How time flies. It's already been a decade since the Ferrari Enzo rewrote the sports car rulebook. Although its major elements -- a carbon-fiber structure, a 650-hp V-12, and active aerodynamics -- have hardly become commonplace, new supercars have challenged Ferrari's king-of-the-road status. Never fear. Ferrari will restore order come 2013 with a stunning high-tech flagship.
The still-nameless new supercar (it will definitely not be badged Enzo, and its internal codename, F150, would cause some consternation in Dearborn) is much more radically proportioned than any other street-legal two-seater. Dramatically low and neither as wide nor as long as, say, a Koenigsegg or a Pagani Huayra, the new Ferrari (envisioned here by our spy illustrator) looks more like a silhouette Formula 1 racer with a sculptured, streamlined body. Strong aerodynamics are absolutely essential in this segment -- not because the F150 sets out to eclipse the 217-mph top speed of the Enzo and the 599XX, but because of the crucial ground-effects airflow that provides suction-cup roadholding.
"Aerodynamics equal efficiency," explains Flavio Manzoni, the man who heads a team of twenty designers and twelve modelers. "Efficiency does not only mean a low drag coefficient and a relatively small frontal area. Efficiency also warrants exceptional high-speed stability, which is a key confidence-inspiring characteristic. The art of aerodynamics is to create a slippery shape that produces exactly the right amount of downforce in all driving conditions."
Means to this end include the low-slung, zero-lift front-end design, the nearly flat undertray, and the integrated rear air deflector, the effect of which is enhanced by the F1-style exhaust-gas routing. Other drag-cutting addenda are actively ventilated wheelhouses, adaptive brake-cooling ducts, and selectively blocked engine air intake louvers. Although the vehicle structure consists mainly of carbon fiber like the Enzo, the new car incorporates a wide variety of lightweight materials. There are also plenty of calorie-saving details, such as a honeycomb engine cradle, sandwich suspension links, hollow-spoke wheels, and a thin-wall exhaust system. The result won't quite match the 1000 kilogram target set by the 2007 Millechili concept, but it will still undercut the Enzo by some 100 kg for a weight of 1250 kg -- about 2755 pounds. It manages this feat despite carrying an innovative hybrid drivetrain that includes a battery pack, an electric motor, and performance electronics. The part-time energy kit delivers 120 hp and 220 lb-ft of torque, sources say. The prime source of propulsion is a normally aspirated 7.3-liter V-12, which develops a claimed 800 hp, thereby equaling the output of the Enzo-based FXX introduced in 2005. The aggregate torque of nearly 740 lb-ft is sent to the rear wheels via a dual-clutch automatic transmission, a modified F1-Trac differential, and an upgraded computer.
No, the new Ferrari won't be quite as fast as a Bugatti Veyron. But considering the favorable power-to-weight ratio and the considerable on-demand KERS acceleration boost, the new limited-edition Ferrari should at least be able to outsprint its rivals. In addition, its CO2 footprint is bound to be significantly smaller than similar supercar concepts, with the possible exception of the upcoming Porsche 918 Spyder. The new flagship was initially supposed to debut this autumn at the upcoming Paris motor show but, owing to Ferrari's overworked R&D department, will have to wait until early 2013.