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Ferrari to debut 900-horsepower hybrid at Detroit Auto Show

Limited-edition supercar will use a hybrid powertrain to boost performance and carbon fiber to reduce weight.

By Douglas Newcomb Oct 10, 2012 4:31AM

Ferrari Hybrid. Image by Ferrari.Hybrids usually are associated with pragmatic, gas-sipping cars like the Toyota Prius. But the alternative powertrain is going ultra high end this January when Italian supercar maker Ferrari debuts a new, approximately 900-horsepower hybrid at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

A sneak preview of the vehicle’s shell was revealed at the Paris Motor Show last month. The yet-to-be-named newcomer to Ferrari’s legendary stable of prancing horses -- and the most powerful model the Italian automaker has ever produced -- will use a hybrid drivetrain to boost performance and a lightweight carbon-fiber chassis to reduce weight.

A V12 gasoline engine shares power-producing duties with an electric motor driving the rear wheels, employing Formula One racing technology dubbed Hy-KERS (Hy for Hybrid, KERS for Kinetic Energy Regeneration System). While the hybrid powertrain will add about 150 kilograms to the car's weight, the electric motor delivers exceptional low-speed power to overcome the added weight, according to Ferrari.

The new hybrid will be produced in limited quantities. But if you miss out on the car -- or don’t quite have the finances to buy the latest Ferrari -- you will soon be able to choose among other luxury sports cars that offer hybrid options. Both Jaguar and Acura have hybrid supercars in development.

Jaguar’s C-X75, which also uses Hy-KERS technology, boasts a top speed of more than 200 mph and can accelerate from zero to 100 mph in six seconds, according to Jaguar. The automaker also says that the C-X75 can travel up to 30 miles on battery power alone. Acura says its next-generation NSX will go on sale by 2015 and will be an all-wheel-drive hybrid.

With these new high-performance hybrids hitting the street, the technology may finally escape the shadow of the plodding Prius and allow enthusiasts to go "green" while also going fast.

[Source: USA Today]

Oct 11, 2012 6:31AM
"He loves his diesel engines, and for some very logical reasons. His idea as to what Ferrari should be doing is something along the lines of what Audi is doing in Le Mans with their TDi R8."

Correct. Audi proved it can be done, proved that it works, and that conventional "wisdom" that a diesel engine cannot be used for racing is wrong. Audi demonstrated "crowd think" is wrong.

"It isn't the level of performance that we are hating on but the "fun" factor."

Correct. Which true car enthusiast would not love 900 HP and copious amounts of torque? I love the performance. I hate how it was realized, which is consequently one of the reasons I refuse to buy a Ferrari.

"You're right, the high end super/sports cars will have DSG transmissions, with paddle shifters, that can shift faster than any human but it just isn't as fun to some of us. We love the feel of physicall changing the gear and having a clutch to have complete control of it."

Correct. What does it mean to me that a sequential shifter is used on the F1, or that it shifts 0.25 seconds faster than I would, when it saps all the joy and thrill of driving out of the experience? For me, the speed of the shift cannot possibly compare to the enjoyment of the experience of feeling the clutch (and the clutch pedal) and shifting manually.

I do not care about the speed of the shifts, but I very much care about being able to feel the car.
Oct 11, 2012 6:36AM
"I do admit though, us 'give me a manual transmission or give me death' folks readily ignore that the modern synchro'ed and constant mesh transmissions are just about automatic compared to earlier transmission designs.  No double clutching required or anything."

There are still situations where double-clutching is needed. On just about every car I ever drove, one gear is always a "troublemaker". On my daily driver, it is the first gear, and the trick to get it to cooperate is to double clutch before shifting.

And sometimes, I am simply too fast for the synchros, and the only thing that will get the gears to sync up faster is double-clutching. Synchromeshes are a great improvement, but sometimes they just cannot keep up.
Oct 10, 2012 7:21AM
Ferrari manages to to come up with more and more idiotic cars from one press release to another. Now that is an achievement, albeit one the company cannot be proud of. Instead of innovating, they just got on the gasoline-electric bandwagon like everyone else. Ferrari has been steadily going down the drain. It started with paddle shifters, now it is gasoline-electric hybrid powertrains. I am willing to bet that the engineers inside of Ferrari are bitter about having to work on this hybrid garbage. What a disgrace for Ferrari.
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