Raising the Bar: LaFerrari by Ferrari


It is official: Ferrari has taken the covers off the much-hyped replacement for 2002's definitive Enzo at the Geneva Motor Show. The LaFerrari - the name will cause all sorts of grammar headaches that we shall banish from our minds at the present time - is the greatest road-going Ferrari ever built. It might even be the greatest performance road car ever made, by any measure of the word 'greatest' but that will require testing, including a head-to-head against fellow hypercars the McLaren P1 and the Porsche 918 Spyder.

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Briefly, here is what we have learned about the Ferrari's new hybrid hypercar so far. Like the Enzo, LaFerrari is a very limited proposition, with only 499 to find their way to drivers around the world. It has a new mid-mounted 6.3 liter V12 (an evolution of the F12berlinetta's powerplant with no sign of turbo chargers in play) that pumps out 790bhp and redlines at 9250rpm (believe it), and an electric motor that adds some 160bhp to the mix, giving LaFerrari a grand total of 950 horses with which to outrun the Enzo. Ferrari reports that LaFerrari beats the Enzo's time around the Fiorano track by 5 seconds and the F12berlinetta by more than 3 seconds. 

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Make no mistake then that the 1,300kg LaFerrari is a speedy beast, taking the F12berlinetta's crown as the fastest Ferrari ever made. It makes short work of the 100kmh dash in under 3 seconds and rubbishes the 200kmh mark in under 7 seconds. Take a moment and imagine it... While you do that, let us address that name. Better yet, we transmit Ferrari's own explanation:

"We chose to call this model LaFerrari because it is the maximum expression of what defines our company – excellence. Excellence in terms of technological innovation, performance, visionary styling and the sheer thrill of driving. Aimed at our collectors, this is a truly extraordinary car which encompasses advanced solutions that, in the future, will find their way onto the rest of the range, and it represents the benchmark for the entire automotive industry. LaFerrari is the finest expression of our company’s unique, unparalleled engineering and design know-how, including that acquired in Formula 1," said Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo.

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It is not only speed and performance that draws to cars such as LaFerrari of course and this is where those "advanced solutions" come into play. LaFerrari's chassis is a wonder of high craftsmanship, with no less than four types of carbon fiber coming together seamlessly. Incredibly, every bit of carbon fiber is hand-laminated and autoclave-cured by Scuderia Ferrari in a process mirroring the F1 style. Another bit of racing engineering to make its way into LaFerrari is HY-KERS, which leads to improved performance (by 10 percent according to Top Gear) and reduced emissions (to the tune of 330g/km of CO2).

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We conclude at this point with a note about the look of this beast, which as you can see is quite, well, beastly. This car was designed and developed by the in-house team of Ferrari Design Director Flavio Manzoni; you will look in vain for any mention of Pininfarina because that company had neither hand nor eye on this project. We have to wonder what this bodes for the future because, as with the Enzo, what you see in LaFerrari will make itself felt throughout the range in the years to come. 

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