Ferrari's First Plug-in Hybrid Makes 986 Horsepower, Sometimes
On Wednesday, Ferrari introduced the SF90 Stradale — the Italian marque’s first plug-in hybrid.
The car, which represents a changing of the guard for exotics, starts with an F154 V8 engine that the company claims has been worked over to a point where it can no longer be directly compared to the exiting architecture. While the twin-turbo V8 produces 769 horsepower by itself, three electric motors lend a further 216 ponies, making for an all-wheel-drive vehicle with a grand total of 986 hp.
According to Ferrari, the combination makes for a 0-60 mph rush of 2.5 seconds. Meanwhile, 124 mph is said to be doable in a rather lean 6.9 seconds. Top speed is an enviable 212 mph. Electric-only range is rather limited at just 16 miles and requires the vehicle to operate at or below 84 mph. It also shifts power exclusively to the two motors driving the front axle, making the SF90 temporarily front-wheel drive and entirely dependent upon the vehicle’s 7.9-kW battery pack. As the car has no reverse gear to speak of, electric propulsion is also the only way the car can back up.
While the car can be recharged via regenerative braking, Ferrari says it’s confident that customers will utilize the electrical port to recharge vehicles at home. However, the utility of this is questionable due to the vehicle’s exceptionally low electric range.
The SF90 Stradale also does not have perpetual access to peak power. The 3990cc internal-combustion unit, effectively a bored version of Ferrari’s existing 3.9-liter V8 coupled to an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, has been optimized in every conceivable way to run cooler and stronger than ever before. However, electricity can be used up while running the car hard. Chief Technical Officer Michael Leiters claimed the SF90 should have sufficient juice to maintain peak performance “for a certain amount of seconds, but enough for a lap on every race circuit.”
The new chassis, which keeps the engine sitting 50 millimeters lower in the bay than before, results in a total curb weight of 3,527 pounds. Ferrari claims the “Assetto Fiorano” version will shave off 66 pounds by implementing more carbon fiber and titanium in its construction.
European deliveries are expected to start in the first half of 2020, with U.S. deliveries to follow a few months later. Pricing has yet to be announced, but should be revealed later this week to preferred customers. Automotive News claims its base MSRP should reside somewhere between the extravagant La Ferrari hypercar and comparatively modest 812 Superfast — which costs about $364,000 in the United States. Volume is only expected to be limited by demand, meaning you should be able to snag one if you’re rich and patient enough.
If you need help rationalizing the price before taking to the comments section, Ferrari is promising all sorts of fancy new torque-vectoring tricks, adaptive drive modes, slick thermal management, and enough active-aerodynamic expertise to create 860 pounds of downforce at 155 mph. Of course, the fact that it cannot run at peak power for more than a few seconds at a time is a little obnoxious.
As much as a high-performance kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) would makes you feel like an F1 driver, it also requires the SF90 Stradale’s output to carry a big, fat asterisk. Yet there was really no other way for the company to pull this off without making the battery compromisingly large.
In truth, we’re impressed the Ferrari managed to keep the vehicle’s weight as low as it did. But we were also impressed by Porsche’s ability to keep down the pounds on the 918, which the SF90 mimics in its overall concept while adding an additional forward gear, one more electric motor, and superior-looking spec sheet. We’d enjoy seeing the pair go toe-to-toe on a track somewhere before the end of next year.
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