The Ferrari SF90 Spider is the second plug-in hybrid production car from Maranello. In more ways than one, it has to blaze a trail for Ferrari…
MARANELLO, ITALY — Three electric motors, one massively powerful twin-turbo V8, four wheel-drive, a folding roof and a prancing horse… it can only be the Ferrari SF90 Spider, a car Maranello pulled the covers off tonight via a digital event.
The SF 90 Spider is the SF90 Stradale shorn of its fixed roof, with a folding top in its place — Ferrari’s Retractable Hard Top architecture takes care of the metallic origami in 14 seconds. It weighs 100kg more because of reinforcements to the body, needed to compensate for the loss of rigidity that results from taking a can opener to a car.
Ferrari says it worked hard to preserve the lines of the SF90 Stradale, and make sure that the SF90 Spider shows off its V8 whether the roof is up or down. Here’s a view of the SF90 Stradale for comparison:
The roof can do its folding act when the Spider is on the move at up to 45km/h, and takes up 100 litres of space, rather than the 150 to 200 litres that other folding tops need.
Ferrari says using aluminium for its main structure means it’s roughly 40kg lighter than a typical roof module. It accounts for roughly 80 percent of the SF90 Spider’s weight gain over the Stradale, says Michael Leiters, the chief technical officer at Ferrari.
With the roof folded, gawkers can get a better glimpse of the cockpit, which is straight out of the SF90 Stradale. It’s inspired by fighter jets and as digital as can be, with a 16-inch curved screen and head-up display system instead of conventional instruments.
The steering wheel has touch-sensitive pads with haptic feedback that can control 80 percent of the car’s functions. Even the engine start button isn’t a physical switch but a touch-operated one.
Local importer Ital Auto says the Singapore price for the Ferrari SF90 Spider is a big, fat unknown at the moment. So is the car’s launch or availability date. Eager clients sometimes fly to Italy for an early glimpse of new Ferraris so they can join the queue quick, but that’s obviously out of the question now. A preview of the car in early 2021, with deliveries commencing in the second half of the year, are our guesses for when you’ll see the SF90 Spider in Singapore.
Open-top versions of a given Ferrari typically cost around 10 percent more than the equivalent berlinetta (or coupe) and the same applies here. That could put the SF90 at just under S$2m here, since Ital lists the SF90 Stradale at S$1,818,000 without Certificate of Entitlement or options.
Granted, few Ferraris leave the factory without a couple of extras, so it’s likely that SF90 Stradale customers will have busted the S$2m mark with their cars already.
The SF90 Spider is the most expensive Ferrari. This is the least…
As for the numbers we do know about, they’re superlative, as you’d expect of a car that now sits at the top of Ferrari’s model line-up: 1000 horsepower (780hp from the V8 alone), 0 to 100km/h in 2.5 seconds and 0 to 200km/h in a blistering 7 seconds flat. That’s 0.3 seconds slower to 200km/h than the SF90 Stradale, but it’s not like anyone’s brains would be able to keep up with either car.
The top speed is given as 340km/h, which has got to feel fairly exhilarating with the roof down. Ferrari’s mastery of aerodynamics should ensure that the experience doesn’t pluck every last strand of hair from your scalp — CTO Mr Leiters says there are aero elements specifically intended to prevent wind from buffeting the cabin.
The SF90 Spider shares its eight-speed gearbox with the Stradale. It’s a technical highlight in its own right, being compact enough to let the V8 be mounted as low as possible. It’s also 10kg lighter than the seven-speeder that Ferrari used to use, partially because engineers removed reverse gear — the front motors do that job now.
More to the point, Ferrari says the new transmission is 33 percent faster than the old seven-speed (its clutch fill time is 200 milliseconds instead of 300), which was already the fastest on the market.
Wild performance stats aside, the SF90 Spider has green credentials, too. Since it’s built to the same hybrid sportscar recipe as the SF90 Stradale, it can also do zero emissions motoring for up to 25km, at up to 135km/h.
The sustainability angle could be widening Ferrari’s appeal. Enrico Galliera, Chief Marketing Officer at Maranello, says the SF90 Stradale has so far attracted a younger buyer than is typical for the brand, with around 50 per cent of them new to Ferrari altogether.
Power for the electric driving mode comes from a slender, 7.9 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. It has to be topped up from an external charger if you want an electric commute, but regenerative braking alone is enough to make the Ferrari capable of full power laps of any track.
If you’re a numbers geek, the hybrid architecture (motors, the battery pack, cabling and controllers) adds 270kg to the car, but gives it 220 horsepower.
Electric drive is good for more than just acceleration or efficiency in a straight line. The twin front motors can drive each wheel independently, and that in turn enables RAC-e (for “rotational axis control – electric), Ferrari’s torque vectoring system.
Presumably, that banishes both oversteer and understeer, and makes the SF90 Spider corner as if on rails. CTO Michael Leiters once told us the system makes the SF90 Stradale feel 200kg lighter than it is.
Altogether there are 25 systems to help the driver, including active aerodynamics that work to press the car to the road at speed (with 390kg of downforce at 250km/h).
You can have a more hardcore version of the SF90 Spider, courtesy of an optional performance pack called Assetto Fiorano.
Seen here in blue, it has shock absorbers derived from Ferrari’s GT racing programme, a different rear wing for extra downforce and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup2 tyres optimised for fast laptimes in the dry.
Weight-saving parts such as carbon fibre doors and underbody panels, along with springs and a titanium exhaust system to help shave 25kg off the standard car. Most important of all, of course, it has optional racy two-tone livery, only available with the SF90 Spider Assetto Fiorano
The new convertible is Ferrari’s second topless plug-in hybrid (after the LaFerrari Aperta) but isn’t a limited edition model, so it’s on sale to anyone with the dosh — limited Ferraris are typically available by invitation only.
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The SF90 Spider won’t be Ferrari’s last plug-in, however. Ferrari is coming to the mid-point of a five-year business plan that will see it put 15 new models on sale altogether, between 2019 and the end of 2022.
The New York Stock Exchange listed company will build cars on one a mid-engine and a front engine platform, with V12, V8 and V6 engines, hybrid tech and turbocharging all in the engineers’ toolkit. There will be 2 seaters, 2+2 seaters and, eventually, a 4 seater.
With an eye on staying relevant in a world getting increasingly hostile to carbon emissions, Ferrari expects that 60 percent of its output will be hybrid cars in less than three years’ time.
That’s something, because just 20 months ago the percentage of hybrid cars leaving the factory was precisely zero. When Ferrari moves on something, it moves fast.
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