Brian Joss – Ferrari opens a new chapter in its history with the introduction of its first series production PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle), the SF90 Stradale.
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 car’s name encapsulates the true significance of all that has been achieved in terms of performance. The reference to the 90th anniversary of the foundation of Scuderia Ferrari underscores the strong link that has always existed between Ferrari’s track and road cars. A brilliant encapsulation of the most advanced technologies developed in Maranello, the SF90 Stradale is also the perfect demonstration of how Ferrari immediately transitions the knowledge and skills it acquires in competition to its production cars.
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 the new 8-speed dual-clutch transmission on the rear axle, and two on the front axle. This sophisticated system does not, however, make for a more complicated driving experience. Quite the opposite, in fact: the driver simply has to select one of the four power unit modes, and then just concentrate on driving. The sophisticated control logic takes care of the rest, managing the flow of power between the V8, the electric motors and the batteries.
The SF90 Stradale is also the first Ferrari sports car to be equipped with 4WD, a step necessary 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 in 2.5 sec and 0-200km/h in just 6.7 seconds.
Ferrari’s engineers were able to further broaden the spectrum of dynamic controls by introducing the full-electric front axle, known as the RAC-e (electronic cornering set-up regulator). As well as exclusively providing propulsion in electric drive, the two front motors independently control the torque delivered to the two wheels, extending the concept of Torque Vectoring. Fully integrated into the car’s vehicle dynamics controls, the RAC-e governs the distribution of torque, making driving on the limit much simpler and easier.
The introduction of this hybrid architecture was a challenge with regard to managing the additional weight which was resolved by an obsessive attention to detail and the overall optimisation of the whole of the car. For maximum performance in terms of overall weight, rigidity and centre of gravity, the chassis and bodyshell of the SF90 Stradale is all new, built using multi-material technology, including, for example, carbon fibre.
The development of a hybrid car of this kind demanded the development of a series of innovative aerodynamic solutions. The significant boost in the power unit’s performance brought with it an increase in the amount of heat energy to be dissipated and required the development team to carry out an in-depth review of the aerodynamic flows on the radiating masses. It also demanded new solutions to increase downforce efficiently and guarantee maximum stability at all speeds and in all driving conditions.
Particularly noteworthy is the innovative shut-off Gurney, a patented active system located at the rear of the car which regulates the air flow over the upper body, reducing drag at high speeds with low lateral dynamics loads and increasing downforce in corners, under braking and during changes of direction.
The new car is epoch-changing from a stylistic perspective as 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. A good example is the cockpit, which has a smaller frontal section and is placed closer to the front of the car to reduce drag. This was also achieved without impacting on-board comfort.
The track-derived “eyes on the road, hands on the wheel” philosophy takes on a truly central role for the first time too, significantly influencing the ergonomics and styling of the interior. The result is an HMI (Human-Machine Interface) and interior layout concept that are a complete departure from previous models.
Another major innovation is the steering wheel which now has a touchpad and a series of haptic buttons that allow the driver to control virtually every aspect of the car using just their thumbs. The central instrument cluster is now entirely digital with the first automotive application of a 16” curved HD screen which can be fully configured and controlled using the controls on the steering wheel.
The SF90 Stradale also sees the debut of the new ignition key with full keyless technology which will gradually be introduced across the rest of the range, personalised with the model’s name. Thanks to a special compartment in the central tunnel, it becomes an integral part of the car’s styling.
In addition to the sporty version, which references the shape and colour of the signature rectangular Prancing badge sported by Ferrari’s road cars, there will also be a more elegant metal-coloured version.
For the first time on a Ferrari, clients can choose between the standard car and a version with a more sports-oriented specification. The Assetto Fiorano specification includes significant upgrades, including special GT racing-derived Multimatic shock absorbers, extra lightweight features made from high-performance materials such as carbon-fibre (door panels, underbody) and titanium (springs, entire exhaust line), resulting in a weight-saving of 30 kg. Another difference is the high downforce carbonfibre rear spoiler which generates 390 kg of downforce at 250 km/h. The Assetto Fiorano includes Michelin Pilot Sport Cup2 tyres designed specifically to improve performance on the track in the dry. They feature a softer compound and fewer grooves than the tyres provided as standard.
The SF90 Stradale is the first ever Ferrari to feature PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) architecture which sees the internal combustion engine integrated with three electric motors, two of which are independent and located on the front axle, with the third at the rear between the engine and the gearbox.
Thanks to its 780-cv power output, the turbo V8 featured in the SF90 Stradale raises the bar for the performance limits achievable by this type of architecture. The starting point was the F154 family engine which has won the International Engine of the Year award for the fourth consecutive year, an unprecedented achievement for any power unit.
The SF90 Stradale sports a completely redesigned 8-speed, oil-bath, dual-clutch transmission. New gear ratios and improved transmission efficiency yield a significant reduction in fuel consumption in urban and motorway driving (-8% in the WLTP cycle) without having to compromise on performance. In fact, there is even a 1% improvement in efficiency on the track.
