All posts in “hybrid”

2020 is the wrong year to launch a car, but Czinger is moving full speed ahead

Los Angeles-based startup Czinger has remained relatively quiet since it unveiled the 21C, a 3D-printed plug-in hybrid hypercar, in February. Its plans to present the model at the 2020 Geneva auto show were derailed when the event was canceled, and it decelerated its operations to comply with California’s COVID-19-related lockdowns, but work never stopped behind the scenes. We caught up with the brand to get a better idea of where it stands.

Jens Sverdrup, the young brand’s chief commercial officer, told Autoblog engineers began testing prototypes on the road and on the track in August 2019. “This is not one of these stories where you see new companies coming out with a mockup or a computer rendering; we have fully functioning cars, and we’ve spent a significant amount of money on them,” he said. Testing abruptly stopped in the spring, fine-tuning a 1,233-horsepower car wasn’t considered an essential activity, but the data gathered in late 2019 and in early 2020 was encouraging.

“We know enough about the car’s performance to say our numbers are conservative,” he explained. “We have a lot of work to do in the area of refinement, but we haven’t experienced any major issues. Our car is well designed and well thought-out. We have test rigs, so the chassis had gone through [about 280,000 miles] of testing before we even started test-driving the car,” he added. Building a car that goes really fast in a straight line and around a bend is relatively easy compared to making it comfortable and docile to drive around town. Czinger wants the 21C to tick the speed and refinement boxes, because the market for bludgeon-like supercars no longer exists.

On-road testing stopped, but development continued. Czinger’s engineers didn’t spend the lock-down period playing Mario Kart on the Wii. Sverdrup revealed the company’s research and development department made several small changes, like improving the 21C’s downforce and shedding weight. It’s too early to tell how these tweaks will affect the car’s zero-to-60-mph time, which is pegged at 1.9 seconds, or its 268-mph top speed. However, he stressed the firm funds product development on its own instead of using deposits to pay for it.

“We’ve not been chasing deposits to fund our R&D. This approach makes us very different from many of the other brands we tend to be compared to. It feels really good not to [rely on deposits]. It means we believe in what we’re doing, we’re not fishing for interest, and we’re committed to doing this. We’ve invested the money up front; this is serious,” he noted.

Czinger should have shown the 21C in motion for the first time at the 2020 edition of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and it had invited a handful of journalists to take it for a spin, but the event was canceled. What’s next depends largely on the pandemic’s evolution, and whether lock-downs are once again enforced around the world. Production likely won’t start in 2021 as planned, Sverdrup told Autoblog 2022 is more likely, and the delay was inevitable considering the circumstances. Rivian — which has the keys to Amazon’s bottomless purse — had to push back R1T and R1S production until 2021 for the same reason, and even established companies like Chevrolet are struggling to deliver products on time. It won’t have time to build every 2020 Corvette ordered.

2020 is the wrong year to launch a car, or really anything that’s not a vaccine or a mask. Czinger takes comfort in the fact that most of the enthusiasts and potential customers who have seen the 21C so far have liked it.

“Response to the 21C has been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve seen some skepticism, of course. We’re a new brand. It’s up to us to be consistent, prove ourselves, and keep pushing to deliver good cars,” Sverdrup stated with a dose of realism we’ve rarely heard echoing through the automotive industry’s start-up corner.

Czinger will cap 21C production at 80 examples, but it doesn’t plan to stop there. It’s in the process of recruiting dealers, and they wouldn’t be doing that simply to sell 80 cars. While Sverdrup stopped short of telling us what’s next, he confirmed there are follow-up models in the pipeline. All will be quick, light, and exclusive, though some will be positioned below the 21C, which carries a base price of $1.7 million. “It’s not hypercar pricing, but it’s also not the Ford Mustang,” Sverdrup said.

And, regardless of what the company builds next, it will be manufactured using a 3D-printing technique developed in-house. It saves a tremendous amount of time and money by eliminating the need to design and manufacture tooling before launching production of, say, a suspension arm.

“It’s the future,” Sverdrup said. “I would be very surprised if, in 20 years, this is not the way cars are built.”

Maserati switching to in-house twin-turbo V6 and turbo four

Automotive News has been able to put some output figures to the two primary engines that will power Maserati’s renaissance. Last year the Italian luxury brand sent notice that it would terminate its deal to with Ferrari to use the Maranello-sourced F160 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 and F154 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8. As new Maserati models appear and current models are overhauled, the brand will begin installing either Maserati’s own 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6, or an FCA-sourced 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. The V6 will greet the world from the middle of the MC20 supercar poised for debut in September, assuming nothing goes worse with the world than it already has.

Rumor from Mopar Insiders and Allpar forums is that Maserati began building its V6 based on Alfa Romeo’s 690T V6. Alfa Romeo puts the 690T in the Stelvio and Giulia Quadrifoglio, the engine’s development having started seven years ago with Ferrari’s F154 V8 as its heart. Tuned for speed, peak output could reach 542 horsepower. After making its home in the racy coupe, the V6 will also serve a new midsize Maserati crossover coming next year, as well as the next GranTurismo coupe and GranCabrio convertible. In the crossover, power is apparently limited to no more than 523 horses.

In Maserati’s new V6, one piece of technology that permits such high output and emissions friendliness is turbulent jet ignition (TJI). German supplier Mahle has been developing the technology for at least 10 years, and put it to use in Ferrari’s Formula 1 engine about five years ago, after which Japan’s Super GT manufacturers picked it up. Instead of a spark plug igniting fuel directly in the combustion chamber, TJI places the spark plug and an injector nozzle at the top of a “jet ignition pre-chamber assembly.” The injector shoots a mist of gasoline into the pre-chamber, the spark plug fires, and the force of ignition in the pre-chamber sprays the combustion through tiny holes at the bottom of the pre-chamber into the cylinder as the piston rises. Mahle says the shorter burn and improved combustion spread means cleaner-burning gas engines that emit fewer emissions.  

AN says that the “new V-6 engine will be ‘electrified’ in some form.” It’s not clear if that means all versions of the V6 will get some sort of hybrid assistance, or if — as had been thought — there will be a non-hybrid unit. The last report we got on motivation for the MC20 strongly suggested a non-hybrid V6 at launch making around 600 hp, followed by a hybridized V6 with all-wheel drive good for 700 horsepower. The hybrid form is said to eventually replace the TT V8 in the upper-tier Ghibli and Quattroporte, but not before the Ferrari-sourced engine steps up to 582 hp later this year.

