All posts in “spy photos”

Ferrari supercar spy photos may show LaFerrari successor

Ferrari has made big news with the launch of its first ever crossover in the Purosangue, perhaps to the chagrin of the Ferrari faithful. But it seems the supercar builder will have something for traditional fans soon. Spy photos show a serious-looking prototype, and we suspect it’s a successor to the automaker’s last flagship, the LaFerrari.

This prototype does still look like a fairly early prototype, sporting slightly blocky bodywork and parts bin lights. We’re also not expecting the giant fixed rear wing to appear on the final product, especially since it looks like the struts are mounted in slots where a retractable piece would go.

But there’s still plenty to glean. The center section of the body, mainly the cockpit and roofline are probably close to production. That cockpit is particularly narrow, and, like the LaFerrari, features a door panel that goes into the roof, likely to aid entry, and a rear window that tapers toward the rear, boat-tail style. The overall body is also fairly rudimentary, but between the substantial width, aggressive diffuser and giant wing, this car will probably have impressive amounts of downforce.

There’s still a lot that’s unknown about this new supercar. The powertrain is probably the biggest mystery. We’re willing to bet it will be a hybrid of some sort, just as the LaFerrari was and as more modern Ferraris such as the 296 GTB are becoming. The number of cylinders is the question, as well as whether forced induction will be used. It would be nice to see one final top-end application of a Ferrari V12 before emissions and fuel economy regulations make it non-viable.

Also, while this prototype suggests there’s still a decent amount of development remaining, we wouldn’t be surprised if the car is revealed in the next year or so. Ferrari has a rough cadence of 10 years between flagship supercars starting with the F40. That has fluctuated by a year or two either way, but with that in mind, we’re coming up on a decade since the launch of the LaFerrari.

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Lamborghini applies to trademark V12 hybrid sounds in EV mode

Lamborghini is sprinkling various European intellectual property offices with bits of its future V12 super sports car it wants to protect. The internet continues to dig those bits up. After a couple of spy specialists found line drawings of the hybrid V12 coupe filed with the World Intellectual Property Office in North Macedonia, CarBuzz dredged up a sound clip of the V12 in pure electric mode filed with the European Intellectual Property Office. Spy shots have showed the car will come with a City Mode that’s expected to enable battery-only motivation. The audio clip appears to present three modes of the electric driving sounds required of all electric-capable vehicles to warn pedestrians of the EV’s approach.

CarBuzz believes the first sample was made under steady-state driving. It sounds a little like dark ambient ASMR with some wind in the background, like something from Atrium Carceri or Metatron Omega. The second would be under acceleration, the sinister electric symphony rising in pitch then fading as the unheard V12 internal combustion engine takes over. The last clip would be the reverse, as the V12 gives way to the battery again.

There’s nothing amiss in any of the sounds, but we find ourselves thinking there’s nothing especially Lamborghini about them, either. That’s not a slight against the crew from Sant’ Agata, that’s a statement about what the future of hybrid and electric supercars could mean to us everywhere outside of a highway or Cars and Coffee. It could make Dodge’s Fratzonic Exhaust that much more interesting assuming the production sonics match what we’ve been told, and a recent Ferrari patent shows a rival group of Italians trying to forestall roads full of computer monitor noises with a “sonority current.”

Lamborghini’s upcoming V12 hybrid leaked in patent images

Varryx and Wilco Block are two Euro-based car enthusiasts we’ve come to know mostly for their ability to get spy video and images of coming treats. They’ve both done it again, both on Instagram, and both with the same car, publishing a series of design patent drawings. Lamborghini Automobili SpA submitted figures of its hybrid V12 successor to the Aventador to the North Macedonian bureau of the World Intellectual Property Office, perhaps hoping the out-of-the-way geographic location would translate to an out-of-the-way digital sequestration before the reveal this spring. But the Internet hates keeping secrets, so here we are. What we’re privy to are every major angle of a coupe that looks like it has the design of the Aventador as its foundation, bookended by fascias from a couple of Aventador-based specials. Varryx provided the colors for the image above. 

