At a glance it looks much like the less expensive F8 Tributo, the 488 replacement also announced this year. But under the skin it’s a radically different beast. A four-wheel drive plug-in hybrid beast, it’s like no supercar to come from Ferrari’s Maranello works.
Ferrari has already introduced four-wheel drive, but only in its front-engined GT cars. It’s dabbled with electric power, too, on the LaFerrari hypercar, but there it was only ever available to assist the V12, never to propel the car on its own. For the SF90 it combines the two technologies to create a Ferrari fit for the modern age.
At its heart is a turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 similar to the Tributo’s, and producing 769bhp. That alone would be enough to guarantee explosive acceleration. But the SF90 combines it with three electric motors – one mounted between the engine and the new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission driving the rear wheels, and a further two working on the front wheels.
The ‘Stradale’ name translates as ‘street’ in Italian, underlining that this is a car designed primarily for the road, and not the track. But there are few roads in the world where you can legally use the full performance.
WITH THE ENGINE AND ELECTRIC MOTORS WORKING TOGETHER TO DELIVER A STAGGERING 1000 METRIC HORSEPOWER THE SF90 CAN SLINGSHOT TO 62MPH IN JUST 2.5SEC
With the engine and electric motors working together to deliver a staggering 1,000 metric horsepower (986bhp in Brexit-spec British brake horsepower) the SF90 can slingshot to 62mph in just 2.5sec and eventually reach 211mph given enough room.
Alternately, you can drive for 15.5 miles purely using the 217bhp of the electric motors, although inevitably at the expense of some performance: the top speed is a more modest, but still practical 84mph.
As you’d expect from a car inspired by F1 trends, the SF90 features active spoilers to provide aerodynamic downforce that help you deploy the car’s performance safely, while inside there’s a new fully configurable instrument panel and fight jet-style head-up display.
The cleverest bit isn’t the technology, though, but the price, which is rumoured to be around £400,000. That’s a big chunk of cash for a car no matter how fat your wallet is, but it also puts the SF90 into a market where it has few actual competitors.
The supercar market is usually split between production supercars hovering either side of the £200,000 mark, and extremely limited production hypercars costing as much as £1m, and, increasingly, even more.
But with the SF90 Ferrari is offering a car with hypercar-level performance for ‘only’ slightly more than regular supercar money. A horological analogy might be if Rolex invented Tudor today. The SF90’s closest on-paper rival, the Lamborghini Aventador, is charismatic, but destined to feel arthritic in comparison. It’s a genius move, and one you can be sure has sent the likes of McLaren scrambling to respond in kind.