When AN writes that “Electrified versions of new V-6 eventually will replace 3.8-liter Ferrari-built turbocharged V8 in Maserati Levante, in two versions with 523 hp and 572 hp,” the opening adjective and the higher output lead us to believe in the chances of a non-electrified V6. 

The second engine will be the Global Medium Engine (GME) 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. That engine does duty right now in other group products such as the Jeep Wrangler and Cherokee, and Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio, topping out at 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. The mill makes its Maserati debut in the Ghibli hybrid that launches online on July 15.

McLaren Sports Series model with V6 hybrid delayed to 2021

In the middle of May, the McLaren Group began the hunt for up to $335 million to endure the downturn caused by the coronavirus, with the conglomerate ready to put every sacred asset on the block for collateral. A few days later, McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt told Automotive News Europe, “This will have cost us probably two years. [In] 2020, we’re going to do very little. I think it’ll take us the whole of ’21 to climb back [to] where we are.” Even though the Woking firm had already moved to cut supply in anticipation of lower sales, a 67% sales drop in Q1 this year led to McLaren laying off 1,200 employees — a quarter of the workforce — across Automotive, Racing, and Applied Technologies divisions. Another casualty of current events is the timeline for the anticipated plug-in hybrid model reported to replace the 570S in the entry-level Sports Series tier. Chatter had suggested McLaren would debut the car this summer and begin deliveries in some markets before the year ended. But Evo magazine reports the coupe will be on the tardy list, a company spokesperson telling PistonHeads the schedule has slid back “a handful of months.”

The PHEV represents a big step, being a volume model built on a brand new platform, powered by a brand new engine at the heart of a brand new powertrain. The twin-turbocharged V6 said to sit behind the cockpit inaugurates a life beyond the small-displacement V8 that has powered every McLaren Automotive product since a 3.8-liter twin-turbo unit entered service in the MP4-12C. We don’t know much about the V6, but spy shots appear to show that it will rev 500 rpm higher than the V8, to 8,000 rpm, and its peak output with electrical assistance will exceed the 570 horsepower in the 570S. The plug-in hybrid component contributes an Electric driving mode to Comfort and Sport modes, the powertrain supposedly able to go 21 miles on battery power. As for looks, the compact body seems to crib from the 720 S in front, the GT in the midsection, and add a lot of cooling apertures in the rear.

The “little” that Flewitt said McLaren would do this year means focusing on the Elva roadster, 765LT, and Speedtail. A spokesperson said testing and development have resumed, and “dealers are [also] already opening for appointments.” Since we’re still not halfway through 2020, it’s hard to imagine what anything will look like when — hell, if — the dust settles. It’s good bet, though, that McLaren could need to recalibrate the two dozen or so remaining models in its Track 25 strategy that envisions 18 new models by 2025.

Related Video:

Acura NSX, a pair of 2 Series Gran Coupes and a time machine | Autoblog Podcast #628

In this week’s Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by West Coast Editor James Riswick and Road Test Editor Zac Palmer. This week, they’re driving a 2020 Acura NSX, two versions of the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe (M235i and 228i) and the updated 2020 Honda Civic Si. Then, the gang gets to talking about what they’d drive in 1975 and 1985, along with plenty of other tangents. Finally, they wrap it up with news about the upcoming 2021 Acura TLX Type S and the fate of this year’s Woodward Dream Cruise.

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2020 Acura NSX Suspension Deep Dive

The Acura NSX has been a special car as long as I’ve been in the business. The first one came out in 1990, the same year I started my career in automotive engineering. I vividly remember driving one briefly back then when we brought one in for benchmarking. I’d drive it again 22 years later when my previous employer bought a used 1991 example for a long-term test. Reader interest was sky-high and the car was still gorgeous, but the march of time and automotive engineering had clearly left it behind.

Then, in 2016, a second-generation NSX emerged, and it was packed with bleeding-edge thinking. It has a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6, but this new NSX is a hybrid with an electric motor-generator sandwiched between the engine and its nine-speed DCT transmission. Two more electric motors – one for each wheel – power the front axle. There they can add traction, regenerate electricity under braking and dole out hyper-accurate levels of torque vectoring.

The car’s tire package was changed from Continental SportContact 5 to SportContact 6 tires in 2019, and numerous suspension re-tuning tweaks came along with them. The result is a lively and well-balanced car that is relentless when driven hard and a pussycat around town. Let’s see what they’ve got going on under there.

At first glance the 2020 Acura NSX appears to have dual wishbone front suspension. But we can’t tell for sure because that big two-piece brake rotor is in the way. The coil-over shock looks obvious, but a few odd details are apparent even from here.

This view also seems to indicate double wishbone suspension. But the pivot axis (green arrow) between the upper and lower ball joints looks wrong – it’s far too vertical. We’re missing something.

But I would be remiss if I failed to point out a few other things before we moved on. For one, the front drive axle confirms this to be an all-wheel-drive machine. Second, the forged aluminum damper mounting fork (yellow) that envelops the axle is mounted to the lower arm about 75% out from the arm’s inner pivot. The spring and damper motion ratio would be 0.75-to-1 relative to wheel movement, with a tiny reduction due to its lean angle.

Lastly, just look at the huge cast aluminum upright (white). Beautiful. Normally these are called hub carriers or steering knuckles, and I use the terms interchangeably. But the motorsports-derived term upright is normally applied when the piece is tall and, well, upright like this one.

This explains everything. The lower end of the upright is located by two forged aluminum links, each with its own outer ball joint. This type of suspension is often called Double Wishbone with Dual Lower Pivots even though we’re not technically looking at a wishbone.

That plastic piece is a fence that guides cooling air for the brakes. This will be your last look at it because I’m about to unbolt it.

The apparently too-vertical steering axis we saw earlier was a false first impression. The real lower pivot is a virtual point that lives in a physically impossible place where the lines of each link intersect. The angled forward link (yellow) locates the wheel in the fore-aft direction and absorbs longitudinal forces, while the rear lateral link (green) manages the camber angle and takes up cornering forces.

