The Car Connection Ferrari LaFerrari Overview
Supercars, hypercars—whatever you call the latest generation of extreme performance cars from Ferrari, McLaren, and Porsche, you have to call theme impressive. The LaFerrari is an exhibition of all that Ferrari can do, leveraging its racing program, and, for the first time since the Dino 308 GT4, a completely in-house exterior design.
Powered by a V-12 engine and a hybrid drive system using the F1 acronym KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) in its HY-KERS name, the LaFerrari generates 950 total horsepower, and over 664 pound-feet of torque. Of that output, the V-12 engine is responsible for 789 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque; the electric motor contributes 161 hp. The electric motor in the HY-KERS system is intended not just to aid power however; it can also keep the V-12 revved higher in corners to ensure plenty of total power for acceleration upon corner exit.
With all of this power, the LaFerrari is not only very fast, but very quick. Ferrari claims 0-60 mph times of “less than three seconds,” a top speed “in excess of 217 mph,” and the ability to hit 186 mph in less than 15 seconds. Those are astounding performance figures in a road car--especially when you consider that Ferrari says the HY-KERS system helps reduce the car's emissions by 40 percent.
In addition to its ferocious capacity for speed, the LaFerrari is also engineered to drive like a race car. The carbon monocoque structure, developed by Rory Byrne, Scuderai Ferarri F1’s technical director, adds significant stiffness over the previous Ferrari Enzo supercar--27 percent more torsional rigidity and 22 percent more beam stiffness. That rigid chassis provides a solid basis for the car’s magneto-rheological dampers, dual-clutch seven-speed transmission, and EF1-Trac F1 electronic traction control, as well as the electronic limited slip rear differential and active aerodynamics for even greater traction.
The LaFerrari’s weight is a contributing factor in its performance as well; Ferrari claims a dry weight of just over 2,700 lbs, hinting that in typical use the car weighs right around 3,000 lbs—perhaps just under.
The combined result is a car that laps Ferrari’s home test circuit of Fiorano in under 1:20, a feat no other production road car from Ferrari can top.
That includes the Enzo, the model that preceded the LaFerrari at the top of the brand's small pyramid of super-performance cars. The Enzo's lap is at least five seconds slower.
The Enzo also used a V-12 engine, but didn’t yet have the impressive HY-KERS hybrid system—the technology simply hadn’t developed yet when the car was released in 2002. A brief run of 400 cars were built, with production ending in 2004.