While the inclusion of four-wheel drive on a Ferrari sports car may upset some Prancing Horse purists, the thought of one with an electric motor would have many apoplectic! Despite this, Ferrari has included both elements on its new flagship model – the SF90 Stradale.
Unveiled in May, the SF90 Stradale will temper criticism of its “new-fangled” features by being the most powerful V8 engine the company has ever produced. With the ICE and electric motors combined, the SF90 Stradale is also the most powerful Ferrari road car ever.
It should be noted that neither of the new car’s signature elements are entirely new to Ferrari. The LaFerrari featured a KERS-style hybrid system, while the GTC4 Lusso was all-wheel drive, but combining the two in the one vehicle is a Ferrari first, with both elements built into the SF90 Stradale from the beginning, rather than added on to an existing model.
Power of Four
The familiar Ferrari twin-turbocharged V8 has been bored out from 3.9 litres to 4.0 litres, with changes made to the intake and exhaust systems resulting in maximum power of 574kW at 7,500rpm, with maximum torque of 800Nm at 6,000rpm.
This mid-mounted V8 is augmented by three electric motors. One is an F1-style MGUK unit positioned between the engine and a new 8-speed dual-clutch transaxle, with the other two on the front axle to give the SF90 Stradale four-wheel drive. Output from the electric motors is 162kW, for maximum combined power of 736kW.
From this package, 0-100km/h is achieved in a blistering 2.5 seconds (a new record for a road-legal Ferrari) and overall top speed is 340km/h.
On their own, the two front electric motors can deliver maximum speed of 135km/h and also feature a torque vectoring function, but electric-only range is a mere 25km. The front motors also handle the reversing – there’s no reverse cog in the gearbox, so backing into the garage can only be done on electric power.
Controlling this power is an ‘eManettino’ addition to the existing Manettino switch that enables driver selection of the four dynamic modes: eDrive; Hybrid; Performance; and Qualify.
In eDrive, the V8 is deactivated entirely, while Hybrid is the default setting and automatically determines the amount of electric and internal combustion power to use, turning off the V8 as required.
Performance mode keeps the V8 running at all times, mainly for speed and power, but also to recharge the li-ion battery. Qualify delivers maximum output from all four engines, prioritising performance over battery charging.
Electronic dynamic controls have been updated to suit the new drivetrain, including electronic Side Slip Control, electronic Traction Control, brake-by-wire with ABS and EBD, and the aforementioned torque vectoring.
New Bones, New Skin
The challenges of packaging the hybrid drivetrain and counteracting the 270kg of extra weight it adds saw Ferrari create an all-new chassis for the SF90 Stradale, with carbon fibre and new aluminium alloys used extensively, including an alloy for the floorpan known as ‘quiet aluminium’ that reduces NVH levels.
Extensive aerodynamic elements make the car more slippery at speed, effectively induct air and also extract heat to maximise the effectiveness of the drivetrain.
A rear wing incorporated into the engine cover includes both fixed and moving elements, while front bumper aero has been designed to maximise downforce on the front axle - there’s even aero elements on the wheels and front brake calipers.
While aero requirements dictated much of the exterior design, there were some purely aesthetic elements, too, including redesigned C-shaped headlights and tail lights in a compressed oval shape, rather than the circular design of recent models
The SF90 Stradale’s aeronautically-inspired instrument panel is made up of a 16-inch digital HD screen (a Ferrari first) that curves toward the driver, with a central tachometer flanked by a navigation display, audio controls, dynamic mode setting and other information.
Everything from the driving mode to the headlights and wipers is controllable from the steering wheel, using mostly touchscreen elements instead of tactile buttons.
A head-up display is standard, while the gear selector switchgear on the central tunnel mimics a classic manual H-pattern shift gate.
Alcantara, leather, carbon fibre and gloss plastic features throughout the cabin, while the sports seats are arguably less extreme than on Ferrari’s previous high-performance models.
Production of the SF90 Stradale won’t be limited: Ferrari will continue to build them as long as the demand is there.
Based on some reports, that demand is strong, with a special preview for 2,000 Ferrari customers in May seeing most place an order. Despite a local price tag rumoured to be more than $1 million, there are reportedly 25 Australian buyers amongst that 2,000.
First customer deliveries of the SF90 Stradale are expected in Europe in Q1, 2020, with Australian arrival likely to be late 2020.