As you might expect, that virtual point moves about. Here’s what it looks like in action with the wheel off, and with the wheel on I can scrub the tire (and the driveway) to show where the pivot axis intersects the contact patch.

The point of all of this is to put the steering axis in a more favorable position relative to the tire’s contact patch in order to improve steering feel and lessen kickback and torque steer from the electric motors.

The actual pivot points do not reside where the nuts appear at the bottom. They live within the rubber bellows and the aluminum link. The two link ends are stacked and angled because they want them to be closer together than they could be if both were arrayed side-by-side on the same horizontal plane.

The arms and links of the front suspension are bolted to the chassis with what I call tie-bars, but I like the term dogbone used internally by Acura. The rear lateral link’s dogbone is spaced from the chassis by color-coded shims of varying thickness to achieve the desired camber angle.

The forged aluminum upper arm uses a low-mounted “in wheel” ball joint (yellow) similar to what we saw on the MX-5 Miata. That choice was made here for many of the same reasons: keep the hoodline and center of gravity low.

It’s mounted with a pair of dogbones, but the oddest bit may be that it serves as the attachment point for the front stabilizer bar’s end link (green). It’s mounted about 60% of the way out from the pivot for an approximate 0.6-to-1 motion ratio.

That non-standard link position does make it easy to locate the stabilizer bar itself in a quiet corner.

The NSX uses magnetorheological dampers (MR, but Mr. Dampers makes me smile) that are controlled by a system of suspension height sensors (yellow) at each corner, a steering angle sensor and g sensors. Probably others. The MR damper itself is made by BWI – the current patent holder – but Acura has developed its own control software and sensor suite.

MR dampers are continuously variable. The valving is fixed, but the viscosity of the damper fluid that passes through that valving can be varied proportionally by the application of an electrically-generated magnetic field. This gives them exceptionally quick reaction times.

Meanwhile, the upper mount pokes up to where we can see daylight and the yellow-painted underside of the hood.

The upper mount is laterally bolted to the chassis so the hoodline can be as low as possible. But it’s not a simple single-shear mount. Hidden stepped dowel extensions make it so the bolts aren’t doing everything on their own.

The brake master cylinder is mounted sideways and is operated by a stepper motor (yellow). This is common on hybrids and electric vehicles because they seek to prioritize magnetic “regenerative” braking for routine stops before using the pads and rotors. The brake pedal is attached to a smaller hydraulic cylinder to generate authentic feel and a pressure signal the system can use along with pedal position sensor data to calculate its response.

If this sounds like brake by wire, it absolutely is. And the feel is fantastic. Acura engineers told me the feeling can be so consistent that they had to program in an artificial “long pedal” to let an aggressive track-day driver know when the brakes were getting hot and losing effectiveness. If the by-wire system utterly fails – an exceedingly unlikely event – that smaller hydraulic cylinder attached to the pedal becomes the back-up system.

The brakes are made up of six-piston Brembo fixed calipers and two-piece rotors. Steel rotors are standard, but long-lasting lightweight ceramic ones that save 52 pounds of total unsprung mass are available as an option.

The calipers use an open-window design, but they have a bridge bolt stiffener (yellow) that must be removed before the pads can be extracted.

The initial view of the rear looks similar to what we first saw up front, except there are two calipers back here.

There’s another forged aluminum upper arm back here, and it’s mounted with dogbones that are deep-set into a vast ablation-cast aluminum section of the rear chassis.

The lower end of the rear damper (yellow) is mounted directly to the knuckle, which gives it a 1-to-1 motion ratio. This is a high mounting point above the rear axle, and the mounting bolt itself also anchors a bracket for the stabilizer bar end link (green), which means it has a 1-to-1 motion ratio, too.

Meanwhile, the rear position sensor’s strut (white) and its upper arm attachment are clearly visible.

The rear damper’s somewhat high lower mounting doesn’t indicate a short damper. Like most mid-engine cars, the rear of the NSX has high haunches. And the upper attachment is the same low-profile sideways-bolted mount we saw in the front.

The lower end of the rear knuckle is located by a pair of links, making this a multilink suspension that just happens to have one wishbone. Each carries a plastic brake cooling air deflector that must be removed so we can see better, but an unusual-looking nozzle (yellow) remains.

That noozle is the terminus of a tube that is enclosed within the forward half of the two-piece rear subframe, and the source of its air is a NACA duct located closer to the middle of the car.

The forward link is an angled semi-trailing link that is mainly concerned with the wheel’s fore-aft location. Its high mounting relative to its partner link is a sign of anti-squat rear geometry.

The lateral link’s dogbone attaches to the chassis in an angled orientation that makes its pivot axis (yellow) roughly line up with the forward link’s elevated pivot point.

As we saw up front, the rear wheel’s camber is adjusted via color-coded shims that are sandwiched between the dogbone and the chassis. This view also shows the overlapping interface of the two-piece subframe (green) at a point where both parts share a mounting bolt.

The toe link sits behind the rest, and it is quite a bit longer than its partners. Mid-engine cars are very responsive to steering inputs, so a healthy dose of roll understeer is necessary to keep them in line. This one has a turnbuckle (yellow) in the middle for easy static toe adjustments.

Here’s how this trio of links bolts to what is a tidy cast-aluminum knuckle.

No I didn’t forget about the rear stabilizer bar. Its pivots (yellow) are sandwiched between the rear subframe half and the chassis, and it arcs over the lateral link to meet its own connecting link (green). Try to ignore the bracket, which holds the air deflector I removed.

The main brake is a Brembo four-piston fixed caliper with an open pad-extraction window, while the smaller one is an electronically-controlled parking brake. The extremely flat central hat section of the two-piece brake rotor leaves no room for the in-hat drum parking brakes that less performance-minded cars tend to favor.

For their size, the Acura NSX’s wheel and tire package are admirably light. The 2019 and 2020 versions of the NSX use Continental SportContact 6 tires mounted on Y-spoke rims, a design that was chosen for its superior strength-to-weight ratio. It doesn’t hurt that they look fantastic, too. The 19-inch front rims are 8.5 inches wide, wear 245/35ZR19 tires and the assembly weighs just 41.5 pounds. The 20-inch rears are 11 inches wide, are shod with 305/30ZR20 tires and weigh just 54.5 pounds each.