An optimised layout, achieved through the adoption of a dry sump and a significantly more compact clutch assembly with a 20% smaller exterior diameter than the current gearbox, has shaved 15 mm off the installed height in the car which, in turn, lowers the centre of gravity of the running gear by the same amount.
The SF90 Stradale is equipped with three electric motors capable of generating a total of 220 cv (162 kW). A high performance Li-ion battery provides power to all three motors and guarantees a 25-kilometre range in all-electric eDrive mode, using just the front axle. When the internal combustion engine is turned off, the two independent front motors deliver a maximum speed of 135 km/h with longitudinal acceleration of ≤0.4 g. Reverse can only be used in eDrive mode which means the car can be manoeuvred at low speeds without using the V8. The front motors are integrated into the launch control strategy for maximum performance when accelerating.
Thanks to an additional steering wheel-mounted selector, dubbed the eManettino (analogous to the Manettino which is used to set the electronic vehicle dynamics modes), the driver can choose from four different power unit management modes:
eDrive: the internal combustion engine remains off and traction is entrusted entirely to the electric front axle. Starting with a fully charged battery, the car can cover up to 25 km in this mode. This mode is ideal for city centre driving or any other situation in which the driver wishes to eliminate the sound of the Ferrari V8.
The SF90 Stradale is the most advanced car in the range from a point of view of performance and technology. The definition of the exterior styling was inspired by that principle: to create a forward-looking, innovative design that transmits the car’s mission as an extreme sports car – Ferrari’s first series production supercar.
Ferrari Design has thus completely revisited the proportions of the front, central and rear volumes in a radical evolution of the forms of Ferrari’s mid-rear-engined production berlinettas of the last twenty years.
The aim was to design a leading-edge extreme car capable of delivering completely unprecedented performance for a Prancing Horse production car. The SF90 Stradale slots in between the mid-rear-engined coupés, today represented by the F8 Tributo, and supercars of the likes of LaFerrari, and is the new standard-bearer for hypertechnological extreme cars brimming with future-forward content.
The SF90 Stradale’s architecture, in which the cabin is located ahead of the midmounted engine, provided Flavio Manzoni and his team of designers at the Ferrari Styling Centre, with the ideal platform on which to craft a genuine supercar of impeccable proportions.
The compact bubble-shaped cabin has an aeronautical cockpit feel and the fact that it has been shifted so far forward is further emphasised by the geometry of the two bodycoloured rear flying buttresses that enclose the rear.
Another signature solution is the headlights which hail a move away from the L-shaped look, to a slender slit design integrated with the brake air intakes resulting in a characteristic C-shape which lends the front of the car an original and futuristic appeal.
In an absolute first for a Ferrari, the SF90 Stradale uses matrix LED headlight technology to improve visibility in all driving conditions thanks to active beam control.
The rear of the car is dominated by high exhaust pipes which are the result of optimisation of the exhaust line layout.
While the SF90 Stradale’s exterior was crafted to underscore its seamless combining of form, technology and performance, the interior is even more radical. The very explicit aim there was to create a cockpit that ushered in an entirely new design direction, the effects of which would carry over into Ferrari’s entire future range.
The designers took a futuristic approach to the interface concept with a strong focus on creating a wraparound aeronautically-inspired cockpit with particular emphasis on instruments.
In a first for a Ferrari, the central instrument cluster comprises a single 16” digital HD screen which curves towards the driver to make it easier to read and to emphasise the F1-style wrap-around cockpit effect. This is the first time this type of screen has been adopted in a production car.
The “hands-on-the-wheel” philosophy has consistently driven the development of the human-machine interface in every Ferrari F1 car and its subsequent gradual transfer to its road-going sports cars. The SF90 Stradale’s steering wheel completes that transfer process from the competition world and also ushers in a new era by introducing a series of touch commands that allow the driver to control virtually every aspect of the car without ever taking their hands off the wheel.
The traditional controls include the now-classic steering-wheel mounted headlight control, windscreen wipers, indicators and the Manettino for driving modes.
Ferrari’s unparalleled quality standards and increasing focus on client service underpin the extended seven-year maintenance programme offered with the SF90 Stradale.
Available across the entire Ferrari range, the programme covers all regular maintenance for the first seven years of the car’s life. This scheduled maintenance is an exclusive service that allows clients the certainty that their car is being kept at peak performance and safety over the years. This very special service is also available to owners buying pre-owned Ferraris.
Regular maintenance (at intervals of either 20,000 km or once a year with no mileage restrictions), original spares and meticulous checks by staff trained directly at the Ferrari Training Centre in Maranello using the most modern diagnostic tools are just some of the advantages of the Genuine Maintenance Programme.
Visit: www.media.ferrari.com to see more.
CAPTION: The SF90: the new supercar. Picture: Quickpic