By Alex Lauer / May 31, 2019

5 Ways the New SF90 Stradale Will Surpass Every Other Ferrari

For one, the new supercar is their first plug-in hybrid

Ferrari's New SF90 Stradale Sports Car
Ferrari's new SF90 Stradale is the marque's first plug-in hybrid and all-wheel drive production sports car.
Ferrari

After a series of confidential leaks and car chases, the time has come: earlier this week, the Italian company officially unveiled the SF90 Stradale, a new race-inspired, road-ready sports car.

In the lineup, the SF90 ranks above the 812 Superfast grand tourer, but unlike the recent one-off P80/C, this isn’t a limited-edition. This is a new production car, and if you’ve got the cash, you’ll be able to rip around town in it soon enough (deliveries are expected in the first half of 2020).

As Ferrari writes on their website, the name honors the 90th anniversary of the Scuderia Ferrari racing team (which actually predates the automaker by a decade) and “underscores the strong link that has always existed between Ferrari’s track and road cars.”

But isn’t that what every carmaker with a racing pedigree says? Buy our ridiculously expensive but tamed-down road car and you’ll feel like a race car driver!!

To be fair, the SF90 will make you feel like that. It packs 986 horsepower, 590 lb.-ft. torque, a top speed of 211 MPH and a 0-to-62 MPH time of 2.5 seconds. Yowza.

But the SF90 Stradale is better than the spec highlights. In fact, in many ways, it’s better than every other car Ferrari has ever built.

Before we list the reasons why, we should qualify that we are speaking to the average, non-professional driver who wants to buy a Ferrari to actually drive. Ferrari makes top-notch race cars and limited-edition track-only cars, and if you have enough cash and clout, you can get your hands on those. But those aren’t for driving, they’re for playing (i.e., having it shipped to Germany so you can bomb the Nürburgring one time before sticking it in a glass case for years before commissioning RM Sotheby’s to sell it).

The 5 Best Things About Ferrari’s SF90 Stradale

  1. It’s the first plug-in hybrid: No, this isn’t Ferrari’s first hybrid. The LaFerrari beat it to the punch by six years, but as Motor Authority notes, that was simply a “a mild hybrid, where the electric motors only aided the engine.” Here, we have the first Ferrari ever to feature PHEV tech (that is, plug-in hybrid electric vehicle). The powertrain includes a standard gas engine and three electric motors. The electric wave is coming for sports cars, and if you haven’t been keeping up, let the SF90 be your wake-up call — we will be seeing many more PHEVs and straight-up EVs from classic marques in the next few years.
  2. It’s their most powerful road car: The 4.0-liter, turbocharged V8 here is the same one Ferrari uses in their 488 Pista and other cars in the lineup, but as CNET writes, it’s been upgraded in displacement and with a new fuel system. Meaning: it puts out a whopping 769 HP, “the highest performance ever achieved by an eight-cylinder unit in Ferrari’s history,” according to Automotive News. Wait, I thought you said this was pushing 1,000. It is, when you add in the three electric motors, two on the front wheels and one in the middle, which add a total of 162 kW of power, or about 217 HP.
  3. It’s the first sports car with all-wheel drive: Most of us aren’t physically or mentally prepared to handle the pairing of 986 HP with the SF90’s 0-60 MPH time. But as you may have surmised from the motors on the front wheels, this is an all-wheel drive car, the first Ferrari sports car with that layout. As Jalopnik so eloquently puts it, “Ferrari has apparently wisely determined that living customers are probably better than ones wrapped around a tree.”
  4. The four driving modes (that are actually useful): Via the eManettino, a selector located in the center of the steering wheel on the bottom left, the driver can choose between four “power unit management modes.” The eDrive mode is electric-only, using just the front two electric motors, and will last 15.5 miles on full. Hybrid is the default, firing all electric motors and the engine for daily driving. Performance locks in the V8, keeping that power boost even when it isn’t necessarily needed. And Qualify, as The Drive writes, “throws any and all pretenses of fuel economy out the window and puts all of the car’s motors …  in maximum attack position.”
  5. This is a maximalist car in a minimalist silhouette: Let’s stop talking about numbers and automotive jargon for a second and just look at this car. What do you see? To the untrained eye, probably nothing that’ll immediately make you love or hate it. It’s sleek, it’s low, it’s classic Ferrari. But take a closer look and you’ll realize the team integrated a number of fascinating elements. The front end is clean (which will make you menacing in a rear view) but the back looks like the bottom of a rocket (which will make people keep their distance). The cabin is supposed to feel like an “aeronautical cockpit.” There’s a new 16-inch curved HD display. The high tailpipes make the back end look like an open-mouth emoji or Beaker from the Muppets. Those are admittedly a grab bag of observations, but the point is this wasn’t designed for flash-in-the-pan bragging rights — Ferrari is messing with their architecture, testing things out for the future.

Speaking of the future, you’ll have to wait a little longer to get the price, delivery date and production numbers. (When asked how many they’ll build, Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer Enrico Galliera said, “One less than the market demands.” Nice.)

But Automotive News speculates it’ll sit between the LaFerrari’s $1.3M and the 812 Superfast’s $334K price tags, for what that’s worth.