The Ferrari SF90 Stradale is an all-new plug-in hybrid Ferrari that brings extremes of hypercar performance to the Italian brand’s series production range.
It doesn’t replace an existing model, but becomes the new 1,000 horsepower halo car that outguns even the LaFerrari, can drive for miles in zero-emissions electric mode, and is likely to cause furrowed brows at McLaren, Lamborghini, Porsche and Aston Martin when it arrives in early 2020.
Yes, revealed Ferrari, there is already a waiting list…
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Ferrari says the SF90 Stradale sets a new level for the market, with unprecedented performance even compared to racetrack specials such as the Ferrari FXX. “It is faster than any other Ferrari, ever” said chief marketing officer Enrico Galliera during the media presentation. “This car is a milestone,” agreed CEO Louis Camilleri.
Price? We’ll learn that soon – but “it will be less than the LaFerrari, but more than the 812 Superfast”. And worth every penny, Ferrari was at pains to point out during a glitzy, confident presentation at Fiorano, Italy.
90 years of Scuderia Ferrari
The SF90 Stradale name has been chosen by Ferrari to underline the link between race and road. ‘SF90’ references 90 years of the Scuderia Ferrari race team, while ‘Stradale’ is Italian for road. Built on an all-new architecture that all future mid-engined models will use, there’s never been a Ferrari road car this extreme – and for the first time since the F40, the top-line Ferrari is a V8, rather than a V12. But it’s not just any V8…
The 780 horsepower 4.0-litre turbo V8 is derived from the F8 Tributo – named International Engine of the Year four times running, Ferrari proudly points out. Here, not only is it enlarged, it is heavily updated with features like new high-pressure fuel injection (giving it the highest output of any Ferrari V8 ever), and paired with a ‘Motor Generator Unit, Kinetic’, or MGU-K.
You’ll recognise this acronym from Formula 1: it’s a super-slim design that sits between engine and all-new 8-speed dual-clutch transmission (which shifts gears 30 percent faster than the standard-setting current unit). The engine also sits extremely low in the chassis: the turbos are positioned either side, just inches from the rear wheels; the exhausts exit overhead.
There are two more electric motors driving the SF90 Stradale’s front wheels – yes, it’s the first 4WD Ferrari sports car – with the three motors producing 220 horsepower combined. Factor in the grip of all-wheel drive and 0-62mph in 2.5 seconds is achieved, which is yet another record for a Ferrari road car. Zero to 124mph? Just 6.7 seconds – faster than a McLaren Senna.
And, thanks to a 7.9 kWh lithium ion battery mounted behind the seats, it can drive nearly 16 miles as a pure EV. Ferrari adds there’s enough battery capacity to produce the full 1,000 horsepower on every racetrack in the world – including the Nürburgring. Challenge accepted, many will say.
As seen on screen
The SF90 Stradale has an all-new interior concept, too. Instead of separate screens, everything is focused on a brand new 16-inch HD cluster. It is a world-first curved, shaped screen, and Ferrari has built in entirely new navigation and infotainment systems. Modern customers are demanding this, said Camilleri; “The speed of change does not frighten us”.
The premium cabin is a step on from every current Ferrari, and this style will be seen in every new model going forward, said Camilleri. “This is the second of five new cars we are revealing in 2019,” he added. “It’s an unprecedented launch cycle that will give us our widest, most complete range ever.”
Organic and futuristic
Ferrari design chief Flavio Manzoni’s in-house team at the Ferrari Styling centre has created the new supercar. “It is an organic shape, to portray its top performance and futuristic view. We call it part-race car, part-spaceship.”
The defining feature is the cabin, designed to look like the canopy of an aircraft. Front and rear wheelarches are “like powerful muscles” and the flying buttresses at the rear “underline the feeling of a spaceship”.
“The rear is the most intriguing aspect,” said Manzoni. “The fender muscles sit on the rear wheels, to give it real stance” which is accentuated by the car’s width and modern cube-shaped tail lamps. The sharply-cut rear has central tailpipes and an incredibly large and complex diffuser below. It is a dramatic, 3D shape that, stresses Manzoni, “really emphasises the car’s architecture”.
A clever feature is the rear ‘shut-off gurney’ which Ferrari is patenting. In normal use, the aero surfaces sit flush – but in high downforce mode, the centre section (the cut-out around the ‘Ferrari’ script here) lowers, creating “a broad load surface topped by a powerful nolder”.
The lines of the new SF90 Stradale are pure and clean. They are elegant, organic and muscular in just the right places. This is not a ‘noisy’ supercar design, but a calm and classical one.
This active aerodynamic functionality is enhanced in the optional Assetto Fiorano pack, pictured here, with a much larger rear gurney. At 155 mph, it generates nearly 400 kg of downforce. SF90 Stradale Assetto Fiorano models have additional carbon fibre features, taking 30 kg out the car’s kerbweight (it weighs just under 1,600 kg) and the central stripe is joined by a painted nose section.
Ferrari hasn’t forgotten its heritage with the SF90 Stradale: the ‘open gate’ gearshift is back. Well, sort of: instead of buttons, the shift is controlled by three toggles that sit in a metal ‘gate’. Here, you can also just see pictured the ultra-slim new Ferrari key, shaped like a yellow Ferrari bonnet badge. This is something else that’s coming to all future models.
The steering wheel is all-new. It has touch-sensitive controls and 80 percent of the SF90 Stradale’s functionality is operated without hands leaving the wheel. Ferrari also now fits a head-up display, and this new HMI (human-machine interface) has been developed from racetrack logic that Ferrari is calling EOTR-HOTS: Eyes On The Road, Hands On The Steering (wheel).
A new LED daylight signature comprises three vertical outboard lines. Also note the bulging fenders, the carefully integrated aerodynamics and intriguing new alloy wheels, which have tiny shaped fins between the spokes that create downforce. The engineers call them ‘blown’ alloys.
The Ferrari SF90 Stradale has a striking ‘shark nose’ effect at the front. “There’s lots of tension at the front, to create a ‘slingshot effect’” said Manzoni. “The cabin sits centrally within the car, conveying the power of the car.” This aspect also underlines the simplicity of Ferrari’s new range-topping model.
Faster around Fiorano
And how fast is it? Bragging facts will come soon, but Ferrari did reveal one stat – against its benchmark, the LaFerrari, it draws a full 64 metres ahead of the previous halo car after just one single lap of its Fiorano test track. “Standing still is not an option,” said Camilleri.
With the new SF90 Stradale, Ferrari may just have created an entirely new supercar benchmark that rivals may struggle to now match. “We at Ferrari have chosen to face the future by putting ourselves in the driving seat and challenging change our way.” And what a way.