankful.

The lip spoiler, side skirts, rear diffuser, and gullwing doors look slightly out of place in this company. Of course, matte black finishes have taken off in a big way and threaten to cross the tuning/manufacturer divide.

This one can even be taken off when it comes time to sell the car. The foil isn't glued down in some haphazard way, it peels away like a wrapper from a candy bar. So if matte goes out of fashion faster than the leisure suit, it's just a good rub away from showroom condition.

ConclusionThis was one of those rare chances to put the best sellers from Sant'Agata and Maranello, albeit in modified form, into perspective. It was a telling experience.

The raging bull looks much tougher, is screwed together in a way Modena can only dream of and feels like it will be there in 10 years, while the tired switchgear in this mildly worn Ferrari feels ready to fall off. It walks all over the prancing horse, stopping only to grind its snout into the dirt-until the engines are fired up.

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