The 2015 Ferrari LaFerrari is the pinnacle of the Pracing Horse’s ability at present, and it’s among the top three high-tech supercars in the world. Only 499 examples of the LaFerrari will be built, so it is destined to be a very rare car, too.
Pairing a hybrid system with a monstrous V-12, the LaFerrari guarantees extreme performance, while also adding in a healthy dose of respect for the planet—Ferrari claims the HY-KERS hybrid system reduces emissions by 40 percent.
The V-12 engine sitting amidship in the LaFerrari is a 6.3-liter unit, generating 789 horsepower on its own. The engine screams, too, redlining at 9,250 rpm—tremendously fast for a large V-12. A hybrid system uses a Samsung battery to generate another 160 horsepower, for a combined rating of 950 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque.
With all of that power, the LaFerrari is seriously quick—and shockingly fast. The factory claims the LaFerrari can accelerate to 60 mph in under 3.0 seconds, and carry on to a top speed in excess of 217 mph. The LaFerrari can also one-up the McLaren P1’s claimed 0-186 mph time, with Ferrari claiming 15 seconds for the deed, and McLaren stating it takes the P1 17 seconds.
Adding a hybrid system to a supercar can easily take the weight up several hundred pounds—the battery for the LaFerrari’s HY-KERS system weighs 130 pounds on its own. But Ferrari focused on lightweight everywhere else with the LaFerrari, resulting in a dry weight of just over 2,700 pounds—meaning a curb weight likely somewhere in the 3,000-pound range. That’s about 500 pounds lighter than the comparable Porsche 918 Spyder.
Much of the weight savings in the LaFerrari comes from its carbon monocoque structure, developed by Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 technical director Rory Byrne. In addition to being lightweight, the new chassis is claimed to offer 27 percent more torsional rigidity and 22 percent more beam stiffness than the Enzo that preceded it as the brand’s halo car.
Aerodynamics are also a significant factor in the LaFerrari’s performance. In addition to reducing drag for greater efficiency and higher top speeds, the LaFerrari sports active elements, both under the car and on the wing at the rear, which allow for greater downforce to be extracted from the air flowing over and under the car. This improves high-speed stability and traction, further pushing the limits.
The combined result is a car that laps Ferrari’s Fiorano test circuit quicker than any production car Ferrari has built to date—a time somewhere under 1:20, which is at least five seconds quicker than the Enzo.
Beyond the performance aspects, the LaFerrari continues to impress. Its interior is luxurious and high-tech, with a ride generally thought to be rather comfortable. We haven’t yet had a chance to drive the LaFerrari, but once—or if—we do, we’ll be sure to update this space.
- 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder
- 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder
There are really only two alternatives to the LaFerrari: the McLaren P1 and the Porsche 918 Spyder. Both alternatives are the only supercars in the new high-tech hybrid class, and both offer similar--if not identical--performance. The McLaren P1 is about as rare as the LaFerrari, and may offer a higher ultimate performance envelope for many drivers thanks to McLaren's advanced driver's aids. Porsche's 918 Spyder is nearly as quick--perhaps even quicker than the LaFerrari off the line--and it's the only one of the three to publish a Nürburging lap time. But at the same time, the 918 Spyder is a bit more raucous and rough around the edges than either the P1 or the LaFerrari. Ultimately, however, it's a matter of taste--and many of those who buy one will be buying all three, anyway.