Maranello takes the fight to McLaren with the £1m LaFerrari; it boasts a 6.3-litre V12 with two electric motors, 0-186mph in 15.5sec and F1-derived aero tech
5 March 2013

Ferrari has effectively opened a second front in its war with McLaren, its deadliest racing rival, in revealing the £1 million replacement for its 10-year-old Enzo supercar, the exotically named LaFerrari. The car will make its first appearance in Asia at the Shanghai motor show, just weeks after its world debut at the Geneva motor show.

The significance of the LaFerrari name, says Maranello, is that the new model is intended to be ‘the Ferrari’, a car that packs every traditional Ferrari virtue into an ultra-modern envelope. 

The similarities between the P1 and LaFerrari - codenamed F150 - are many: both are petrol-electric hybrids with total outputs in excess of 900bhp. Both claim an intimate relationship with Formula 1 design, based on a carbonfibre ‘tub’ chassis, though in a surreptitious swipe at the advanced carbonfibre structure of its rival, Ferrari bosses say they “want to make the best car, not the best carbonfibre tub”.

Both cars aim squarely at the title of the ‘best driver’s car in the world’, but whereas the McLaren costs £866,000, Ferrari — which claims to already have buyers for most of its LaFerraris — is charging €1.3 million per copy in Europe, or £1,040,000. 

In another major point of difference, the Ferrari has a normally aspirated 6.3-litre V12 engine (a developed version of its F12 unit), whereas the McLaren has a twin-turbo 3.8-litre V8.

The pair’s performance is closely matched, with 0-60mph times of around 3.0sec. However, Ferrari claims a 0-300km/h (186mph) time of 15.5sec, a cool 1.5sec faster than the “around 17.0sec” claimed for the McLaren. On the other hand, Ferrari fails to quote a top speed, “because it doesn’t matter”, whereas McLaren is quite specific about its car’s 218mph top end. 

Ferrari claims a simulated Nürburgring lap time of less than seven minutes and says F1 driver Fernando Alonso has lapped Fiorano in 1min 19sec on Pirelli P Zero road tyres, whereas the 599XX could do 1min 16sec on slicks. On those tyres, LaFerrari is expected to be faster still.

The Ferrari is around 110mm longer than the McLaren at 4702mm, and about 50mm wider at 1992mm, but a surprising 54mm lower at 1116mm. It also claims a relatively radical 59 per cent rearward weight bias, which engineers label “just about ideal” for a car like this. Ferrari also talks about a “compact” wheelbase of 2650mm and claims that careful packaging of major masses between the wheels allows the centre of gravity to be an impressive 35mm lower than an Enzo’s. 

The driving position is similar to that of a single-seater and was designed after consultations with Alonso and team-mate Felipe Massa. The chassis tub is to be made in the autoclaves of Ferrari’s racing department, using four different types of hand-laminated carbonfibre and incorporating components such as seat bases and battery compartment into the main structure, whose torsional rigidity and beam strength is up 27 per cent and 22 per cent respectively against an Enzo.

LaFerrari’s styling — penned by Ferrari’s own design team under Flavio Manzoni, with no hint of input from the Pininfarina design house that has produced the majority of Ferrari shapes — is more angular than the swoopy P1 but is dominated by the dictates of the wind tunnel. The front splitter appears to hang from a single front pylon — a nod to F1 — and the air intakes are huge. However, Ferrari says there is still room to acknowledge the “gloriously exuberant” Ferrari sports car shapes of the past via the low bonnet and muscular arches. 

The cabin, believed to be more race-orientated than luxurious, has an F1-style steering wheel whose driving mode manettino offers five different driving modes instead of the usual four. 

The car uses sophisticated aerodynamics that deploy automatically according to speed and attitude. There are moveable diffusers and a guide vane underneath the car, plus more moveable components on the rear wing. Ferrari’s aero experts say their brief was to deliver “the highest degree of aerodynamic efficiency ever achieved with any road car”, a claim likely to cause lively debate in Woking, where the P1 has been built to generate a maximum of eight times the downforce of the existing MP4-12C supercar.     

