Trust Ferrari not to do things half-heartedly. The Italians have just unveiled their latest hypercar, and it is one gem of a machine. Called the SF90 Stradale, the company’s new flagship road car is not only insanely powerful, but it is also the first series-production plug-in hybrid electric vehicle to come out of Maranello. With a total power output of 986hp and a power-to-weight ratio of 0.63hp/kg, this new sports car eclipses even the LaFerrari. And for the first time in the Prancing Horse’s history, the car places a V8 engine at the top of the brand’s model range. The production name has, of course, been taken from Ferrari’s 2019 Formula 1 car and references 90 years since Scuderia Ferrari was founded, with engineers having used everything but the kitchen sink when it comes to technology and performance.
To achieve the monumental power output, Ferrari has combined a modified version of its V8 turbo engine that churns out 769hp and 800Nm, with three electric motors that deliver an additional 217hp. Two of these electric helpers sit on the front axle and one takes pride of place on the rear axle, between the engine and the new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. All of them are powered by a 7.9kWh lithium-ion battery that lets the SF90 Stradale drive fully electric for up to 25km. Running on the two front electric motors alone, the car can reach a top speed of 135km/h.
When the electric motors and the internal-combustion engine join forces, the SF90 can rocket from rest to 100km/h in a mere 2.5 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 340km/h. At that speed, it will be almost impossible to admire the aggressive new design of this automobile, which is dominated by short overhangs and a forward shift of the passenger cabin that nicely highlights the mid-engined nature of this beast. The curved windshield, the slender A-pillars and the wider stance still make the exterior look elegant, with two of the most eye-catching features being the front and rear lights. At the front, instead of the typical L-shaped lights that we have gotten used to, Ferrari has fitted C-shaped matrix LED units that are integrated into the front air intakes. At the back, a Camaro-ish vibe is the result of traditional, round taillights being chucked in favor of a boxy design.
While Ferrari hasn’t revealed the price yet, the SF90 Stradale is said to be more expensive than the 812 Superfast but cheaper than the LaFerrari
Inside, Ferrari is debuting a new cabin design that wraps around the driver and aims to keep his full attention on the road. The new steering wheel comes with a touchpad and haptic buttons. A curved 16-inch HD screen replaces the traditional round instruments. And a heads-up display can project various data onto the windshield. The tiller is also home to the new eManettino power mode selector that lets drivers choose from four driving modes: Hybrid is the default mode that uses both power sources; eDrive keeps the petrol engine switched off until the battery runs out of juice; Performance makes sure the V8 engine keeps running so the battery is always charged; and Qualify mobilizes every last horse available for full-scale track attacks.
An all-new chassis made of carbon fiber and high-strength aluminum means the SF90 is 20% stiffer than the previous platform, while an insane amount of electronic trickery helps even mediocre drivers to go fast around a track. New traction control distributes the torque of both propulsion sources (engine and motors) evenly and to wherever it is needed, while a new brake-by-wire system makes sure that regenerative braking comes first under normal driving conditions. Torque vectoring for faster cornering and clever aerodynamics—including a twin-part rear wing that features a shutoff Gurney (think Formula 1 DRS)—helps keep the car glued to the ground.
Customer cars will be delivered in 2020, and while Ferrari hasn’t revealed the price yet, the SF90 Stradale is said to be more expensive than the 812 Superfast but cheaper than the LaFerrari. Not that it ever matters to us normal people.