There’s a lot of fascinating engineering hidden within the wheelhouses of the second-generation Acura NSX. And it all works beautifully. The 2020 NSX is an epic-handling machine that is also quite livable day-in day-out on the street. It is a thoroughly modern supercar, but it also plays homage to the original. It’s a pity we don’t see more of them out there on the road.

Contributing writer Dan Edmunds is a veteran automotive engineer and journalist. He worked as a vehicle development engineer for Toyota and Hyundai with an emphasis on chassis tuning, and was the director of vehicle testing at Edmunds.com (no relation) for 14 years.

Read more Suspension Deep Dives below and let us know which cars you’d like to see Dan put up onto the jack stand next …

Mazda MX-5 Miata Suspension Deep Dive

Toyota GR Supra Suspension Deep Dive

Porsche Taycan Turbo Suspension Deep Dive

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Ferrari mule lapping Fiorano could house V6 hybrid

Ferrari spoke of plans to add a V6 to its lineup two years ago, without dropping its two other trademark motors. The brand’s SVP of commercial and marketing, Enrico Galliera, told Australia’s WhichCar last year, “So the technology we are going to have, V12, V8, V6 turbo. Hybrid will give us the possibility to have a platform that we can mix to achieve emissions targets.” There’s been much chatter around when and where the V6 in turbo and/or hybrid form would show. We still don’t know, but it’s possible that we’ve had our first sound check for it, thanks to four brief videos on Instagram.

Instagram user simonemasetti_photography, a regular around Ferrari’s Fiorano test track in Maranello, captured the vids, while Instagrammer cochespias uploaded them. The camouflaged 488 mules lapping the circuit wear camo similar to that on a 488 mule spotted on Maranello roads with an electricity warning sticker on its frunk.

We can’t be certain of what engine lurks behind the cabin of the test cars, but all the cars are much quieter than one would expect Ferrari’s 3.9-liter twin-turbo V8 to be. In the first video, the coupe accelerates so hard that a long lick of fire shoots out the exhaust, with only a gentle ‘whoosh’ — no wail or roar — to accompany it. The third vid makes the best comparison, the one that opens on two 488-looking coupes in the far distance, one black and one camo’d. When the camo’d car takes off, moving away from the camera, we hear the sound we’d expect from a charging Ferrari V8. However, when the car we suspect is a hybrid V6 passes right in front of the camera, even under acceleration it makes hardly any noise compared to the car in the distance.

These cars, in fact, sound just like the car Masetti caught testing at Fiorano last September, which he believes is the V6 hybrid.

No matter what’s being tested, we know little about Maranello’s V6. One origin story says the mill has been developed from the 2.9-liter twin-turbo six-cylinder in the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, which itself is suspected to be derived from the 3.9-liter twin-turbo V8 in the F8 Tributo. Another origin story figures the V6 is a brand new engine. No matter where it began, consensus is that the hybrid unit will enter production around 2022 and produce more than 720 horsepower.

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McLaren Speedtail reveals its hybrid powertrain secrets, and of course it’s impressive

Until now, McLaren has been keeping secrets about its three-seat Speedtail hypercar. We’ve known it’s packing a hybrid powertrain that produces a combined 1,055 horsepower and 848 pound-feet of torque, but that’s about it. Today, McLaren is spilling the beans, and what impressive beans they are.

The combustion engine is a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, rated for 747 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque on its own. Its output is nearly identical to that of the 765LT (rated for 755 horsepower and 590 pound-feet). And yes, the two are both equipped with McLaren’t M840T engines. However, the Speedtail’s hybrid powertrain is named M840TQ, since it features an electric motor to help it along.

And help the Speedtail along it does. McLaren says the single electric motor generates 308 horsepower on its own, which is an astounding figure for its application. The tech on display here is derived from Formula E, and McLaren is claiming it’s the “highest performing installation — including cooling and integration — of any electric motor currently in use in a production road car.” 

McLaren is also bragging about its new battery unit. It’s a 1.647-kilowatt-hour (mighty precise there, McLaren) cylindrical-shaped unit that’s “arranged in a unique way.” What way? McLaren doesn’t say. However, it’s an extremely compact unit, and McLaren claims it’s able to provide the best power-to-weight ratio of any high-voltage battery available today. It says the power density of the battery is four times that of the McLaren P1, the company’s only other hybrid vehicle

As for the cooling system, it’s also state-of-the-art. McLaren says the cells are “thermally controlled by a dielectrical cooling system and permanently immersed in a lightweight, electrically insulative oil which quickly transfers heat away from the cells.” This cooling technology is also being claimed as a first in a production road car. The benefit? It’s highly efficient, and will “allow the cells to run harder and for longer.” All of this is great news for future hybrid McLaren supercars, which are coming soon.

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Ferrari SF90 Stradale Spider spied out testing for the first time

The Ferrari SF90 Stradale is the most powerful and most tech-forward road car to come out of Maranello ever. It’s a plug-in hybrid that puts out a combined 986 horsepower between the boosted V8 and three electric motors. So, of course it’s getting a convertible variant.

These spy shots are our first look at what is likely the SF90 Spider. It’s not exactly clear that this heavily covered up Ferrari is a convertible at a glance. However, the shark fin antenna has been moved from the roof to the rear deck, indicating to us that it might not work on the roof anymore. The bump for the new location is around where we’d expect the engine cover to be. As for the rest of the car, Ferrari does a hell of a job making this supercar look like a shapeless blob. The dual exhaust exits in the same place as the coupe, mounted high up on the rear fascia. Its big, scalloped side air intakes are also semi-visible.

We can’t see the taillights, but Ferrari has left part of the headlight element uncovered. These closely resemble the look of the standard SF90 Stradale. They’re relatively small, horizontal in shape and have small, powerful-looking LED beams.

Expect the Spider to be nearly as quick as the coupe that’s rated to go 0-62 mph in just 2.5 seconds. The all-wheel drive Ferrari is equipped with an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Ferrari estimates an electric range of 15.5 miles when the battery is fully charged, so it’ll only be useful for short trips. Deliveries for the coupe are expected to begin this year. We haven’t heard any hard timing for a convertible yet, but expect a reveal sometime in the next year or two.