Lamborghini said design of the Sián FKP 37 “is just for the Sián.” Fundamentally, perhaps, yes. But in the patent images, the tall, horizontal-y-shaped lighting DRL that welcomes the sharp, pincer-like curve of the front fenders, and the lower intake outlines make clear connection to the Sián. The Huracán Tecnica is the bridge, the V10-powered coupe adopting another take on the Sian’s style. The vertical spat behind the front wheels could also trace its lineage from the limited edition super sports car. The rest of the middle is all Aventador, a swelling body and large side intakes embracing the low cabin and naturally aspirated V12. In back, it’s the Centennario, a special edition introduced at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. The six long strakes on the immense diffuser mimic the number on the Centennario, the difference being the coming production car moves its exhaust up high, where two Centennario taillights flank with two large hexagonal ports instead of the show car’s three small tips down low.

That engine will be an all-new V12 unit in a new drivetrain, we’ve been told, aided by a small battery and some supercapacitor tech that’s another nod to the Sián. Total output’s a mystery, but the Aventador Ultimae clocked 769 horses, the Countach 800 horses, and those not only didn’t have hybrid help, they were lighter. Fear not about the weight, automaker CEO Stephan Winkelmann says drivers won’t feel the additional weight. We wouldn’t be surprised to hear a number higher than 800. The transmission adds a clutch to the Aventador’s one, sending power through a dual-clutch system that will eliminate the Aventador’s characteristic tidal motion especially at low speeds. Preliminary performance specs outed by the chief estimate a 0-62 time under 2.9 seconds and a top speed beyond 218 mph.

The interior will carry on with a digital gauge cluster and add another screen to the center console. A City driving mode will activate pure-electric driving.

Expect a debut in March. Lamborghini says there are already 3,000 buyers in line, so set your sights on the second model year.

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Refreshed Aston Martin DB11 appears in spy photos

At nearly 7 years old, the Aston Martin DB11 is starting to show its age, so it makes sense that we’d see at least an updated version like the one in these spy photos. They show a thinly disguised coupe, and the design revisions are pretty minimal, too. But they should come with some useful upgrades under the new body.

The front fascia is really about all that’s changed on this car. The front grille is much larger, extending farther down and farther to each side than on the current DB11. The old slatted grille is gone, too, in favor of a very large egg-crate mesh. It looks as though the headlights may be updated, too, but it’s a bit difficult to tell for sure. As for the rest of the car, it’s pretty much identical to the current car.

This is all in keeping with the report last February that the entire Aston Martin lineup would be updated, and not just stylistically. Powertrain updates are apparently coming, with hybrids on the horizon. Nothing on this car indicates it’s a hybrid, though, and the hybrids are probably another year out. Odds are, we’ll see more powerful versions of the base AMG twin-turbo 4.0L V8 and the Aston twin-turbo 5.2L V12 first. Additionally, updated infotainment systems and interior upgrades will be reportedly be part of the refresh.

Last year’s report said the updated Astons would be launching this year. This prototype does look very close to production-ready, so that timeline still seems likely. And with it being Aston’s 110th anniversary, it’s a great time to start rolling out fresher product.

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Pagani C10 spy photos give us a peek at the Huayra successor

It’s been about a decade since the Pagani Huayra entered the supercar market. And since then, we’ve seen myriad variants with and without removable roofs. So it’s high time that a new Pagani supercar show up. That’s exactly what we have here, at least as far as we can tell. And it certainly appears to stick to Pagani styling tradition.

The proportions of this supercar, reportedly codenamed C10, are exactly what we’ve come to expect of the brand’s machines. It has a short nose and long rear. It has a low grille with a support in the middle that blends into a triangular hood section. And the rear is wide with signature quad tailpipes in between the taillights.

Looking closer, we can see some subtle differences from the Huayra. The lower grille opening is, well, lower, looking more like that of the Zonda. The cabin area looks shorter in length. There aren’t any apparent air intakes along the car’s flanks, possibly supplanted by intakes just behind the cabin. The tail looks more Zonda-like, too. Instead of the high-set, more flowing arrangement of lights, this C10 has just two simple lights on each side in square-shaped panels.