LaFerrari pips the P1 on kerb weight. Ferrari quotes 1255kg for its car, although this is a ‘dry’ weight without oils or fluids added. The HY-KERS system contributes 140kg to LaFerrari’s total mass, 62kg of which is down to its centrally mounted battery pack. The remaining mass consists of control systems, wiring and a pair of electric motors, one mounted on the back of the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox to contribute drive to the car, the other to drive ancillaries instead of powering them directly from the engine. 

The battery is charged via regenerative braking and whenever the engine produces excess torque, and its smart ancillaries work the same way. The P1, by contrast, has a single electric motor that mates so closely with its petrol turbo V8 that the crankcase casting is specially shaped to accommodate it, but it lacks regenerative braking. 

On the other hand, Ferrari’s HY-KERS does not have the McLaren’s electric-only drive mode for zero-emissions traffic zones, which leaves it with an official CO2 figure of 330g/km that compares poorly with the McLaren’s. However, Ferrari says an electric-only mode can be engineered into the car for customers who really want it.

The Ferrari has a mid-mounted normally aspirated 6262cc V12, closely related to the F12’s engine but with new internals. It produces 789bhp, with a redline of 9250rpm. Add 161bhp for the electric motor and the driver has total command of 950bhp, along with peak torque of 715lb ft. Both outputs exceed the P1’s figures by about 10 per cent, an advantage hardly reflected in the comparative performance until the cars are above 150mph.

Ferrari has announced a price and revealed that 499 cars will be built, but it has yet to announce a date for first deliveries, although autumn is tipped. This is a two-year programme, Maranello says, and while the majority of cars already have owners, some are still available.

Click here for more Shanghai motor show 2013 news.

Our Verdict

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Comments
61

5 March 2013

I've been waiting for this car to come out for the last two years and now that it's out.... I'm strangely underwhelmed. Looks like a CAD model rather than a real live car. The design seems oddly familiar, strangely un-ferrari like.

And what's up with the stupid name? LaFerrari? Does it have a LaV12 engine and a LaCarbonfibre body?? 

R32

5 March 2013

Looks like Ferrari spoiled McLaren and Lamborghini's party.  Not pretty, but pretty sensational.

There is a great film on the official Ferrari website - www.ferrari.com - which shows the Ferrari LaFerrari going round a race track.  Looks seriously awesome.

5 March 2013

The €1.3m price converts to sterling as £1,117,895 at the current exchange rate of 1.1629 , not £1,040,000. 

www.twitter.com/racingpuma

5 March 2013

Looks beautiful!

5 March 2013

Seriously, who nammed this thing? And to be honest, after all the fuss, the sneak preview shots, is that really it? Stylistically its not going up on teenagers walls - its dull!

Fair enough the tech fest and the engineering is cutting edge, but there is more drama from Lamborghini (regardless of its totally pointless run of 3 which will never been seen outside the Concours circuit) and even the McLaren P1 looks eventful...this just look boring. I'll stick the 599 GTO for the study wall.

5 March 2013

This is the car that I've been waiting to see the most at this years show and whilst i like it I don't think it's "special" enough. I'd have one over a P1 and I hate the Lambo Venereal but if my euromillions ticket ever comes in I still think my £1,000,000 would go to Pagani.

5 March 2013

I would give my right leg to own one of these!

 

Just think of the car insurance costs!

Myk

5 March 2013

That name?  Seriously? 

Well, it's WAY better looking than an Enzo and I do rather like it. Like a 458 on steroids, and if I had the money I'd be in the queue for this and not the McLaren.

But still, it's called LaFerrari so already I'm struggling to take it seriously.

5 March 2013

So both the ultimate Ferrari and McLaren are over 2 seconds to 186 slower, and heavier than the Hennessey Venom GT which was built a year ago and doesnt have an F1 tech team behind it.

 

The Venom gets to 200 by the time the "LaFerrari" gets to 186! And thats with a Manual gearbox!

5 March 2013

Hennessy!?! Maybe you want to bring a dragster into the conversation too.

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