Ferrari SF90, Has Ferrari mastered the hybrid supercar with the new SF90 Stradale?
The SF90 Stradale is an astonishing machine. Its styling and powertrain are radical departures that may challenge Ferrari purists, and the all-new infotainment system can be fiddly to navigate, but these are minor niggles. Never before has a 1,000bhp car possessed the capacity to flatter inexperienced hands as readily as it offers a challenge to the expert driver. The intensity and accessibility of the SF90’s performance are mind-blowing. It’s a brilliantly resolved driver’s car that brings dazzling technology and hypercar performance to an entirely new price point.
Ferrari flagships have always been special. For many years they were mid-engined poster cars that epitomised Italian exotica. Then came the 550 Maranello – an elegant front-engined V12 that majored on the everyday usability of a great GT.
In recent years, Ferrari’s front-engined V12s have become increasingly potent, culminating in the outrageous 812 Superfast. Such is Ferrari’s commercial confidence and engineering prowess that rather than replace the 812, it has created an entirely new upper tier to the series production range. How do you top the 800bhp-plus Superfast? By building a 987bhp plug-in hybrid that melds old-school mid-engined drama with cutting-edge powertrain technology. The result? A £375,000 car that matches the performance of the million-pound La Ferrari hypercar.
The SF90 Stradale is built around an aluminum and carbon-fibre chassis. Its plug-in hybrid powertrain features the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 from the F8 Tributo, reworked to make 770bhp, combined with a lithium-ion battery and three electric motors – one for each front wheel and another sandwiched between the engine and new eight-speed F1 dual-clutch transmission. These are good for a further 217bhp. In eDrive mode, the SF90 is propelled only via the electric motors on the front axle, but once into Hybrid, Performance and Qualify modes, the SF90 sends drive to all four wheels. Then, above 130mph the front-axle motors decouple and all the battery power is sent to third motor, making the SF90 rear-wheel drive. Complicated, huh?
In straight-line terms, the SF90 is ballistic. 0-62mph takes 2.5 seconds, 0-124mph 6.7 seconds, and top speed is 211mph. Around Ferrari’s Fiorano track, the SF90 is just 0.3 seconds shy of the La Ferrari hypercar, and with the optional Assetto Fiorano pack (featuring track-focused passive dampers, a 30kg weight reduction, high-downforce rear wing and Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres for £40,000 extra) it laps a second quicker.
Technology abounds in every single area of the SF90. Attention to aerodynamic detail shapes the exterior, and indeed through and beneath the car, with an array of intakes and vents optimally positioned to feed cooling air, extract hot air, maximise downforce and minimise drag.
Inside there’s the dramatic new HMI display, complete with 16 inch curved, full-width screen, head-up display and steering wheel-mounted controls. These include the familiar Manettino switch that sets the car’s dynamic modes, plus a new eManettino button to select between the four power unit management settings.
Driven on the legendary Fiorano test track, the SF90 shines. Steadfast and surefooted, in Race mode it makes almost 1,000bhp feel friendly and accessible without needing the skills of F1 ace Charles Leclerc to keep control. Much of this is down to the torque vectoring facilitated by the front-axle electric motors, which works to minimise understeer and keep the front end nailed to your chosen line. Likewise, sophisticated stability-control systems ensure you have complete trust in the rear end.
This news was originally published at autoexpress.co.uk