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Czinger 21C comes in 1,331-hp widebody version, too

Two months after Czinger introduced its 21C tandem-seater hypercar in regular and track-focused trims, there’s already another variant on the table. Jens Sverdrup, the company’s chief commercial officer, told Pistonheads that Czinger wanted to have a widebody derivative with a higher output ready for the Geneva Motor Show, but that didn’t happen. Sverdrup detailed the new version, explaining that engineers tweaked the 2.9-liter twin-turbo V8 and the twin high-power electric motors to increase output by an extra 98 horsepower, from 1,233 hp to 1,331, without increasing the weight of the 992-pound entire hybrid powertrain. This makes what was already the most power-dense V8 engine in the world even more power-dense. The widebody component shows itself in new bodywork over a wider track and wider tires, and it gets its own chassis tune. Said Sverdrup, “Anybody who buys one of our 80 21Cs can tick for a widebody version on the options list, giving them a hypercar that might not be the best for narrow Scottish or Welsh roads, but will definitely be great for the race track.”

Czinger’s spending the time before deliveries begin in 2021 honing engine characteristics to ensure tractability throughout the V8’s 11,000-rpm rev range. We’ve been promised a coupe that’s tame around town, Sverdrup saying, “With the hybrid system you can lean more on the batteries at low revs for more refinement at low speed.” Get above 6,000 rpm, however, and it apparently sounds like “an old F1 engine.”

The California company’s vision for life after the 21C is also in the works, with three models slated to launch starting in 2023. These could be more practical than the opening act, adopting 21C philosophies from the powertrain to the build, and continuing the push toward synthetic fuels. With Czinger backed in part by 3D-printer Divergent 3D and Hong Kong venture capital, engineers are already considering how to design a monocoque with built-in cavities for wiring and fluids, and “complex internal structures that enhance crash safety.” 

The 80 planned builds for the 21C should keep the company busy for the next few years, each car said to take 3,000 to 4,000 man-hours to print and assemble. As for the question of whether Czinger will be around that long, of course, one never knows, but the company supposedly has funding for the next three projects already and, unusual in this space especially, Czinger isn’t asking for deposits for the 21C in order to pay for production. Seeing the dealer network is planned to include “20 established supercar sellers in Europe” by the end of this year, further insight into what’s ahead shouldn’t be long in coming.

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McLaren hybrid sports series prototype spied, possible 570S successor

McLaren has repeatedly said it plans to go hybrid with all of its vehicles in the future. The latest rumors out of Britain point at plans to reveal the first of this new hybrid lineup sometime this year. This heavily camouflaged prototype could be the one we’re waiting for — it even says “hybrid prototype” on the side sill.

Its size and general shape means it’s likely part of McLaren’s Sports Series. The camo does an excellent job of disguising what the sheetmetal underneath looks like. If we had to guess, this car looks like it’d be a replacement for the 570S model. Assuming we’re right about that, it’s probably hiding McLaren’s yet-to-be-revealed twin-turbo V6 engine. Add the electric power into the equation, and it’s likely going to be making much more combined power than the twin-turbo V8 is able to produce on its own now. McLaren’s hybrids are also rumored to be of the plug-in variety, capable of driving about 20 miles off electric power.

The camouflage over top of the engine bay appears to be tented, and it looks a bit like the McLaren GT because of it with the gently sloping line to the back. We don’t even get to see how large the side air intakes are since McLaren has covered these up quite well, too. The high-mounted dual exhaust has us giddy. Its placement reminds us of the 720S exhaust pipes. Under all that is a giant diffuser and wide rubber pushed to the edges of the car.

Last we heard, McLaren was going to release a hybrid model this year, and it would go on sale in 2021. We wouldn’t be surprised if these targets are pushed back due to delays stemming from the coronavirus.

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2020 Lamborghini Huracan Evo has the biggest price discount in America

Right now, buyers of the 2020 Lamborghini Huracan Evo are paying an average of $248,000 to drive the brand-new supercar off the dealer lot. That’s a hefty chunk of change, but it represents $16,269 off the car’s average $264,969 retail price, according to data provided to Autoblog by Truecar. That’s the largest discount in America on a new vehicle for the month of April, 2020 when judged by the dollar amount in savings off the sticker.

It’s not all that uncommon to see a lot of money taken off the sticker price of expensive luxury cars. This month, right behind the Lamborghini sits the 2019 BMW 8 Series with a few bucks shy of $11,000 in savings, which is hardly surprising. Though it’s a very sleek and entertaining car in some of its various incarnations, it hasn’t exactly proven to be a hot seller for the German automaker. The fact that there are a total of 15 (!) possible configurations probably doesn’t help. Two other BMWs, the 2020 7 Series ($10,164 in savings) and the 2019 i8 ($10,145) are also on the top 10 biggest discounts list.

In between that BMW sandwich are the 2019 and 2020 editions of the Acura NSX. It doesn’t really matter which one a buyer chooses to drive off the lot, either way lopping off more than $10,000 off the sticker price means the electrified supercar will cost just under $150k.

For a look at the best new car deals in America based on the percentage discount off their suggested asking prices, check out our monthly recap here. And when you’re ready to buy, click here for the Autoblog Smart Buy program, which brings you a hassle-free buying experience with over 9,000 Certified Dealers nationwide.

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Koenigsegg Gemera and Jesko Absolut strut on the supercar maker’s runway

The world seems like a pretty terrible place right now, but there are good things in it, like the two monster Koenigsegg supercars the company revealed a month ago. The Koenigsegg Gemera four-door supercar and the Jesko Absolut high-speed hypercar were showstoppers from the Geneva Motor Show that didn’t happen. And now Koenigsegg released more photos of each at the airfield where its headquarters is located.

Leading the galleries is the Gemera, the newest of the two cars. Besides its unusual shape, a result of having four seats all suitable for adults but still just two doors, it has remarkable technology backing it up. It’s a plug-in hybrid using three electric motors and a turbocharged three-cylinder engine with no camshafts. And it makes a total of 1,700 horsepower. It even has heated and cooled cupholders for each passenger. It’s brilliantly outrageous.