This prototype clearly isn’t quite production-ready, based on the large amount of camouflage and prototype components such as the headlights. But we’ll be seeing the production model soon. A previous report said that the car will make its debut this year. It will apparently use a version of the twin-turbo AMG V12 also used in the Huayra, though this time it will be available with a manual transmission.

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Lamborghini Huracán Sterrato prototype spied testing in the snow

Back in the summer of 2019, which seems like so much longer than two and a half years ago at this point, Lamborghini showed an interesting concept called the Huracán Sterrato. It was a lifted, widebody version of the mid-engine supercar, and its name literally translated to dirt. It was quite cool, and surprisingly grounded. And it must’ve been received well not just by us, but possibly customers, because these spy photos seem to indicate Lamborghini is working on a production model.

There are a few indicators, but the most clear is the fact this test car has a noticeably taller ride height than its pavement-pounding predecessors. The concept, for reference, had an extra 1.85-inches of ground clearance. Furthermore, the prototype is sporting roof rails like those seen on the concept. Some other interesting additions that may or may not indicate plans for the production car include the skid plate up front, the additional lighting on the hood, and a new roof scoop up top. They’re all clearly temporary additions, but the concept had bodywork that suggested some sort of skid plate, as well as auxiliary lighting. The roof scoop is a bit of a head-scratcher, though. We’re not one to turn down a sweet mid-engine supercar scoop, but roof rails would seem to suggest carrying stuff on the roof, which would seem to directly block said scoop. On the other hand, that scoop could provide cleaner air when out in the dirt.

Missing from the concept are the fat fender flares, but that’s not too much of a surprise. We would expect the powertrain is basically the same as that of the Huracán Evo with a naturally aspirated V10 and all-wheel drive. It will probably have specific driving modes that adjust the traction and stability control systems for sporty, slippery driving conditions. We could also see the car being shown sometime either this year or next year, since it will likely be based on the current Huracán.

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Aston Martin appears to be testing a V12 Vantage in these spy photos

For a few years now, the Aston Martin Vantage has been without V12 power. It’s technically been without Aston Martin power, too, since its twin-turbo V8 comes from Mercedes-AMG. But that may change in the near future based on these spy photos from the Nürburgring. They show a Vantage, but one that’s wider and with exhaust that suggest it may get a few more cylinders like its close cousin, the V12 Speedster.

Staring us down is the prototype’s enormous front grille, taller and wider than standard Vantage units. It’s flanked by two smaller inlets and underlined by an aggressive front splitter. The whole front seems to be wider, as evidenced by the mismatch around the front fender and hood. Speaking of the hood, there’s a big mesh “V” sitting on top to cover what are likely heat-extracting vents, which would probably be important for handling the heat from a twin-turbo 5.2-liter V12.

Changes at the back are a bit more subtle, but only a bit. The rear fenders have large fender flares, suggesting the production car will also be wider at the back with correspondingly larger tires. There’s a little gurney flap on the rear spoiler, so we may see a more aggressive spoiler in production. We also see a center exhaust instead of each of the dual pipes on the ends of the rear diffuser. This exhaust looks a lot like what Aston used on the V12 Speedster, itself based on the Vantage, but without the roof section. This is probably the strongest evidence that the car has the extra cylinders.

With Aston clearly knowing how to shove a V12 into a Vantage chassis, and the high-end sports car market’s never-satiated desire for more powerful and rarer items, a V12 Vantage seems like a slam-dunk product. The question will be, what output will it make. The V12 Speedster made 700 horsepower, but it was a limited-production special edition. The V12 Vantage could get the DB11‘s 630-horsepower variant to give the Speedster a bit of breathing room. And that would still be a nice power increase over the 503 horsepower of the regular Vantage. Based on these spy shots, we’d bet we have around a year before we see the production model, maybe a little less, maybe a little more.

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Ford GT test mule spied, and rumors of a new engine are swirling

This isn’t what we expected to see today, but one of our spy shooters just caught a Ford GT mule rolling around Allen Park, Michigan. We’d all but put the Ford GT off to the side at this point, as production was expected to wrap up shortly. 

