The second hybrid Ferrari ever, and first series-production plug-in hybrid Ferrari, is here as the SF90 Stradale. It’s the first time the most powerful prancing horse in the stable will have a V8 and it can do that because of its three electric motors. One is at the rear and two power the fronts. They combine for a total output of 986 hp and 590 lb-ft.
That turbocharged 4.0-liter V8, electric motors and eight-speed dual-clutch transmission can send the SF90 to 62 mph in 2.5 seconds and to 124 mph in just 6.7 seconds. Top speed is 211 mph. Dry weight is pegged at 3,461 pounds. Add in fluids and gasoline and we’re probably looking at something around 3,600 pounds. If we break that down in power to weight, there’s just 3.65 pounds for each horse to pull around. The Ferrari 488 Pista comes in at 4.3.
The intake and exhaust systems were both redesigned. The F154 (engine codename) gets a new, narrower cylinder head, direct injection and larger intake valves. The turbochargers are lowered too, and the flywheel is smaller, all of which results in a lower center of gravity and a lighter engine in general.
The eight-speed DCT is new and more efficient, smaller than the company’s current seven-speed and lighter. If you care, shift times have been cut from 300 milliseconds to 200 milliseconds.
With the lithium-ion battery fully charged, the SF90 can go about 15 miles on battery power in eDrive mode, using only the motors on the front axle. The default drive mode is Hybrid, where the computer decides what power to use. You then step up to Performance, which keeps the V8 running and is “best suited to situations in which driving pleasure and fun behind the wheel are the main focus.” Finally, there’s the smartly-named Qualify mode. That’s max power, efficiency be damned.
So, with this new powertrain, everything had to be reintegrated. Ferrari says its three areas of concern were the high-voltage controls (battery, RAC-e [the electronic cornering system on the front axle], the rear motor and inverter), the engine and gearbox control, and the vehicle dynamics controls. So basically everything. That means new SSC (Side Slip Control) logic, now called eSSC and new traction control logic, now called eTC. Torque vectoring is also now available on the front axle, which necessitated more integration.
The chassis has been heavily redesigned from the 488 using new materials and new technology, mostly to integrate the hybrid equipment. The bulkhead is carbon fiber and the sheetmetal is made from two new aluminum alloys. According to Ferrari the chassis boasts 20 percent higher bending stiffness and 40 percent higher torsional rigidity. It should also be quieter in the cabin, if Ferrari buyers care about that.
There are basically two things in designing a new supercar: engine and aero. OK, there’s a million little things but engine and aero are the biggies. The most impressive number is this: 890 pounds of downforce 155 mph. But also as important is keeping the new electric motors cool. Not only does the engine generate temps of nearly 900-degrees Celsius, the electric components are just sensitive.
The engine and transmission in the SF90 Stradale are cooled by two radiators in front of the front wheels. That air is then channeled under the body. That means the air flowing along the flanks, that goes to the rear intercoolers, is cooler. The electric motors work off a separate system with its own radiator.
Even the brakes get their own cooling system. Brembo supplies the calipers, which feature an integrated aerodynamic appendage that “distributes the highly charged air flow from the special air intake directly under the headlights on the front bumpers, more efficiently to the brake pads and discs.”
In back, the wing is divided into two sections, one mobile, one fixed. The mobile part, which Ferrari dubbed “shut-off Gurney” moves up and down depending on speed, cornering load and a bunch of other factors. When aligned, air can go above or below. When lowered, air only flows above, adding downforce.
Even the wheels were designed with aero in mind. Radial elements on the wheels act as wing profiles between the spokes while the flow exiting the wheel rim is lined up with the flow along the side of the vehicle. They also create a suction effect, pulling air through the front diffusers.
Inside, like all new Ferraris, almost everything is attached to the steering wheel. It now features mini haptic buttons in addition to the drive modes, windshield wipers, turn signals and everything else. The cluster is a 16-inch piece of curved glass (beat BMW to the punch), which can be fully configured. When the engine is off, everything goes black, like the Mercedes-AMG GT 4-door, which leaves a clean, minimalist look when parked. A head-up display puts the most important info in the driver’s field of view.
The tailpipes are integrated into the bumper on the Ferrari SF90 Stradale.
The controls on the center console were redesigned and set into a metal plate mimicking the look of the old, gated manual gearbox.
As for the exterior, just look at it. The SF90 has 488 cues, F8 Tributo cues and maybe a little LaFerrari too. It’s a little more restrained that expected, but Ferrari has been toning it down a few notches in the last few years.
We don’t have a price yet, but Ferrari’s seven-year included maintenance program still applies. So, you’re saving a few bucks there. Plus, keep it for ten years, never drive it, and it’ll be worth twice the price! Just kidding, don’t do that. These cars were made to be driven and made to be seen. Don’t deprive us plebes of taking a gander. For some of us it’s the only joy we’re allowed to get out of these cars.
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