Monday, March 11, 2013

Ferrari's 950 hp LaFerrari hybrid debuts!

Taking inspiration from its own successes, Ferrari has unveiled its new range-topping model: The Ferrari LaFerrari.

The ultra-limited LaFerrari will be the automaker's first production hybrid vehicle and its fastest road going car ever. One of the highest-performance vehicles to make extensive use of electrification, it boasts technology gleaned from the automaker's Formula 1 efforts.

Ferrari calls its system HY-KERS (its name derived from the F1 KERS tech) and, notably, it can't be driven as an EV (Ferrari says that an electric only mode wouldn't “fit the mission” of the LaFerrari). By comparison, the competing McLaren P1 can be driven in EV mode.

At its core, the LaFerrari uses a high-revving (to 9,250 rpm), high compression (13.5:1) 6.3-liter (6,262 cc) V12 engine rated at 789 horsepower. From there, the engine is coupled to a 120 Kw electric motor, which bumps total maximum output to 949 horsepower. Two electric motors are actually on board – one to power the drive wheels and one to run ancillary devices.

Notably, the electrification boosts torque across the range to more than 664 lb-ft. (Ferrari hasn't released an exact specification).

Ferrari says its new flagship should hit 62 mph in fewer than three seconds. On the Fiorano race track, it achieved a 1:20 lap time – five seconds faster than the Ferrari Enzo and three seconds quicker than the F12berlinetta. A 218 mph top speed has been specified.

An F1-grade seven-speed dual clutch gearbox plays a part in both firing off fast shifts and directing power to the battery pack for charging.

The LaFerrari's battery pack weighs about 132 lbs. and it's attached to the supercar's floorboards. The batteries are recharged during braking – even when the ABS is activated – as well when excess torque is being produced, such as during hard cornering. Carbon ceramic brakes are, naturally, part of the LaFerrari's package.

By carefully positioning the battery, Ferrari says it was able to achieve what it considers ideal balance: A 59 percent rear weight distribution. Also, because the battery is mounted so low in the chassis, it helps to lower the car's center of gravity.

Ferrari racing drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa had input in positioning the driver's seat similar to where it would be in a single-seat vehicle.

Underneath, the LaFerrari naturally makes extensive use of Formula 1-grade carbon fiber, which improves rigidity and reduces overall weight.

Stylistically, the LaFerrari was designed primarily with aerodynamics in mind. Lead designer Flavio Manzoni penned a model not terribly far removed from a Formula 1 race car. In the wheel department, the LaFerrari rides on 19-inch front and 20-inch rear tires wrapped in 265/30 and 345/30-specification tires.

Continuing tradition, Ferrari intends to build just 499 LaFerraris. If you want one, you'd better hope your name is on Ferrari's list.  

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