Patent office submission reveals sophisticated Ferrari drivetrain plans
18 October 2005

Ferrari is developing a part-time four-wheel-drive system, which could be used on front-engined models, such as the 612 Scaglietti and forthcoming V12-powered 600, as well as the Maserati Quattroporte and Coupé. The set-up also combines all-wheel drive and a transaxle layout for the first time.

Revealed in this patent drawing (right), the new system is exceptionally compact and simpler than rival 4x4 systems based on a rear-drive layout. A constant velocity joint and oil bath clutch - which sends drive to the front wheels - are encased on the end of the engine block.

However, the system will not be full-time but instead will act as sophisticated traction control in poor conditions.

In third gear — when the car is most likely to skid — drive is sent to the front wheels when sensors detect a slide. In higher gears, the system is limited to 20-30-second bursts of 4x4 traction to stop overheating. A launch date has not yet been revealed.Paddy Granger

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Our Verdict

Toyota Yaris

The original Toyota Yaris was a landmark car, since then it has lost ground to more talented rivals. Can it regain its crown from the formidable and long in the tooth Ford Fiesta?

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week