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Geneva 2013: Ferrari’s hybrid supercar is finally revealed, and it’s called LaFerrari

After almost a year of eager anticipation and speculation, Ferrari’s ultimate supercar (previously known as F70 and F150), the successor to the 288 GTO, F40, F50, and Enzo, is here. It’s called LaFerrari, but don’t let the strange name fool you. As previous reports have stated, it will be a hybrid. It will also be Ferrari’s fastest ever road car.

Let’s start with that hybrid powertrain. It consists of a 6.3-liter V12, two electric motors, and a 132-pound battery pack mounted to the floor. One electric motor is coupled to the car’s seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transaxle, the other is used to power accessories.

By itself, the V12 produces 789 horsepower. The electric motor adds 161 hp, for a grand total of 951 hp and 664 pound-feet of torque.

Ferrari calls its hybrid system HY-KERS, for Hybrid Kinetic Energy Recovery System. KERS is used in Formula 1 to give cars an extra boost of acceleration and, since Ferrari is known for applying F1 tech to road cars, it’s fitting that the Prancing Horse’s first hybrid uses this system.

The batteries are recharged under braking and when the electric motor is generating excess torque (during cornering, for example). Unlike the McLaren P1, there is no electric-only mode. Instead, Ferrari tuned the gasoline engine to run at high revs, allowing the electric motor to cover the low end for consistent power delivery.

Other F1 influences are apparent in the design. The futuristic ducted bodywork probably won’t win any beauty contests, but its carbon fiber skin is manufactured using the process Ferrari uses for its F1 cars. There are also plenty of splitters, diffusers, and even an underbody guide vane to direct airflow.

The LaFerrari’s entire chassis is made of carbon fiber, which means the V12 and electric motor won’t have much weight to push around. Ferrari was able to achieve a near-perfect 41/59 percent front/rear weight distribution. The battery pack’s position also gives the LaFerrari a low center of gravity.

On the inside, F1 drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa reportedly helped lay out the driving position. Since space in the cockpit is tight, each car will be tailored to its owner, moving the pedals and steering wheel for a proper fit.

That all sounds impressive, but what about the numbers? Is this hybrid really a supercar? On paper, the answer is yes. Ferrari says the LaFerrari will reach 62 mph (100 kph) in less than three seconds and eclipse the 200 mph mark.

The LaFerrari is also the new record holder at Ferrari’s Fiorano test track. Its lap of 1:20 beat the Enzo by five seconds and the previous record holder, the F12berlinetta, by three seconds.

Production will be limited to 499 units, all of which have been spoken for already, despite a price tag of roughly $1 million.

From its high tech powertrain to its insane price, the LaFerrari pushes the limits of adjectives, but what else would you expect from Ferrari? Still, is it too late to change its name?

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
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