The Jesko Absolut is also wild. It’s aiming to be the fastest car in the world, which would mean a top speed in the 300-mph range. It has potential with the same 1,600-horsepower twin-turbo V8 from the regular Jesko, but is more aerodynamic by losing the rear wing and other drag reductions. It also gets the nifty automatic transmission that can shift to any gear immediately, even out of sequence.

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Aston Martin confirms 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 for Valhalla

When the Aston Martin Valhalla hits the scene in 2022 (hopefully), it will be powered by an all-new 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine that will be fortified and electrified in a hybrid configuration that we don’t yet know much about. Interestingly, Aston Martin says the V6’s hybrid element will be tuned and sized for each specific vehicle in which it’s installed. In the Valhalla, the dry-sump engine will be mounted directly behind the passenger compartment, and its so-called ‘hot V’ design will allow for relatively compact dimensions. And compact also means lightweight — the automaker says the complete engine weighs less than 440 pounds.

Just the fact that the British automaker is investing the engineering effort to produce a new engine is significant. The company hasn’t engineered its own in-house powertrain since 1969, when Tadek Marek’s 5.3-liter V8 engine found its way under the hood of Aston Martin’s aptly named DBS V8. The new 3.0-liter V6 is codenamed TM01 in Marek’s honor. With that in mind, we expect this powerplant to serve in various Aston Martin models for a number of years.

We look forward to further details in the future, especially the all-important horsepower and torque figures. In the meantime, feel free to peruse the high-resolution image gallery above, where you’ll see intricately milled castings along with the engine undergoing dyno testing and running red hot with the lights down low.

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Maserati MC20 appears in artsy, blurry teaser

Maserati said it’s entering a new era. Judging by these teaser shots of the a camouflaged MC20 prototype supercar, it’s clear Maserati plans to strut its way into that new era con il coraggio and braggadocio. Maserati took its future flagship to the Piazza degli Affari in Milan, for a set of mostly blurry photos in front of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s sculpture called “L.O.V.E.” Maserati called the artwork “a symbol of Italian audacity in international contemporary art,” for the sake of clarity, we’ll call it a giant marble bird flipped at anyone who might ask, “You talkin’ to me?”

The MC20 is thought to be built around the carbon chassis laid up for the 4C, stretched lengthwise and across to create an overall larger package. We can’t tell much about the real masterpiece in the photos, but it is clear the MC20 prototype has shed its gawky bodywork borrowed from the Alfa Romeo 4C to slip into something more comfortable. A very Maserati nose leads with a large grille and sits prominently ahead of the other bodywork. Behind that, an Italianate supercar form combines plenty of intakes, deep side skirts, a seamless rake to the backlight, and a short rear overhang.

In back, powertrains developed at Maserati and for Maserati should make all sorts of lusty noises. The top powertrain is expected to be a hybrid V6 with three electric motors and around 600 horsepower, there’s hearsay about an all-electric model, and rumors of a turbocharged V8 won’t die. The only gearbox mentioned so far is an eight-speed dual-clutch shooting power to the rear wheels. Autoevolution believes the hybrid engine will translate into a sprint to 62 miles per hour in around two seconds and a top speed beyond 186 miles per hour, just the kind of giddy-up one would expect from a challenger aimed at the Lamborghini Huracán Evo. If anything, 600 hp sounds conservative seeing as the Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA gets 540 hp from its 2.9-liter turbocharged V6 without electric help. The MC20 will take on Lamborghini’s championship-winning finest on the track, too, the MC20 — for Maserati Corse 2020 — surely headed for an FIA entry in track-only form.

For now, the MC20 continues its driving program to prepare for its debut in May. The coupe version should come first, going on sale in Europe late this year and in the U.S. sometime next year, followed by a convertible variant.

The 1,700-hp Koenigsegg Gemera hybrid has two more seats than any Bugatti

The rumor was right. Koenigsegg has just unveiled the Gemera, an all-new member to the family that sports four seats, two scissor doors, and a massively powerful hybrid powertrain that still allows for pure electric driving. In the same breath, Koenigsegg also unveiled the Jesko Absolut, the fastest road car the company will ever produce.

As the brand’s first four-seater, the Gemera marks the start of a new era for Koenigsegg. While others, even many of the world’s top performance names, are making high-utility crossovers and SUVs, Koenigsegg has chosen to add function while maintaining the coolness factor of a coupe. A real coupe. Who cares if you have to cram into a rear seat when the cramming is achieved through a scissor door? 

With the Gemera, which has a shape inspired by an egg, Koenigsegg aimed to make a car with the personality of a mid-engined two-seater but the practicality of a road-trip vehicle. CEO Christian von Koenigsegg says he’s been planning this car since 2003 and wanted to make sure every seat is equally as spacious and comfortable, unlike many 2+2s that only have two usable seats. 

The front seats are made from hollow carbon-fiber monocoques and weigh only 37.5 pounds. The slim design of the seats, which integrates the back into the bottom, and the nature of the scissor doors mean ingress and egress is simple and doesn’t require moving the front seats. 

The rest of the interior is focused on luxury. The sideview mirrors have been replaced with cameras, seats are heated and cooled, the front and rear each both have large digital infotainment touchscreens to control entertainment and climate, each seat has a hot and a cold cup holder, and the audio system has 11 speakers. The clever design packaging allows all this, plus storage for four pieces of luggage, three in the rear and one up front.

The Gemera will coddle and comfort, but it will also thrill with its high-tech hybrid powertrain. Koenigsegg claims 1,700 bhp and 2,581 lb-ft of torque, and a zero-to-62-mph sprint in 1.9 seconds. This is accomplished with a combination of three electric motors, a twin-turbocharged 2.0-liter three-cylinder camless gas engine, and a direct-drive transmission. It also has all-wheel drive, all-wheel torque vectoring, and all-wheel steering.

Two of those electric motors, each of which makes 500 bhp and 738 lb-ft of torque, are on the rear wheels. A third e-motor is attached to the engine crankshaft and makes 400 bhp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Simultaneously, these electric motors make 1,100 bhp. Working with the e-motor to propel the front wheels is what Koenigsegg calls the Tiny Friendly Giant (TFG) engine. It is rated at 600 bhp and 443 lb-ft of torque and uses the company’s Freevalve technology. 

