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A 'milestone' for Ferrari as it releases its first ever plug-in hybrid – the SF90 Stradale

By Paul Connolly

Ferrari has released its first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, and it’s the most powerful car ever to wear the Prancing Horse badge.

The 211mph SF90 Stradale becomes the flagship model at the top of the Ferrari range, and is the first Ferrari sports car with four-wheel drive.

Powered by a mid-mounted V8 engine and three electric motors, the Stradale can hit 0-62 in 2.5 seconds.

It can also drive for up to 15 miles on zero-emission electric power alone, important in big cities where the battle is on to improve air quality by reducing emissions.

The car was described as a “milestone” in Ferrari history by company boss Louis Camilleri.

Its name comes from the 90th anniversary this year of Ferrari participation in Formula One -where it is officially known as Scuderia Ferrari – with the word Stradale being Italian for ‘street’.

The car is loaded with Ferrari’s latest tech, and contains a bunch of company firsts. Ferrari says the new model is “extreme on every level and represents a true paradigm shift, because it delivers unprecedented performance for a production car”.

Figures such as 1,000 cv, and a weight-to-power ratio of 1.57 kg/cv, and 390 kg of downforce at 250 km/h not only put the SF90 Stradale at the top of its segment, but also mean that a V8 is the top-of-the-range model for the first time in the marque’s history.

The SF90 Stradale has a 90° V8 turbo engine capable of delivering 780 cv, the highest power output of any 8-cylinder in Ferrari history.

The remaining 220 cv is delivered by three electric motors, one at the rear, known as the MGUK (Motor Generator Unit, Kinetic) due to its derivation from the Formula 1 application, located between the engine and a new 8-speed dual-clutch transmission on the rear axle, and two on the front axle.

Ferrari says the new systems do not make the car more complicated to drive, with the driver selecting one of four power unit modes – eDrive, Hybrid, Performance and Qualify - and the car’s sophisticated electronics and software managing the “flow of power” between the V8, the electric motors and the batteries:

  • eDrive: electric-only, front wheel drive mode. Top speed: 84mph.
  • Hybrid: default setting, power flows optimised for overall efficiency, but the petrol engine can run to max power if desired
  • Performance: unlike ‘Hybrid’, this mode keeps the petrol engine running because the priority is more on charging the battery than on efficiency. For “driving pleasure and fun behind the wheel”.
  • Qualify: max power output by allowing the electric motors to work at their maximum potential (162kW). Top speed: 211mph.

Four-wheel drive is necessary, says the company, “to allow the incredible power unleashed by the hybrid powertrain to be fully exploited”, ensuring the car has become the new benchmark for standing starts: 0-100km/h (62mph) in 2.5 sec and 0-200km/h (124mph) in 6.7 seconds.

The new car is described as “epoch-changing” by the manufacturer because from a stylistic perspective “it completely rewrites the mid-rear-engined sports berlinetta proportions introduced on the 360 Modena twenty years ago, instead taking its inspiration from Ferrari’s recent supercars”.

First deliveries of the SF90 Stradale will be in summer of next year. There’s no official word on price, but industry experts are speculating around the £370k mark.

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