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 |  Mar 05 2009, 5:49 AM

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Ferrari chose the Geneva Auto Show to not only unveil the track oriented 599xx but also to debut a more performance-oriented version of the 599 GTB for the street. The 599 Handling GTE (or HGTE) 599 takes the standard 599 to a new level with several small tweaks that will make it a more invigorating driving experience.

For starters, the ride height of the 599 has been lowered, and the new springs are stiffer than before. The magnetorheological shocks have also been recalibrated to new settings when the manettino is at its sportier settings. And in the rear, a larger anti-roll bar has been installed. Combined with the lower center of gravity and the stiffer suspension, the HGTE should deliver a noticeable improvement over the already outstanding 599.

Ferrari hasn’t revealed any specifics on the new transmission electronics of the HGTE but will say that shift times have been reduced. It’s pretty safe to assume that the 100 millisecond shift times are now 60 milliseconds – like those in the F430 Scuderia. The HGTE also features a slightly modified ECU with a more responsive throttle.

No power has been added to the 611hp V12 engine but the HGTE does feature a new set of mufflers for a more race-car-like sound.

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While the rumors about a more aggressively-styled front fascia turned out to be false, the exterior of the HGTE is marked by new 20-inch five-spoke wheels, a matte-black diffuser and chrome tail pipes. Inside there is plenty of carbon fiber, including the entire seat-backs, as well as a mixture of black leather and Alcantara. The headrests also feature the Ferrari Prancing Horse logo and the words “Handling GTE.”

GALLERY: Ferrari 599 HGTE

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