Should we start composing gospels glorifying the V12 now?
There are some carmakers that, in their official communication, embrace the present in terms of ethos, technology and engineering, like the way McLaren doesn’t try to hide the fact that their cars are designed almost entirely with aerodynamic efficiency and downforce generation in mind, with little to no care given towards aesthetics.
And then there are companies like Ferrari who are on the fence. On the one hand, cutting-edge technology and engineering breakthroughs meant that they were among the first to make a car almost entirely out of carbon fibre, among the first to offer magnetic damping, and among the first to put major controls like the blinkers, wipers, and dipped beam onto the steering wheel (much to the chagrin of owners and drivers the world over). And on the other hand, they rally against the dying of the light, retaining their large, atmospheric engines up until very recently, where power and emissions demands saw them fit turbochargers to their mills for the first time in forever.
Even the KERS electric boost system fitted to the epic (and gorgeous) LaFerrari was more of an add-on rather than a designed-in-mind fitment to the powertrain, providing only performance gains rather than benefits in terms of emissions or fuel efficiency.
However, a recent video taken from the fringes of Ferrari’s fabled Fiorano test track shows that they’re working on something much more… conventional for their next-generation electrified powertrains. Say hello to what might very well be a plug-in hybrid Ferrari.
It’s been mooted that a plug-in powertrain would feature in Ferrari’s upcoming abomination of an SUV, so you can imagine our surprise seeing this silent-running 488 test mule. Electrified powertrains, with their battery packs and what have you, tend to take up a whole lot of space. The fact that all that complexity was packaged into the sleek, lithe form of a 488 is really, really impressive.
The first victim/recipient of the plug-in petrol-electric hybrid powertrain will most likely be the Ferrari SUV that’s due in 2019, though if this 488 mule is any indication, we could see the offering of a similar setup on other models sooner still.
If you’re feeling blue at the thought of future Ferraris losing the unique driving experience that has been a hallmark in preceding models, fear not, as you have a friend in Sergio Marchionne. In response to a question by Autocar, the outspoken brand boss said:
“Have you driven a Ferrari hybrid? When you do, I’m sure you won’t miss a V12.” — Sergio Marchionne, Chairman, Ferrari N.V.