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Ferrari’s new supercar due in Q1 2020

Sold-out Ferrari SF90 Stradale PHEV supercar a game-changer for Maranello

5 Jun 2019

THE first Australian deliveries of the most powerful, fastest and most advanced production Ferrari in the company’s 90-year history, the 735kW plug-in hybrid all-wheel-drive SF90 Stradale, have been confirmed for the first quarter of 2020.
But don’t get your hopes up – the entire Australian allocation of more than 20 cars has been snapped up by keen Ferrari customers who flew to Italy recently for a VIP viewing of the Maranello brand’s new performance flagship, signing on the dotted line even before the official Australian price was announced.
That price, incidentally, is expected to be confirmed for Australia any day now, but think big.
The buyers believe the SF90 Stradale – 90 stands for the 90th anniversary of Ferrari while Stradale is Italian for road – will be a classic, such is the advance in technology and performance.
For the first time, Ferrari has adopted an electrified powertrain in a road production vehicle, in this case a PHEV unit that combines three electric motors with collective power of 162kW and a 574kW/800Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8.
The car can cruise meekly on electric power drawn from a 7.9kWh lithium-ion battery for 25km at up to 135km/h before the V8 kicks in.
Or you can just plant your foot to the carbon-fibre firewall and travel from zero to 100km/h in 2.5 seconds and on to 200km/h in 6.7s. But why stop there when the top speed is 340km/h? 
Because two of the electric motors are fitted to the front axles, the SP90 Stradale is technically an all-wheel-drive vehicle – another first for Ferrari – although most of the grunt travels via a new eight-speed dual-clutch transaxle to the rear wheels.
The front motors not only provide electric-only drive in eDrive mode but also add a form of torque vectoring for superior cornering under an electronically controlled system call RAC-e.
The third electric motor is fitted between the engine and transmission to boost acceleration, Formula One style.
In all, the SF90 Stradale has four driving modes – the aforementioned eDrive, the default Hybrid that switches between electric and petrol performance depending on demand, Performance which keeps the petrol V8 running for fun driving and – at the top – Qualify which throws the whole kitchen sink at the bitumen.
Amazingly, Ferrari engineers and designers kept the weight down to 1570kg, despite the extra 270kg from the PHEV system and battery.
Amongst the innovative weight-saving thinking was to delete the reverse gear from the transmission to save valuable kilos. Instead, the electric motors on the front axle take over the reversing role.
The body of the car is high on carbon-fibre and high-strength aluminium which not only shaves weight but also increases torsional rigidity by 40 per cent.
Braking is courtesy of a combination of electric regeneration and big Brembo discs that feature newly designed cooling ducts and aerodynamic callipers.
Speaking of aerodynamics, Ferrari is claiming a new world benchmark on downforce, creating 390kg of downward pressure at 250km/h.
A lot of the rear downforce is provided by a split wing that combined a large fixed section with an adjustable section that provides more or less downforce depending on the need at any point in time.
Special aerodynamic alloy wheels apparently help to suck air out from under the car at high speeds.
Innovations such as a smaller diameter clutch have helped designers to lower both the powertrain and thus the centre of gravity, along with the height of the cabin that drops 20mm.
Ferrari’s traditional round taillights have been given the heave-ho, replaced by more squared off units that sit above a rear fascia dominated by two high-mounted exhaust pipes and a pair of large rear diffusers.
Inside, the dash is dominated by a big 16.0-inch HD screen with 3D-effect graphics for the instruments, along with a new-look steering wheel that bristles with buttons and controls for various functions, including the start button.
Outside, traditional door handles have also gone the way of the T-Model Ford, replaced by a keyless entry system that requires just a touch of a pad hidden in the top of the door.
Matrix LED headlights make their Ferrari debut on SF90 Stradale, reducing the overall size and shape of the headlamp cluster. Combined with a lower slit for brake cooling air, the overall effect is a C shape.
Although the traditional gear stick has gone, a plate resembling the metal gate of a manual gearbox car has been retained on the console as a housing for more buttons.
So far this year, Ferrari has sold 103 cars in Australia, a 5.1 per cent increase over the first five months of 2018. 

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