The Gemera, which uses carbon fiber for the chassis, body, and wheels, is built to be eco-conscious, as well. An 800-V, 15-kWh battery allows up to approximately 31 miles of totally electric driving, and the car has an overall range of 621 miles. The Gemera is a flex-fuel vehicle, too, so it can run on Gen 2.0 ethanol or C02-neutral methanol. That means it could potentially be as C02-friendly as an electric vehicle, under certain circumstances.

Koenigsegg is limiting Gemera production to 300 vehicles.

Jesko Absolut

Koenigsegg says the Jesko Absolut is the fastest car it’s ever made, and that “the company will never endeavor to make a faster series-production road car – ever.” So, it’s likely Koenigsegg will make faster one-offs and track specials, but this will be the pinnacle of speed, and will be used to chase the top-speed record.

The Jesko launched as an all-new Koenigsegg in 2019, and the Absolut continues its story with a different purpose. With the Absolut, Koenigsegg set out to reduce drag as much as possible and make the Jesko as slippery as possible. That started with reducing downforce, so the massive wing was replaced with two fins inspired by F-15 fighter jets. These fins “clean up airflow over the rear end,” which helps increase high-speed stability. 

Further reducing the drag coefficient to 0.278, Koenigsegg extended the rear hood, added rear wheel covers, lowered the ride height, removed the front wheel louvres, and removed the front hood closed air duct. The front suspension, which is more compact that the setup found on the Jesko, is also slightly softer, which makes the car more comfortable on the road, as well.

Getting comfortable with the power might be a different story. The engine is unchanged from the Jesko, so it carries on with the twin-turbocharged V8 that is connected to a nine-speed transmission. The engine revs up to 8,500 rpm, and Koenigsegg claims 1,600 bhp on E85 fuel. Unique innovations also allow drivers to shift from any gear to any other gear. 

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Czinger releases full specs on 21C hybrid hypercar

A week ago, LA-based Czinger teased its 21C hypercar with a video and a promise of “dominating performance.” Now that all the specs are out before the coupe’s reveal at the Geneva Motor Show, on paper at least, it appears “dominating” was the correct choice of words. We’ll start with the performance: Zero to 62 miles per hour in 1.9 seconds — making 0-60 perhaps faster; the quarter-mile in 8.1 seconds at 170 mph; zero to 186 mph and back to zero in 15 seconds; zero to 248 mph and back to zero in 29 seconds, which would eclipse the Koenigsegg Regera’s record of 31.49 seconds set last September.

Assuming the 21C can bring those numbers to life, how does the coupe do it? There’s a 2.88-liter twin-turbo V8 with a flat-plane crank stowed amidships driving the rear wheels, good for 950 horsepower. (To get a sense of the march of progress, the 2.855-liter twin-turbo V8 in the 1984 Ferrari 288 GTO produced 350 hp.) Each front wheel gets a high-powered electric motor, serving up all-wheel drive and a combined output of 1,232 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque at 10,500 rpm, 500 rpm short of redline. The 21C in standard road guise without the big rear wing has a curb weight of 1,250 kilograms (2,756 pounds), and with a metric horsepower rating of 1,250 hp, we’re talking about a 1:1 power-to-weight ratio. The 21C Lightweight track-focused car with the big rear wing weighs just 1,218 kg (2,685 pounds). Shifting through a seven-speed automated manual transmission, the road car maxes out at 268 mph, the track car produces more than three times the road car’s downforce so its top speed comes in at 236 mph.

The e-motors get juice from a lithium-titanate battery, the same pack composition used by the Mitsubishi i-Miev and Honda Fit EV, an integrated starter-generator helping to deliver power where needed. Czinger says the entire powertrain was designed and is built in-house, and it’s flex-fuel — owners can fill up with Vulcanol, described as “a renewable methanol made from captured carbon dioxide,” assuming they can find it.

Czinger is only making 80 examples of the 21C, using its proprietary “vertical assembly,” 3D-printed build processes that combine carbon fiber, high-performance alloys, and other materials, topped off with book-matched carbon fiber bodywork. Road & Track has a good writeup on the production system. Company founder Kevin Czinger explained that the 3D-printed parts are expected to last the lifetime of the car, but if any need to be replaced, they can be dissolved into their original powder and reconstituted to serve a different purpose.

Each 21C comes with a reported price of $1.7 million before the obligatory options and fripperies. We look forward to checking this one out in Geneva, and we’ll take the one with the wing, please.

Koenigsegg bringing a new hybrid 2+2 to Geneva?

Koenigsegg hosted its global dealer network for a shindig at its Angelholm, Sweden, headquarters last month. During the event, the hypercar maker tweeted an image of employees standing next to five Koenigsegg models under black sheets. It was thought these represented the cars Koenigsegg will bring to next month’s Geneva Motor Show. At least one of those five is rumored to be the Jesko-based Mission 500 concept, the rocket that CEO Christian Koenigsegg will use to challenge the top speed record. The Supercar Blog credits sources for information on another of the five, it supposedly being a hybrid 2+2 called the KG12. 

If the rumors are close to true, the extra two seats — and we use the words “seats” generously — wouldn’t be the only break with Koenigsegg tradition. TSB‘s insider says the heart of the KG12’s hybrid powerplant will be a 2.0-liter, three-cylinder engine engineered with the carmaker’s camless FreeValve system. Combined with an electric motor or motors, total output is thought to be around 1,500 horsepower. If such a thing shows up at Geneva, predicted to be on display under a glass engine cover, it will be in the running for the wildest and most innovative propulsion system at the show.

Design standards like the wraparound windshield and dihedral synchro-helix doors are expected to make the cut, but those doors might be longer than usual so as to provide better access to whatever fits in the back seat. TSB writes that the KG12 will cost around €1.4 million ($1.5 million U.S.), with deliveries to begin in 2022 and production limited to 300 units. 

One big question is whether the KG12 is, or has anything to do with, the affordable Koenigsegg supercar that’s been on simmer in the background for a few years. A year ago, reports said the car would come to this year’s Geneva show. However, the least expensive Koenigsegg has been imagined with the firm’s naturally-aspirated V8 paired with hybrid assistance, getting something like 1,050 hp, and a price tag of anywhere from €600,000 to €800,000 ($650,000-$850,000). We’ll have an answer in two weeks.