There’s always the chance of a special edition-something at the end, but we didn’t expect to see any GTs with emissions testing pipes driving around Ford’s test laboratory where it performs EPA testing on future vehicles. The longstanding assumption, of course, was that the GT would use its 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 engine until the end. Any suggestion otherwise seems easy to dismiss and semi-unfathomable at first blush. However, the presence of this test mule, and some recent reports that we’ll get into, throw this assumption into doubt.

We’ll start with a recent Ford Authority report, wherein they cite an unnamed source telling them Ford is testing a GT in metro Detroit with an engine other than the twin-turbo V6. The report goes on to say that this mystery powertrain GT sounds “very different” from the V6 we’re accustomed to at this point.

Next up, our spy shooter is also telling us he’s heard rumors of a different engine making its way into the GT. The rumor, and we’re not giving it any more credit than that, points to the 7.3-liter Godzilla V8 with a pair of turbos strapped to it — there are even more rumors to back this rumor up. It sounds fairly far-out to us, but do keep in mind that the 7.3 is a significantly more compact pushrod motor, not a DOHC design like the 3.5-liter V6 is. Maybe Ford could make it work.

Where is any kind of evidence for these musings? Well, the spy shots do indicate that Ford is up to something with the GT’s powertrain. For one, this engine’s oil cap (circled in red in the closeup) is sitting atop the glass where a standard GT’s trunk would extend to. That’s a clear hint that all isn’t normal underneath the engine cover. Plus (and it’s very difficult to tell), the exhaust routing in and around all of the chassis and suspension components doesn’t look identical to that of a regular GT. The blurriness of the photo and general mess going on underneath keep us from getting a super clear comparison, but some of the twists and curves in the exhaust appear slightly changed. All that said, we’ll need a better photo comparison to come to any grand conclusions.

All of the above put together is enough to put us on high alert for Ford GT news. Ford is up to something with its mid-engine supercar, and it seems certain at this point that it won’t be letting the GT go silently into the night.

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Bugatti Centodieci prototype caught running the ‘Ring in new spy photos

Bugatti’s Centodieci prototype is evidently ready for the Nürburgring. Spies caught the development vehicle for the upcoming EB110 tribute being put through its paces on the Nordschleife and surrounding public roads.

The 1,600-horsepower Centodieci supercar has been in development for a couple of years. It was originally announced at Pebble Beach in 2019, and Bugatti announced earlier this year that it had completed work on the first full-body prototype. Here it is. Bugatti hasn’t bothered to disguise the Centodieci, so we can plainly see how faithful it is to the concept. 

That said, there are signs that this prototype is still a long way from being showroom-ready. The body may be complete, but up close, it’s a bit rough around the edges. The side blade inserts lack the more dramatic depth of the parts that were fitted to the concept, and may well be placeholders for testing purposes. Tape and wire is visible on elements of the front and rear bumpers and exhaust finishers, suggesting the presence of sensors sending telemetry to the prototype’s data recorder. 

The Centodieci’s 16-cylinder sends its power to all four wheels through a seven-speed DCT. The EB110 it honors made do with a quad-turbo, 3.5-liter V12 making “just” 560 horsepower and putting that to the ground with a simple six-speed manual and permanent all-wheel drive. Bugatti claims a 0-60 time of approximately 2.4 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 236 mph. That may seem low, especially since this is ostensibly a Chiron successor, but Bugatti is no longer in the top-speed-record game.

All 10 examples of Bugatti’s new Chiron-topping exotic are reportedly spoken for. 

Mercedes-AMG One caught looking road-ready in new spy photos

The Mercedes-AMG One hypercar was caught on public roads looking about as production-ready as a prototype can get. The new electrified flagship is expected to produce at least 1,100 horsepower thanks to a hybrid powertrain based on a turbocharged, 1.6-liter V6 engine capable of turning 11,000 RPM. 

Shown here in its tamer, low-speed mode (wing retracted, front aero elements closed), this prototype has most of the bits necessary to make it road legal, such as what appear to be its final lighting elements and body work. Underneath, the One packs a hybrid powertrain similar (but not identical) to that found under the cowling of a Formula One car. It has been scaled back from race spec for cost, emissions and durability reasons, but it’s nonetheless a jaw-dropping piece of engineering.

