The SF90 Stradale represents a new chapter in Ferrari’s history by being it’s first series production Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV); it’s extreme on every level and is now ranked as the most powerful Prancing Horse car ever!
The car’s name encapsulates the true significance of all that has been achieved in terms of performance and references the 90th anniversary of the foundation of Scuderia Ferrari and underscores the strong link that has always existed between Ferrari’s track and road cars.
The Ferrari SF90 Stradale delivers unprecedented performance for a production car and has become the new benchmark for standing starts: 0-100km/h in 2.5 sec and 0- 200km/h in just 6.7 seconds. This incredible power is made possible with the inclusion of 4WD, a necessary step to allowed the incredible force unleashed by the hybrid powertrain to be fully exploited.
The SF90 Stradale has a 90° V8 turbo engine capable of the highest power output of any 8-cylinder in Ferrari history and boasts three electric motors, one at the rear, known as the Motor Generator Unit, Kinetic (MGUK) 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.
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 body shell 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. These innovations results in the overall user friendly driving experience behind the wheel of the Ferrari SF90 Stradale.
The Technical Analysis
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.
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.
The internal combustion engine and the electric motors work in synergy to unleash an incredible 1,000 cv which means the SF90 Stradale sets a whole new benchmark in terms of its performance and innovative content not just with regard to the Ferrari range, but also its competitors.
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.
Together with its 195 cv/l specific power output, which is the highest in the segment, the engine also delivers 800 Nm of torque at 6,000 rpm. To deliver this extraordinary result, Ferrari’s engineers focused on several different areas of the engine, starting by increasing its capacity from 3,902 cc to 3,990 cc thanks to a larger bore of 88 mm. The intake and exhaust system was completely redesigned and now features a new, narrower cylinder head with a central injector and the adoption of 350-bar GDI, another first for a Ferrari V8.
The re-engineering goes well beyond fluid-dynamics: the rationalisation of the layout has resulted in both a lower centre of gravity, thanks in part to the adoption of a smaller-diameter fly wheel, and a reduction in overall weight thanks to the use of Inconel instead of steel for the exhaust manifold. Meticulous attention was lavished on sound quality when redesigning the exhaust system and the result is fuller, richer harmonics across the entire frequency range. It will be interesting to see if Ferrari’s engineers have achieved this in real life.
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 a Human-Machine Interface (HMI) 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.
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.
The SF90 Stradale is currently on display at Ferrari Maserati in Waterloo until early in the New Year. The first local deliveries are expected to start in Q4 of 2020. A new Ferrari is always exciting, but there was one line from the SF90 Press Release that made my heart sink “… a V8 is the top-of-the-range model for the first time in the marque’s history.” So what does this mean for the Ferrari V12 engine?
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.