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Czinger preparing 21C hybrid hypercar for Geneva debut

Kevin Czinger — with a silent C — has spent the past 11 years that we know of trying out various automotive concepts in Southern California. The Yale Law School graduate who built hot rods as a youth in Cleveland co-founded Coda Automotive in 2009, which tried to get off the ground with a re-engineered Chinese sedan converted to an all-electric powertrain. Coda went under in 2013. In 2014. The next year, Czinger started Divergent 3d, which revealed the Blade supercar in 2015. Czinger’s point with the Blade was to convert automakers to novel production techniques, the Blade’s chassis and body created with 3D-printed aluminum alloy. In 2019, Czinger formed an eponymous company taking the Blade as the inspiration for the Czinger 21C hybrid hypercar. In a previous interview with Road and Track, which deserves a read, Czinger said, “We’re looking to combine computing power, science, and additive manufacturing into one system.”  

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The 21C could be that blend, having clearly come a long way from the Blade. We don’t know much about the coupe, Czinger preferring to wait for details until its debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month. The moody reveal video shows off the suite of hypercar cues like diminutive overhangs, the fulsome fenders, angry LED headlights, plenty of vents, center-lock wheels twirling around giant carbon ceramic rotors and beefy calipers, a serious wing hanging off the back, and what looks like a top-mount dual exhaust. Tandem seating — passenger behind driver — carries over from the Blade, and the copious exposed carbon fiber bodywork hides plenty of 3D-printed components. The brace connecting the carbon fiber steering column housing to the instrument panel, for instance, looks a prime culprit for additive manufacturing. The full-width roller coaster brake light ensures everyone behind the 21C will remember what they’ve just seen. 

The powertrain is an unknown beyond the descriptive that it’s a “strong hybrid” developed in-house to deliver “dominating performance.” Strong would be the correct word if the video can be trusted; at the 0:28 mark, the digital rev counter shows a redline beyond 10,000 rpm. We’ll know more come Geneva.

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Ferrari SF90 Stradale shows how it was made in new video

Supercar geeks! Stop what you’re doing and watch this, preferably somewhere quiet where you can listen to the ambient, ethereal music. It’s a nearly 10-minute video Ferrari released titled “Manufacturing the SF90 Stradale,” and it offers a dream-like look at the production of its first-ever plug-in hybrid ahead of its launch this year.

What we see isn’t exactly sequential — 3D digital modeling and virtual reality are shown at the end, after we’ve seen the physical car being built — but it’s nonetheless an interesting look at the artistry side and painstakingly detailed preparation of manufacturing a 986-horsepower Italian supercar.

The video opens with a visit to the foundry, where molten aluminum is poured into molds and we see gloved hands and robots assembling parts for the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, its most powerful V8 yet at 769 hp. Ferrari says its engineers increased the capacity on the F154-heritage engine to 3,990 cc from 3,902 cc via a larger, 88-millimeter bore. There’s also a new, narrower cylinder head with a central injector, a Ferrari V8-first 350-bar GDI and a larger intake and redesigned exhaust system.

From there, there’s lots more eye candy, as we’re taken through body assembly, the paint shop, digital and clay modeling, interior parts assembly, and so forth. It finishes with a shot of the completed car in red against a dark background.

Other notables in the SF90 include four powertrain modes controlled by buttons on the steering wheel, including up to 15 miles in all-electric with front-wheel drive relying on the two front electric motors. The hybrid modes activate a third e-motor located at the rear axle, between the engine and the eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. The SF90 is also the first Ferrari to use all-wheel drive, which the company says was necessary to fully exploit the hybrid power.

The video can only mean that we’re getting close to launch, and it’s sure to whet the appetites of those privileged enough to afford one.

Ferrari Roma platform to underpin Purosangue SUV, as product roadmap takes shape

To create the Roma, Ferrari started with the platform used for the Portofino convertible. Engineers strengthened and lightened the architecture and made it modular, so that it will support the company’s range of front-engined vehicles included in CEO Louis Camilleri’s near-term product roadmap of 15 new vehicles over the next three years. Auto Express reports one of those products will be the Purosangue SUV – or FUV, Ferrari Utility Vehicle if you heed the carmaker’s marketers – expected to debut in 2021 before going on sale in 2022 or 2023. The breadth of possibility built into the platform means it can swallow Ferrari’s range of V8 and V12 engines, as well as the coming V6, plus plug-in hybrid equipment and all-wheel drive mechanicals. 

Although observers figure a V12 Purosangue will grace the lineup eventually, models with smaller engines braced with hybrid assistance are expected first. The V12, in fact, is unlikely to get a hybrid form if Ferrari can help it, the brand’s marketing manager saying, “To be honest, electrifying a V12 means creating, very probably, a heavy and big car. So electrification ideally should be coupled with smaller engines.” Absent Ferrari’s righteous 6.5-liter V12, Ferrari’s head of technology says there will be other ways the vehicle codenamed “175” distinguishes itself from V8-powered super-SUV competition, but wouldn’t clarify what those ways are.

We’ll guess the people-hauler slots into the company’s GT vehicle classification alongside the GTC4Lusso, Portofino, and Roma. In the next decade, the GT category grows with a new supercar that marks “the return of an elegant model” cued off classic, mid-20th-century Ferrari Gran Turismos, as well as a battery-electric car after 2025. The Sport Range includes the 812Superfast and 812 GTS, 488 and 488 Pista, and SF90 Stradale. The Icona line kicked off with the Monza SP1 and SP2, and will expand with “timeless design[s] of iconic Ferraris reinterpreted with innovative materials and state of the art technologies.” One-offs like the F12 TRS, SP12 EC and SP38 form the Special Series. The carmaker’s entire range will be split across two modular platforms, one for front-engined placement, one mid-engined.

At the pointy end of the product roadmap, it’s thought Ferrari’s already begun development of its LaFerrari successor. Said to use a naturally-aspirated V12 without electric help, it will produce less output than found in the 986-horsepower, hybrid-V8-powered SF90, while at the same time Ferrari says the new model will be faster than the hybrid-V12-powered LaFerrari. Due sometime after 2022, the new small-run screamer will focus on lightness, controllability and aerodynamics.