The Ferrari SF90 Stradale Is a 986-HP, Totally Bonkers Plug-In Hybrid Hypercar
The next hugely powerful Ferrari hypercar is here.
It looks like Ferrari's done wasting time. After the decade break between the expectations-shattering Ferrari Enzo and the mighty LaFerrari, Maranello is introducing its next mind-bending, bank-busting car after just five years between introductions—it does take pains, however, to point out that the SF90 isn't the LaFerrari's successor. Rather, it occupies a space above the F8 Tributo but below where a neo-LaFerrari would theoretically go if one existed, and unlike the LaFerrari, the total number built won't be predetermined. Another way it departs from that previous hybridized hyper-halo is that the new SF90 Stradale combines bleeding-edge hybrid technology not with a V-12 but with the brand's popular V-8; the powertrain makes it both the storied marque's first-ever plug-in and its most powerful car ever. Read on for all the delectable details on its advanced technology and driving systems, and be sure to check out all the photos, videos, and specifications.
Technically, the break between mega-powerful models was actually shorter than five years. The final LaFerrari coupes arrived in 2016, and production of the extremely limited droptop Aperta version stretched through August 2018.
What's with the name? As the F40 was built to honor Ferrari's 40th birthday as an automaker, the SF90 celebrates the 90th anniversary of Scuderia Ferrari, Enzo's race team.
It has Ferrari's first hybrid V-8. While the V-12 LaFerrari holds the title of Maranello's first hybrid, the SF90 packs the brand's first electrified V-8. A 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 from the popular F154 engine family provides 769 horsepower, while three electric motors fill in and smooth the powerband with an extra 217 horsepower of their own. When combined, the SF90 has a whopping 986 hp.
One more makes eight. In another Ferrari first, the SF90 uses a "completely redesigned" eight-speed dual-clutch automatic instead the familiar seven-speeder found on the 488 GTB and new F8 Tributo. The SF90's transmission is said to use a clutch assembly that's 20 percent smaller in diameter and which reduces its installation height by 0.6 inch, lowering the overall center of gravity. It's also some 15 pounds lighter overall, too.
It's Ferrari's first mid-engined model with all-wheel drive. While Ferrari has offered all-wheel-drive in the FF and GTC4 Lusso since 2012, the SF90 is the first mid-engined sports series Ferrari to feature all-wheel drive. This is primarily thanks to an all-electric front axle powered by two of the three electric motors; the rear wheels are fed the power from the V-8. Naturally, the front electric motors also provide torque-vectoring capability from side to side.
Surprise, surprise—it's fast. Thanks to almost 1,000 horsepower and more than 660 lb-ft of torque, acceleration is vicious. From a standstill, it takes just 2.5 seconds to reach 62 mph, and a hair-ripping 6.7 to hit 124 mph. Curiously, top speed is a relatively low 211 mph. If we had to guess, those electric motors up front are the limiting factor.
Trick aero keeps things flat. The SF90 is crammed full of all sorts of active aero to manage downforce, engine airflow, and heat dispersion. The rear aerodynamic features of the SF90 are particularly clever, incorporating an active portion the carmaker calls the "shut-off Gurney." This piece is one of two that make up the rear wing; at low or very high speeds, it combines with an outer fixed portion to allow air to flow both over and underneath the wing. When braking, during fierce directional changes, or when cornering, the "shut-off Gurney" lowers to close off the area below the wing and deliver maximum downforce. It's apparently quite effective, considering the car produces 860 pounds of downforce at 155 mph.
Yes, there's an EV mode. For congested city centers, late-night cruises through the neighborhood, or for when you just want to save a few cents on gas, the SF90 can run in an all-electric mode for roughly 15 miles for a maximum speed of around 83 mph. During that time, only the front motors are engaged, making it the first front-wheel-drive Ferrari—at least temporarily. Of course, the range estimate is a European-spec figure, so mileage may vary for U.S. buyers.
There are other new driving modes. Along with the aforementioned all-electric eDrive mode, drivers can select from among Hybrid, Performance, and deliciously named Qualify modes. The latter is the max-attack, full-power mode that puts the hybrid system on red-alert.
A brake-by-wire system is aboard. If the hybrid V-8 didn't freak out Ferrari purists enough, the new brake-by-wire system for the pedal is sure to push them over the edge. As much as we'd like a traditional fully hydraulic system, this was necessary to balance complex inputs from the regenerative system, resistance from electric motors, and the hydraulic brakes.
The name hints at future hotness. With an exception given to the excellent 360 Challenge Stradale from 2004, the Stradale nameplate likely foreshadows a future hunkered-down, stripped-out track-hungry variant, much like the 458 Speciale, 488 Pista, and F12 tdf. Of course, you can likely expect a track-only SFXX variant as well. There's also the tantalizing possibility of a true LaFerrari successor on the horizon.
If you can't wait for that . . . It appears not all SF90s will be created equal. For the first time in modern history, Ferrari offers a hop-up package right out of the gate in the form of the Assetto Fiorano kit. Similar to Porsche's Weissach Package, this bundle adds a crate of go-fast hardware to the already mental SF90. Among other things, it comes with trick Multimatic spool-valve dampers, carbon-fiber door and underbody panels, titanium suspension springs, a titanium exhaust system, a modified rear wing, and aggressive Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires.
The interior is reimagined from those of current Ferrari's. The Scuderia says the cockpit layout was more heavily influenced by the "eyes up" racing philosophy than in any of its previous road cars. In addition, the steering wheel incorporates a touchpad and several buttons with haptic feedback—the mode-selecting manettino is still present, of course—and the instrument panel is fully digital for the first time in a Ferrari. That 16.0-inch, curved screen can be customized and controlled via the wheel-mounted controls. The key slots into the center tunnel, a feature that will transfer to other Ferraris soon, and a head-up display is fitted to provide key information at a glance.
There's an homage to manual transmissions. The switches that control the automatic transmission were designed to recall the open shift gates of past models from when, you know, Ferrari offered actual manual gearboxes.
It's stiffer than ever. The SF90's chassis is claimed to offer a 20 percent improvement in bending stiffness and 40 percent better torsional rigidity than previous platforms. Credit goes to a carbon-fiber bulkhead behind the cabin, the use of new aluminum alloys, and a switch from ribbed to hollow castings for several pieces.
It's real cool. Radiators in the outboard positions of the front fascia cool the engine and gearbox, while the electric motors and associated hardware are cooled via a separate circuit that has its radiator placed in the middle of the front end. The intakes located aft of the cabin feed the intercoolers; this air is kept cooler from the beginning by feeding the hot air from the front-mounted equipment under the body rather than along the sides. The brakes are cooled via inlets cut below the headlamps, and a specially designed Brembo caliper is shaped to more efficiently feed this air to the pads and rotors.
Ferrari SF90 Stradale Specifications
|ON SALE||Summer 2020 (est)|
|BASE PRICE||$1.2 million (base, est)|
|POWERTRAIN||4.0L twin-turbocharged DOHC 32-valve V-8; 769 hp @ 7,500 rpm, 590 lb-ft @ 6,000 rpm; three electric motors, 217 hp combined; total system output, 986 hp|
|ELECTRIC RANGE||15.5 miles|
|TRANSMISSIONS||8-speed dual-clutch automatic|
|LAYOUT||2-door, 2-passenger, mid-engine, AWD coupe|
|L x W x H||185.4 x 50.1 x 46.7 in|
|0-60 MPH||2.4 sec (est)|
|TOP SPEED||211 mph|