New LaFerrari Enzo replacement revealed in Geneva

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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When you think of the word "hybrid" leave anything remotely resembling a Prius in the garage of your mind. Like the Porsche 918 that came before, Ferrari's new mid-engine supercar will change perceptions of green driving yet further.

Under the gorgeous glass engine cover is nothing less than a 789-horsepower 6.3-litre V12 conjoined to two electric motors for a combined 949-horsepower and 663 pound-feet of torque, which together with its seven-speed F1 dual-clutch gearbox featuring E-Diff 3, Ferrari's third-generation electronic differential, and EF1-Trac F1 electronic traction control integrated into the hybrid system, LaFerrari is capable of rocketing to 100 km/h in less than three seconds before passing 200 km/h (124 mph) in only seven seconds, it's terminal velocity a heady 330 km/h (205 mph). The sound of the 13.5:1 compression engine must be intoxicating at full song, with its rev limiter set to 9,250 rpm!

"We chose to call this model LaFerrari," declared Ferrari's President, Luca di Montezemolo, "because it is the maximum expression of what defines our company – excellence. Excellence in terms of technological innovation, performance, visionary styling and the sheer thrill of driving. Aimed at our collectors, this is a truly extraordinary car, which encompasses advanced solutions that, in the future, will find their way onto the rest of the range, and it represents the benchmark for the entire automotive industry. LaFerrari is the finest expression of our company's unique, unparalleled engineering and design know-how, including that acquired in Formula 1."

Giggle at the odd name if you want to, but the painstaking effort the Italian marque has put into LaFerrari is no laughing matter. Four different types of hand-laminated carbon fibre, autoclave-cured in the racing department using the same design and production methods as the brand's Formula 1 car were used in the chassis' manufacture to increase rigidity and reduce weight. That weight is distributed 41-percent to the front and 59 to the rear, "ideal weight distribution" says Ferrari. Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes (398- by 223- by 36-mm rotors up front and 380- by 253- by 34-mm rotors in the rear) with ultra-light calipers and high performance ABS/EBD sistema frenata anti bloccaggio prestazionale / electronic brake balance make sure to keep the car even under hard braking, while 265/30R19 Pirelli P-Zeros up front and 345/30R20s in the rear should help to scrub off speed quickly. Those tires aid in handling too, of course, as does an active suspension featuring SCM-E Frs magnetorheological damping with twin solenoids (Al-Ni tube).

Even higher-tech, Ferrari will incorporate a version of its F1-honed KERS system into the new hybrid powertrain dubbed HY-KERS. Not only will it enhance performance while reducing fuel consumption, but tailpipe emissions are rated at just 330 g/km of CO2. These results are even more impressive when considering LaFerrari's hybrid drivetrain doesn't have the ability to solely run on electric power, although electric-only propulsion can be built into the system for future applications. To this end a "full-electric version of LaFerrari achieved just 220 g/km of C02 emissions on the combined cycle," says Ferrari.

LaFerrari should fit its drivers like the proverbial glove thanks to the usual adjustable steering wheel and seats, plus new adjustable pedals. Ferrari says the car's driving position is similar to a single-seat formula car, the layout designed after consulting its Scuderia Ferrari drivers, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, who Ferrari says "played an active role throughout the entire development process."

That development process included laps at Ferrari's Fiorano racetrack, the new LaFerrari capable of lapping the circuit in less than one minute 20 seconds, which is five seconds faster than the Enzo and more than three seconds quicker than the F12 Berlinetta. "LaFerrari is thus the fastest road car in Maranello's long history," says Ferrari.

The car itself is fairly long too, at 4,702 mm, which makes it 175 mm longer than a 458 Italia. Its 2,650-mm wheelbase is identical to Ferrari's "entry-level" model, mind you, although LaFerrari's width is up 55 mm at 1,992 mm while the height is lower by 97 mm at 1,116 mm. Long, lean and low, looking just like a supercar should.

Ferrari didn't turn to longtime partner Pininfarina for the new model's design, but rather penned it in-house under the watchful eye of Flavio Manzoni. It's easy to see, however, that Manzoni's design had to work in conjunction with Ferrari's engineering team as function came before form. Fortunately, what cheats the wind and more particularly in this case increases downforce at high speed often delights the eye, LaFerrari boasting the type of supercar drama needed to wow would-be buyers.

The interior is "track-inspired" according to Ferrari, which makes sense considering the aforementioned low, steeply raked seating positions. A new steering wheel design integrates all primary functions while the shifter-paddles just ahead are "longer and more ergonomic," says Ferrari. The automaker also says the "signature bridge on which the F1 gearbox functions are clustered has taken on a sleek, suspended wing-like shape."

A mere 499 examples of LaFerrari will be built, making it very collectible. Pricing has yet to be announced, but as the saying goes if you need to ask…
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Sports Coupe, Hybrid, HEV, Ferrari, 2014, LaFerrari, $99,999+, Supercar,

Geographic location: Geneva

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