Everyone expects the current Ferrari flagship, the LaFerrari, to have a reign at the top of the Ferrari food chain for about a decade. Given the space between previous flagship projects such as the Enzo, this timeline makes the most sense. This hasn’t stopped designers from imaging what the next supercar to take over the world could possibly look like. Independent designer Adriano Raeli has envisioned a “street legal F1 car,” named the Ferrari F80. This is a futuristic design that embodies several very aggressive styling cues to include side mirrors attached to the roof and an insane front grill. Raeli’s design is powered by a twin-turbo V8 that delivers 900 horsepower matched to a 300 horsepower KERS system for a combined power output of 1,200 hp with a 0-60 mph time of just two seconds and a top speed of 310 mph.
It is not possible for an automotive company to hide from the reality that emission reduction is here to stay. As the world embraces going green, the demand for more fuel efficient-eco friendly cars is reshaping the automotive landscape. Car companies must now produce fuel-sipping powerplants if they want to be competitive from this point forward. This can be rather challenging for automotive manufactures that pride themselves on performance and power. Classically speaking, power and fuel economy have not mixed. There is no better example of this than the muscle cars of the 1970s. For Ferrari, the challenge of reducing emissions while improving performance has been viewed as a way for Ferrari to separate itself from the pack and to introduce new models that are equally exciting as they are eco friendly.
Ferrari Powertrain Director Vittorio Dini recently told Automotive News Europe that Ferrari has plans to improve its current average C02 emissions of 270 grams per kilometer by 20 percent by 2021. This would create a new benchmark for the Prancing Horse of 216 grams of C02 per kilometer. “In the future, all of our V8s will use turbos,” explained Dini. For the V12 engines, Ferrari has elected to go with a hybrid system that better suits the V12 engines versus the heat that is created from turbos.
Evidence of this new philosophy can be seen in the new California T that ditches the naturally aspirated engine in favor of a smaller displacement, more powerful turbocharged unit. The LaFerrari is an example of how Ferrari has paired the larger V12 engine with a powerful hybrid system.
There is no doubt that the LaFerrari is a game changer for the future of Ferrari supercars. There have been suggestions in the past by Ferrari president, Luca di Montezemolo that the hybrid technology used in the LaFerrari could make its way into the next-generation of Ferraris. This would be in direct response to increasingly demanding emissions requirements. A series of design patent images recently revealed show that Ferrari is developing a new model, which may be a front-engine turbocharged hybrid that could possibly replace the Ferrari California.
Pictures circulating online after patents were submitted, reveal a vehicle that takes most of its cues from current Ferrari’s, including the front and rear styling of the FF. The lights shown in this illustration are consistent with the lights currently used on the Ferrari 458, F12 Berlinetta and FF. The lower valance displayed in these diagrams appears to be a hybrid between what is found on the Ferrari FF and the F12 Berlinetta. Even with the illustration appearing to show a fixed-roof coupe, there are prominent cut lines in the roof that strongly suggest that a production version could include a removable roof panel or a folding metal hard top, similar to what is currently used on the Ferrari California.
The current Ferrari California is a rear-drive vehicle powered by a naturally aspirated V8 engine that produces 483 horsepower and 375lb-ft of torque capable of doing 0-60 in less than 4 seconds. A slightly disguised Ferrari California was seen testing with what was rumored to be a twin-turbocharged 3.8 liter V8 that is currently found in the Maserati Quattroporte and delivers 523 horsepower and 523lb-ft of torque. These sightings and the release of patent images strongly suggest that we may see a replacement vehicle for the Ferrari California by 2017.
Customer deliveries of the 2014 Ferrari hybrid supercar, LaFerrari have not began and one has already been involved in an accident in Italy, rumored to have occurred in a small town by the name of Modena over the holiday weekend.
A Rosso Corsa LaFerrari wearing the white camouflage covering was rear-ended by a semi, possibly an Iveco. The damage seems to be minor, possibly involving the rear tail lights and perhaps some carbon fiber panels. Even with minor damage, when it comes to a vehicle of this stature with a price tag well north of a million dollars, any news of an accident is major news around the world.
The LaFerrari is the first and hopefully not the last hybrid to come from Maranello produces 950 horsepower, 789 horsepower are from the 6.3-liter V-12 and the rest are from two electric motors. The LaFerrari also produces an astonishing 516 lb-ft of torque and a top end of 217 mph. Additional examples of excellence included in the LaFerrari are a lighter crankshaft, variable-length intake runners, an equal-length six into-one headers hydroformed from Inconel and a seven-speed automated-manual transaxle. With the LaFerrari weighing only 2,800 pounds, that’s a half ton lighter than the well respected F12 Berlinetta, the newest prancing horse is able to hit 0-60 in less than 3 seconds! The LaFerrari hybrid system consists of two electric motors developed in conjunction with the Fiat Group subsidiary responsible for developing high-technology components: Magneti Marelli. The first motor powers the wheels, while the second powers the accessories. A 120 cell battery pack arranged in eight 15 cell modules is assembled in-house by the Ferrari racing team. The battery pack is charged any time the carbon-ceramic brake discs are applied.
Ferrari is following a growing trend by automakers to offer high-performance cars with reduced emissions. BMW has just showcased the i8 plug-in hybrid supercar while McLaren has been rumored to also have a hybrid supercar in the works. This is clearly the result of political pressures being placed on both automakers and the motorsports industry to make more environmentally friendly products. Formula 1 has opted to downsize their engines in an effort to reduce emissions; NASCAR has been considering using an ethanol fuel over the current high-carbon dioxide producing mixture. It’s safe to say that the automotive landscape that we have became familiar with is about to change. The need to test the eco-friendly concepts out on high-end supercars makes sense due to the fact that customers who purchase high-end supercars tend to be less price sensitive, and more willing to pay for additional technology. A clear example of this is $845,000 clean air production version of the Porsche 918 Spyder that has just been released.
By adding two electric motors to the already 798-horsepower 6.3 liter V12 gas motor of the LaFerrari, Ferrari was able to achieve 949 horsepower with a 0-60 in less than 3 seconds with a top speed of over 218 mph. This completely contradicts the classic logic that an electric car or hybrid will be good for the environment but bad for horsepower. Supercar manufacturers have found a way to deliver higher horsepower than what is possible in a gas motor while delivering a considerably more eco-friendly product. Transforming the perception that all hybrids are wussy little “smart cars” with no balls into masculine high-performance machines that kick ass. This upswing in horsepower is match with an extremely limited production line designed to increase Ferrari’s profitability by offering high-end customized versions of its vehicles while restricting their availability to enhance the brand’s reputation for exclusivity.
Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo has confirmed to Bloomberg that Ferrari has plans to introduce and develop more hybrid models in the future. Luca di Montezemolo was careful to ensure that Ferrari tailors production to meet customer demand. Even though di Montezemolo did not give any details on what hybrid models to expect, Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa has previously stated that the technology used to create the LaFerrari was engineered to be compatible with all future Ferrari models.
“I’m not saying when, but it is possible that this technology will be on all Ferrraris,” Felisa said in a March 2012 interview with Autocar. “It has been designed to fit all our future architecture, and if we go ahead it will be fitted as standard. It is not the sort of thing you offer as an option.”
The LaFerrari represents a huge step up in powertrain technology for the Maranello based manufacturer. Luca di Montezemolo has confirmed that the LaFerrari was not a one off, rather the first piece in an intricate strategy to meet the growing demand for clean air technology while still delivering the quality, performance and exclusivity that has made the prancing pony one of the most distinguishable brands on the market today.