Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo has admitted that the company would make a six-cylinder car in a bid to improve fuel economy and emissions.
"An engine smaller than a V8? Why not?" he told Autocar, acknowledging that six-cylinder engines had been part of Ferrari’s heritage.
However, he vowed that the company’s future sports cars will not be diluted because of the need to cut emissions and increase fuel economy. "Our cars are there to enjoy and we have to maintain this," he said.
Di Montezemolo also admitted that the company’s engineers were hard at work on a V12 hybrid, previewed by the Green Ferrari concept that was first shown at the Geneva motor show last year.
"Our goal is that it will be ready in four years' time," he said, "but we’re not 100 per cent sure about the cost or economy because there are four years to go and we’ll see lots of improvement in that time."
Ferrari’s boss also conceded that there was no need to introduce hybrid systems on the company’s future V8 models, likely to be the replacements for the California and 458 Italia.
"Turbocharging could be the answer and with the V8 we’re confident that we can achieve impressive consumption and emissions through technology, innovation and electronics," he said.
Di Montezemolo is also pinning his hopes on the fact that the company’s F1 team can provide greener solutions for the road car division, including helping to improve the KERS brake regeneration system for use on the V12 hybrids.
"We’re hoping that F1 can become an advanced research centre again to develop new technology to help with fuel consumption, downforce and new materials," he said.