This is a car that boasts a lot of big numbers, but there’s one that isn’t so impressive: 275. That’s the number of Ones that Mercedes-AMG will build. They’ve reportedly all been spoken for at this point, too, so if you’re not already in line (hey, we’re just guessing here), you’ll have to appreciate this one from afar. We expect Mercedes-Benz to announce an official delivery schedule sometime soon. 

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McLaren Sabre spy photos give us our best look yet at the new supercar

McLaren is quite a prolific supercar builder, so much so that it’s dialing back the number of its releases. Still, development continues on various projects, including what may be called the McLaren Sabre, formerly known as BC-03, a vehicle that has stayed pretty well under the radar. But now we have some of the best shots yet of the car.

Our spy photographer caught this example at a gas station and managed to get photos from a few key angles and in good light, unlike the solo nighttime shot we saw nearly a year ago. What we can see looks just like the leaked renderings from about a year ago, too. It looks like a cleaner, leaner McLaren Senna on the whole. It has a giant wing and a big fin down the middle, plus the split side windows. But the various scoops and vents are toned down, the curves are gentler with subtle creases, and the nose looks more like a Speedtail’s. There are some unique styling cues, too, such as how the wing comes down to merge with the body like an LMP endurance racer, and the nifty openings in the engine cover.

Details on the car aren’t clear yet. Reportedly, only 15 units will be made. It will not be a hybrid, and it will cost around $3 million. That’s about all we have to go on. It certainly looks like this prototype is pretty far along in development, what with the thin camouflage, so we’re hoping to see it revealed soon, along with all the performance specs.

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Spy photos reveal mystery Ferrari prototype

European spies caught a mystery Ferrari hypercar mule testing on public roads this week. This prototype, which is based on a LaFerrari, seems to indicate that Ferrari is working on a successor.

Though it may not seem like that long ago, it has been two years since Ferrari closed the books on the LaFerrari halo car with its run of open-top Aperta models. Though all LaFerrari models were said to be pre-sold, it technically remained in production through 2018. We have no reason to believe Ferrari is planning to produce continuation variants of the LaFerrari, which leads us to suspect that this is a powertrain mule for what might be a next-generation, range-topping hypercar. 

There are quite a few visible differences between the production LaFerrari and this mule, though some of them could be products of its extensive disguise. The front fascia appears to be different, with narrower side intakes and a missing winglet on the lower lip. The rear glass is smaller on this prototype too, stretching only about halfway to the end of the rear deck, with what appears to be an air intake sitting where the glass would have extended toward the tail. The intakes on the flanks also appear smaller than on the production LaFerrari. 

A few things can be pinned down as more than mere vinyl-induced hallucinations, including the conventional five-lug wheels (rather than the LaFerrari’s center-locks). The blue triangle aft of the driver’s side window indicates that this is an electrified model, which would point to this being yet another high-performance hybrid

It remains to be seen what Ferrari has in store for this early prototype, but a new hypercar introduction in 2022 or 2023 would match the company’s typical 10-year gap between halo car introductions, so we probably won’t have to wait too much longer to find out more. 

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What’s hiding beneath this mystery BMW M8 mule?

Spy photos of a mystery BMW M8 mule being tested at the Nürburgring could be our first glance at BMW’s rumored 600-horsepower plug-in hybrid. The demise of BMW’s mid-engine i8 plug-in hybrid with no news of a direct replacement led us to wonder what BMW really has in store for the future of the formula, but if this early prototype is anything to go on, it may be alive and well. We’re not sure what BMW plans to call its next round of all-electric and plug-in variants, but whatever it ends up being called, the prospect is certainly fascinating. 

Let’s start with what we’re looking at. At first glance, this appears to be a fairly run-of-the-mill BMW M8 with some camouflage over the front and rear, which is about what you’d expect to see from a company that is likely developing alternative bodywork for a mid-cycle update or a new appearance package. Looking more closely, however, we see the strategic tinting of the rear window glass along with very obvious air intake vents where the rear side windows should be. Translation? There’s something back there that 1) needs air flow and 2) BMW doesn’t want us to see. 

