Ferrari SF90 Stradale review
Ferrari's latest range-topper uses plug-in hybrid power to deliver colossal performance
- Hypercar performance
- Well integrated hybrid technology
- Impressive stability and safety systems
- Short 15-mile electric range
- Not exactly eco-friendly
- Hugely expensive
|Car type||Electric range||Fuel economy||CO2 emissions|
|Plug-in hybrid||15 miles||TBC||TBC|
The SF90 Stradale is Ferrari's first-ever plug-in hybrid, but don't be fooled: electrification has been employed almost entirely with performance in mind, with only a token nod to lowering emissions and meeting ever more stringent regulations.
Sitting at the top of the Italian supercar manufacturer's range above the V12-powered 812 Superfast, the SF90 is not a replacement for any current model; rather, it acts as a more attainable (relatively speaking) halo model than the brand's earlier, stratospherically expensive hypercar offerings. It exists in a class of its own, with most other electrified hypercars costing many times more.
Its hypercar credentials are clear on paper. Power comes from a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine as used in the Ferrari F8 Tributo, paired with a trio of electric motors and an 8kWh battery. Total power output is 987bhp, with the petrol engine accounting for 770bhp. The car uses a new version of Ferrari's eight-speed F1 dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
Built on a chassis constructed from aluminium and carbon-fibre, the SF90's aerodynamic body looks broadly similar to the F8 Tributo's, but with more vents, spoilers and scoops. The rear end in particular shows a new design direction for the brand that bucks the evolutionary trend of previous cars in favour of a more high-tech, futuristic look. Despite the added bulk of its hybrid system, the car weighs in at a respectable 1,570kg if you go to town with lightweight parts on the options list.
Inside, the SF90's dashboard is broadly familiar, but features a new infotainment system for the brand comprising a curved 16-inch screen that sits behind the steering wheel and displays a wide range of information about the car's systems. The display can be configured to prioritise various features, including sat nav or a large central rev counter as you'd find on any other Ferrari. The system is controlled almost entirely by buttons on the steering wheel, many of which are touch-sensitive. It can be a little confusing, but generally works well and is a big improvement over older Ferrari infotainment efforts.
The SF90 is packed with electronic systems that help to meter out all of that staggering performance. Ferrari's trademark Manettino switch returns to select from Wet, Sport, Race, CT Off and ESC Off modes, with each allowing varying degrees of intervention from driver aids like traction control and stability control. This multiple-stage safety net is joined by overarching powertrain modes, selectable using what Ferrari calls the 'eManettino' – Hybrid, Performance, Qualify and eMode. The latter of these allows for up to 15 miles of pure-electric travel on a fully charged battery.
As you'd expect, the performance on offer is mind-bending. Ferrari claims that the SF90 is only fractions of a second slower than the LaFerrari around its test track and it's easy to see why: 0-62mph takes 2.5 seconds, while a sprint from standstill to 124mph is completed in just 6.7 seconds. Top speed is 211mph. Put simply, the SF90 Stradale is the most powerful V8-engined Ferrari ever – and one of the fastest plug-in hybrid cars ever made.
On the move, the SF90 is intoxicating. Tested on track, the car's prodigious power is remarkably easy to deal with as Race mode sends power to the wheels that need it most, cutting out understeer while using stability control to keep the rear wheels in check. Experienced drivers, meanwhile, will find the SF90 far more predictable to drive fast on track with all of these systems turned off than they might expect. Unleashing all of the car's performance on the road is barely possible, such is the level of acceleration on offer.
The SF90 is the first plug-in hybrid Ferrari and so is the first that can travel entirely silently around town. In eMode, the car can travel up to 15 miles at speeds of up to 85mph; Hybrid mode, meanwhile, largely defaults to electric power, kicking in the petrol engine when you push harder on the throttle. Overall the Ferrari's drivetrain feels well engineered, while the regenerative braking does a great job of operating imperceptibly and without any unusual pedal-feel issues.
As one of the fastest, most futuristic Ferraris ever made, the SF90 Stradale sets a new benchmark in the high-end supercar market, offering hypercar performance and fantastically well sorted plug-in hybrid technology. It's not the most efficient PHEV around by a long stretch, but it's certainly the most fun.