GENEVA--A new Ferrari model is a rare thing, and the LaFerrari, unveiled at the 2013 Geneva auto show, will be rarer still. It is a limited edition, with only 499 units planned. It also serves as the most high-tech Ferrari to date. Ferrari says that the new technologies launched in this car will find their way into future models.
Although featuring a very potent design with many cues taken from Ferrari's Formula 1 cars, the LaFerrari is built as a road car. The body and chassis are constructed of carbon fiber, which was formed and cured in Ferrari's own racing department. Owners can boast of real F1 material in their cars.
Ferrari equips the LaFerrari with an adaptive magnetic suspension system, which can adjust the damper response in milliseconds based on the current road surface. The underbody of the car is made of Kevlar-reinforced carbon fiber, resistant to damage from gravel and rocks thrown up from the road surface.
But the internal combustion engine is only part of the story. Attached to the car's seven-speed dual clutch transmission is a 161 horsepower electric motor, adding boost to the rear wheels and making the total system output 950 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. Ferrari calls this system HY-KERS.
Energy from braking and extra torque gets stored as electricity into a 132-pound battery pack. Although the electric motor cannot drive the LaFerrari by itself, it provides extra boost for acceleration.
Given the dual clutch transmission, there is, of course, no shifter. Paddle shifters let the driver make sequential gear changes. LaFerrari also uses a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster mounted off to the right of the steering wheel. It can be set to show a traditional tachometer or a modern racing display.