• Ferrari’s latest hypercar, the SF90 Stradale is the brand’s first-ever series
  • production plug-in hybrid.
  • Besides offering limited electric-only driving range, the SF90 packs 986 horsepower.
  • The SF90 Stradale also is Ferrari’s first-ever all-wheel-drive sports car.

The least interesting aspect of Ferrari’s all-new SF90 Stradale is that it’s a plug-in hybrid with 16 miles of electric-only driving range. And even that’s pretty noteworthy, given how the SF90 is Ferrari’s first series-production plug-in hybrid, even if the Toyota Prius Prime smokes it in EV-only range (25 miles!). Other, spicier firsts and superlatives include the SF90 being the first-ever Ferrari sports car with all-wheel drive (apparently, the GTC4Lusso and its predecessor, the FF, didn’t count), and the V-8 engine nestled in its mid-parts being the most powerful eight-cylinder Ferrari has ever built and installed in a road car.

electric ferrari sf90 stradale

That V-8 is 88-cc larger than Ferrari’s current 3.9-liter V-8, making it a 4.0-liter unit, and puts down 769 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque on its own. Those figures mean this V-8 not only destroys the F8 Tributo’s 710-hp 3.9-liter twin-turbo V-8, but makes 192 horsepower per liter of displacement, the highest specific output of any production Ferrari V-8 ever. Don’t worry, we’re not finished with the maximal statements with this car.

Three electric motors-two on the front axle and a third between the gas engine and the eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission powering the rear axle-join the V-8 and are powered by a 7.9-kWh lithium-ion battery. Those electric motors combine for 217 horsepower, bringing the Ferrari’s combined total to 986 horsepower. Eagle-eyed readers will note that the total output figure is simply the sum of the V-8’s horsepower and the electric motors’ horsepower.

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Many might also have figured out that the SF90’s electric-motor layout is similar to that in the Acura NSX; indeed, it is. Like the Acura, the Ferrari is capable of manipulating the speeds of its front two electric motors to deliver side-to-side torque vectoring across the front axle. When operating solely on electric power, the SF90 Stradale relies on the front motors to pull it along; on EV power, the car is capable of up to 84 mph, so long as the car isn’t driven very hard (lateral acceleration of greater than 0.4 g will awaken the V-8). There is no reverse gear in the transmission-the front motors are simply spun backwards when the Ferrari needs to back up. The motor-generator unit stuffed between the gas engine and the transmission handles energy-recuperation duties, recapturing energy that otherwise would be lost while coasting or braking and sending it back to the battery pack.

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With all four of its tires receiving power and launch-control programming onboard, the SF90 Stradale is said to shoot off the line like a bottle rocket. Ferrari claims it’ll reach 60 mph in 2.5 seconds, 124 mph in 6.7, and continue on to a top speed of 211 mph. In all likelihood, the SF90will end up among the quickest roadgoing Ferraris ever-the brand’s most recent moonshot hypercar, the LaFerrari, packed 950 ponies.

Amusingly, Ferrari not only claims the SF90 is 8 percent more efficient on the European fuel-economy cycle, but that it’s 1 percent more efficient around an unspecified racetrack than an unspecified gas-only sports car. The point is, the Ferrari’s hybrid bits are as much about, if not more so, going faster while complying with ever-tightening fuel-economy regulations. We doubt many future owners will care about the mpg details.

All of this go-fast gas-electric tech is stuffed into an aluminum and carbon-fiber body shell that looks like a cross between the F8 Tributo and the hardcore, FXX K variant of the discontinued LaFerrari hypercar. The former seems to have contributed its wide hips and slit-like intakes throughout the body-carefully designed here to have a minimal impact on drag while feeding the greater volume of cooling air the electric components require-while the latter donated its thin, horizontal headlights. The overall effect isn’t groundbreaking by Ferrari design standards, but neither is it ugly. We think it’s quite attractive, particularly the rear and its nifty new squircle-shaped taillights (that’d be squared-off circles, to the uninitiated). Ferrari claims it stripped a bunch of weight out of the structure to offset the hybrid gear’s extra mass, but the SF90 remains heavier than, say, the new F8 Tributo based on the company’s figures.

The narrow rear wing, which flows up behind the rear window, is particularly interesting. It has what Ferrari is calling a “shut-off Gurney,” meaning deployable flap that changes the flow pattern beneath the wing, creating in effect a Gurney flap (a small vertical lip spoiler typically found at the trailing edge of the rear end) out of the entire wing and cutting off air flow beneath the spoiler, generating extra downforce at the expense of drag. At city speeds or ultra high speeds when traveling straight, the shut-off Gurney retracts (shuts off, get it?) to reduce drag. In its full downforce-producing configuration, the SF90’s bodywork generates a whopping 860 pounds of downforce at 155 mph.



For all of its boundary-pushing technology-at least, boundary-pushing for Ferrari-the SF90 Stradale has a fairly normal interior. The dashboard design is in keeping with Ferrari’s latest cabin styling, placing a curved 16.0-inch digital display ahead of the driver and a secondary unit for the front-seat passenger on the right side of the dashboard. Touch-sensitive controllers on the steering wheel are new, as are its eManettino controls (regular Ferraris have Manettino controls-note the lack of an “e” there) for selecting EV-only, hybrid, Performance, and “Qualify” drive modes, that last one being the full-beans, maximum power setting. We can’t wait to try it, and don’t worry, we’ll hold our Toyota Prius jokes at the door.