To further grease the skids, our spies tell us that the engine in this car did not sound anything like the V8 found under the hood of either the BMW M8 or its racing variant, the M8 GTE, which carries over the former’s front-engine layout. In fact, the spy even referred to the sound as “unusual,” which could just be good salesmanship, but the fact of the matter remains that whatever is under there, it’s not from an M8, or any other 8 Series derivative currently known to us. 

Conveniently, all of the things that make this an unlikely M8 variant, from the mid-engine layout to the unconventional exhaust note, make a compelling case for it as a revival of BMW’s plug-in flagship. Even the wheels appear strikingly similar to those on the BMW Vision M Next concept the company showed at Frankfurt last year, which was said to be a plug-in hybrid with a turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine making 600 horsepower. BMW claimed it could do 0-62 mph in 3.0 seconds with a top speed of 186 mph and boasting 62 miles of all-electric range. 

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Listen to the Mercedes-AMG Project One romp around Mercedes’ proving grounds

It’s been over three years since we saw the reveal of the Mercedes-AMG Project One, and we’re still waiting on a final production car. Mercedes isn’t keeping us entirely in the dark on what’s going on behind closed doors, though.

Today, Mercedes has dropped a new video and new photos of the Project One testing on track. The company says that testing is entering a new phase now, as pre-production models are running hot laps on Mercedes’ proving grounds in Immendingen. Mercedes also says that this is the first time it’s testing with the engines turned up to their full power potential of “more than 1,000 horsepower.”

For us, this is simply a great chance for us to hear the 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 scream around a racetrack. Mercedes says the sound we’re hearing is authentic and what owners will hear from behind the wheel of their Projects Ones. Since this engine is a street-tamed Formula One engine, it sounds very similar to the Mercedes race cars piloted by Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas on Sundays. The sound isn’t exactly the same as what we hear on TV, but there’s no mistaking this engine’s origins. 

In addition to running at full power, Mercedes says it’s working to validate and develop the active aerodynamics. After this bout of testing is complete, Mercedes says it plans to head to the north loop of the Nurburgring. Don’t expect to see a record attempt, though — AMG already ruled that out a couple years ago.

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Maserati MC20 spy photos show supercar in broad daylight

The upcoming Maserati MC20 mid-engine supercar has been teased a number of times, but thanks to new spy photos, we finally get a clear look at the prototype. Our spy photographer caught the MC20 in broad daylight from nearly every angle, and it was wearing relatively thin camouflage.

The nose of the MC20 seems to take a lot of inspiration from past and present Maseratis. It has a slightly more aggressive oval grille that will house a big trident square in the middle. Two smaller grilles flank the center one. The headlights and hood design look slightly reminiscent of the MC12 supercar, which was based on the Ferrari Enzo. The lights have a similar shape that looks like it might wrap down around the sides of the fender. The little vents in the hood also call to mind the MC12.

The sides of the MC20 aren’t too over-the-top. It has two relatively small intakes in the rear fender, one upper and one lower. There’s a small vent in the front fender. The body’s lines are smooth and curvy. The rear pillar is fairly thick and the side skirts are rather deep. The wheels have quite a bit of vinyl covering, but they seem to have some sort of three-spoke or split three-spoke design.

At the rear of the car, there are few wings, spoilers or other aerodynamic paraphernalia besides the simple rear lip to distract from the clean curves. What we can see of the taillights suggests thin, wide units with arrow-like points in the lighting elements. There appear to be plenty of vents for cooling and aerodynamics, and the twin tailpipes exit roughly in the middle and a bit inset to the edges of the car.

While we don’t know all the details about the car, we know a fair bit about what will power it. It will use a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 making 630 horsepower and 538 pound-feet of torque. It’s also an in-house engine, not one built by Ferrari. There have been reports that the engine could see a hybrid version with multiple electric motors appear with over 700 horsepower, but it’s also possible that those reports of an electrified engine could simply be referring to a 48-volt mild-hybrid assist that could be a part of the standard V6. We’re expecting the regular V6 MC20 will be rear-wheel-drive with some kind of dual-clutch or conventional automatic transmission. If the high-output hybrid rumors are true, that version would likely be all-wheel-drive. We should know more when the car makes its debut this September.

