It’s not very often that a high-profile manufacturer can just introduce a new car out of nowhere. Nowadays, it’s common to find all sorts of hype, speculation, spy shots, and more about a car before it’s even revealed to the public. Special edition, limited-run cars typically have a better shot at keeping out of the public eye due to their rarity. However, as was exemplified with the recent launch of Ferrari’s LaFerrari Aperta, rumors, renders, and social media posts were around for months, even years, before the car was officially announced. This week, Ferrari has managed to drop an intriguing new special edition model known as the J50. It is built to celebrate 50 years of Ferrari in Japan, and has remained completely unknown to the general public until now.
The J50 shares its underpinnings and drivetrain with Ferrari’s turbocharged powerhouse, the 488 Spider. Essentially, the J50 is to the 488 as the Pininfarina Sergio was to the 458. However, the 3.9 liter, twin-turbo V8 has been tuned to put out 681 horsepower (rather than 661 in the 488). Power is still sent to the rear wheels through a 7-speed DCT like every other modern Ferrari. No performance numbers have been quoted. But, the 488 does 0-60 in 3 seconds and tops out at 202 mph, so the J50 will surely be a quick car.
The real highlight of the J50 is its incredibly unique styling. The entire car has been reworked and formed into one angry-looking beast. The front end features a more aerodynamic front bumper and intakes. Air is channeled along the side of the car into revised air ducts, while more angular side skirts force the air past the car’s flanks. Prominent roll bars rest above the driver and passenger seats, while the rear bodywork flows back towards a new rear spoiler. The car’s back end is not ideally visible from the released pictures, but four tail lights can be found below the spoiler. The car also reportedly features a new diffuser, and is finished off with a new set of wheels. I like this design for two reasons: because it looks good, and because it ties in a variety of styling cues from other Ferraris. The angular headlights remind me of the FXX K, while the black strip that travels along the car is reminiscent of the mighty F50. The car’s overall stance and targa style resemble the aforementioned Sergio greatly as well. Finally, those quad tail lights in the rear hark back to a time in which all Ferraris featured four rounded lights at the back.
The J50 is an incredibly striking car. It looks incredibly futuristic while paying homage to many great Ferraris of the past. Based on critics’ reviews of the 488 Spider, it’ll provide one hell of a driving experience as well. Unfortunately, only 10 are going to be produced, and they have all been sold for what is probably a staggering amount of money. For the lucky ten owners, however, the J50 will provide an all-around experience unlike any other prancing horse, and look fantastic doing it.