2009 Sneak Preview: 2010 Ferrari F142

Rumor has it that Ferrari's epic waiting lists have all but dried up. A newly depressed world economy means that you can now march into a Ferrari dealership and prance out with any shiny new horse you desire. Get one while you can, because the F430 is about to be replaced with a new model that's sure to bring back the long wait.

Its successor, code-named F142, will be unveiled this fall at the Frankfurt show. Spy photographers, however, have caught nearly undisguised prototypes, so although the technical details are still not verified, we can get a peek at the new model's styling.

As in the F430, the engine resides in the middle. The heart of this sports car will grow from the F430's 4.3 liters to somewhere between 4.7 and 5.0 liters. ("Rollin' in my five-point-oh" has a nice ring to it, right?) A larger version of the 32-valve V-8 used in the California, the flat-crank screamer also uses direct injection both to increase power and reduce emissions. We expect output to be between 550 and 585 hp-up significantly from the 430 Scuderia's 503 horses. The V-8 will be bolted to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, and performance should be scintillating. Figure sprints to 60 mph in about 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 200 mph.

The aluminum body is stiffer yet lighter than the F430's, and the F142 should weigh even less than the 430 Scuderia. Active dampers and carbon-ceramic brakes, along with an additional mode for the manettino, will help manage power and grip in corners. Active aerodynamic aids will help direct airflow into three channels (center and one per side) and the wheelhouses to generate downforce. Combined with a lower center of gravity and better weight distribution, the F142 promises to sprint right past the F430. A convertible will follow the coupe by a year, and an even lighter-weight Scuderia version is scheduled to come a year after that.

HYBRID SYNERGY WHO? The car's name, of course, will reflect its V-8's displacement. Don't expect to see a "hybrid" badge, but don't be surprised to see an energy-recovery system-similar to those in Formula 1 racing cars-in the newest Ferrari. Sure, times have changed, but Ferraris always look better in red than they do in green.

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