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Prototype Ferrari 812 Superfast caught making awesome noises at Fiorano

In January, spy photographers snapped an 812 Superfast prototype testing around Maranello. Bodywork revisions included an open front intake, smoothed-out bumpers, taped-up side sills, covered air extractors behind the rear wheels, and new bodywork around the exhaust outlets with what appeared to be additional venting. The Supercar Blog suspected the prototype was a hardcore version of the 812, possibly earning the hallowed “GTO” appellation. Autoevolution went further with the speculation, writing that a reworked 6.5-liter V12 would produce 850 horsepower, a 61-hp jump over the standard 812, and would rev beyond the 9,000-rpm limit in the Ferrari LaFerrari.

At least one more of these testers has been caught on video around Ferrari’s Fiorano test track, giving us a chance to hear what’s going on underneath the patchwork skin. YouTube user Varryx got the footage, doing us the favor of including a regular 812 lapping the circuit for comparison. The differences are clear. The 812 is already praised for its glorious exhaust note. The prototype, which looks to have put on a more finished rear valance, snarls more during downshifts and bellows with a lower, angrier pitch on the flyby. 

We’re still not sure what it is, but perusing Ferrari Chat forums reveals members having a conversation about an “812 VS” for nearly two years now. VS is Italian for Versione Speciale, the thrust here being a track-focused and lighter 812. The Speciale cars began with the one-off 1955 375 MM Berlinetta Speciale — “MM” representing Mille Miglia, another name mooted for the special 812. The denomination has returned a few times throughout the decades, used most recently on the one-off 458 MM Speciale commission shows in 2016.

Keeping in mind that this is all speculation until Ferrari reveals the real thing, one Ferrari Chat poster wrote we’ll get “a somehow more powerful blistering naturally aspirated large V-12 track oriented version of the prodigious 812 Superfast. As one of, if not the last of, its kind this will be a high-priced limited edition. Likely limited to 799 pieces. Probably priced at $750,000 or more and approaching $1 million for Tailor Made cars. Prospective launch date 2020. Confidence level 80%.” That production figure matches the number of F12 TDF units Ferrari built. Another forum member said the 812 VS will make 860 metric horsepower, which comes to 848 of our horsepower.

Supposedly, Ferrari had planned the debut the car at the Geneva Motor Show. As of now, suspicions have settled on Ferrari showing an SF90 Spider in September, and this hardcore 812 VS with “organic and pure” bodywork in October or November. We’re also waiting on the mid-engined hybrid supercar spotted all over Maranello of late, so it could be an especially flouncy year for prancing horses.

Short-tailed Bugatti Chiron Super Sport spied testing

One of our spy photographers has caught a rather odd Bugatti Chiron prototype out testing. It features no camouflage, which reveals that it seems to fuse a regular Chiron with the Chiron Super Sport 300+. And that begs the question, what is this?

The front of the car is all Super Sport 300+. It has the revised air intakes, clusters of round vents in the hood, and big vents in the fenders. But unlike that top speed challenger, this has a normal, truncated tail from the regular Chiron. In fact, everything from the front fenders back appears to be regular Chiron. The one difference is the exhaust, which consists of two oval tips that most resemble the tailpipes of the Chiron Pur Sport. But the rear fascia is definitely regular Chiron, not the revised design of the Pur Sport.

So what is it? It could simply be a mash-up of leftover Chiron parts for some kind of test mule. It could also be shortened Chiron Super Sport 300+ that will share the same 1,600-horsepower engine as the high-speed car, but without the cost of the extra aerodynamics. Whatever it is, Bugatti’s testers evidently weren’t happy about the spy photographer catching the car, as he reports the car was hurried into a trailer and security sent to confront the photographer and stop him from sharing the photos. So it seems Bugatti has something interesting coming, whether it looks exactly like this or just has this car’s underpinnings.

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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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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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