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Bodystyle, dimensions and technical details

The SF90 – named in reference to its debut in the 90th anniversary year of the creation of Enzo Ferrari’s ‘ex-works’ Alfa Romeo racing team in 1929 – is based on a monocoque chassis tub built just over the road from Ferrari’s Maranello factory, by the company’s wholly owned Scaglietti coachworks subsidiary.

The chassis is of an entirely new design. It uses hollow aluminium castings and consists of new lightweight aluminium alloys and a carbonfibre rear bulkhead. It’s 20% stiffer in bending and 40% more torsionally rigid than any comparable tub that the company has used before, but it’s no heavier.

Active aero includes what Ferrari calls a ‘shut-off gurney’ flap under the rear wing. When extra downforce is needed during cornering or braking, this surface flips down, creating drag but boosting the effectiveness of the aerofoil above.

The car’s powertrain consists of a redesigned and enlarged F154-family, mid-mounted, twin-turbocharged 770bhp V8 engine, three AC synchronous electric drive motors and a 7.9kWh lithium ion drive battery, along with some very sophisticated power-control electronics.

The biggest and most powerful of those motors, the ‘motor-generator unit, kinetic’ in Ferrari-speak, is a three-phase axial flux motor sandwiched between the car’s V8 engine and its eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. That it’s said to be derived from the matching component in Ferrari’s current Formula 1 car says all you need to know about the way in which technology can still transfer from race track to road, even from the very highest reaches of motorsport. It makes up to 201bhp all on its own, but there are two more drive motors (radial flux, rated for a combined 266bhp between them) mounted in the front of the car, which drive the front wheels through independent, per-motor transmissions and which form a fully asymmetrical torque-vectoring electric front axle.

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The car’s drive battery actually marks the limit of its power generation capabilities: it can only supply enough energy to coax a combined 242bhp from those three electric motors at any one time. In general running, the hybrid system as a whole is limited to a peak power output of 217bhp. Between all four power sources, the SF90 makes a homologated 987bhp at 7500rpm and an undisclosed amount of torque. (That said, in its fiercest ‘Qualify’ driving mode, it can actually produce slightly more power than that, if only for a short period of time.)

The management of weight was always going to be key in making this car perform, handle and feel like a modern Ferrari. Considering all that has been added, Maranello has met that challenge very effectively. With every lightweight option fitted, the company says the SF90 has a dry weight of 1570kg, which is remarkably low, consideringthe hybrid system adds 270kg all by itself. Fully fuelled and with plenty of options on board, our test car weighed 1698kg on the scales, making Maranello’s claim realistic enough. And it’s a claim that gives this car a power-to-weight ratio of 629bhp per tonne – right up in the territory of the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport and LaFerrari, if not quite on terms with the very latest all-electric hypercars from Lotus and Rimac.

The SF90’s 4.0-litre piston engine has been reconfigured to sit lower in the chassis than in Ferrari’s existing mid-engined models, getting a new cylinder-head design, completely rerouted induction and exhaust systems, bigger intake valves, bigger cylinder bores, more efficient turbos and a higher-pressure fuel injection system than that used by the 3.9-litre unit in the F8 Tributo. The eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox that it drives is new too, being 33% quicker-shifting than the seven-speeder in the F8 Tributo and 10kg lighter. (It needs no reverse gear because the SF90 simply reverses under power from its electric front axle.)

For suspension, the SF90 uses similar axles to the F8 Tributo, with double wishbones at the front and multiple links at the rear, as well as coil springs (rising-rate at the rear) and adaptive dampers as standard. Opt for Ferrari’s Assetto Fiorano specification and you get firmer titanium springs and uprated passive dampers (supplied by racing specialist Multimatic), as well as a higher-downforce rear wing and some extra weight-saving carbonfibre panels. Carbonfibre wheels are another option, carbon-ceramic brakes are standard, and while Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres are fitted as part of the Fiorano pack, grippier Cup 2 R tyres (which appeared on our test car) can be specified at extra cost.