Ferrari is set to unveil a surprise new car early in 2008 – but it will not be the long-rumoured ‘new Dino’.According to sources at the company, the new model will be a front-engined coupe with a rear-mounted transaxle gearbox, a two-plus-two cabin layout, a new 450bhp direct injection V8 engine, and a price tag of just over £130,000; in other words, it’ll be a direct rival for the Aston Martin DB9 and Bentley Continental GT, and you can get an idea of what it could look like in our gallery.
The Italian DB9 in detail
Some sources say the new Ferrari – likely codename F149 – will be unveiled at the Detroit motor show in early January, and may get the iconic ‘California’ name tag when it arrives in the showroom. However, there’s no clear indication on how far away the car is from production.A 4.3-litre V8 engine will power the new car, which some sources think will be an updated version of the unit found in the current, mid-engined F430 coupe. It’s likely to be fitted with direct fuel injection and be good for around 450bhp; slightly less than the F430 two-seater, which suggests that the new car will have a more relaxed, GT-like character. It’ll also be a more usable prospect than the F430; the occasional rear seats should provide enough room for children and smaller adults, while a generous boot out back will swallow much more baggage than an F430.The firm’s F1 sequential paddleshift transmission is tipped to be fitted to the car as standard.
Scooped: an early prototype
Hard details about Ferrari’s new coupe are very sketchy even though it is said to be close to being made public. However, spy shots have been snatched in Germany of a front-engine coupe wearing fake ‘F599’ cladding (see gallery).Close examination of the pictures show a car that is notably smaller than an F599, with a rather smaller nose section and a narrower front track.Although the central section of the new car looks to be similar to that of the F599, both the front and rear sections look to have been re-worked and re-sized.One source suggests that ‘F149’ will actually be built around an updated, more rigid, aluminium spaceframe chassis engineered by Ferrari and Alcoa.This could indicate that the prototype caught by Autocar’s spies is actually a very early engineering mule using a new nose section carrying the new-generation direct-injection V8 engine. If so, the new F149 will be noticeably slimmer hipped than the 599.