Cooley On Cars
Top 5: Ferrari tech innovationsFerraris are known for looking hot and being fast and expensive, almost to the detriment of their tech innovations. We explore the iconic car's tech milestones in our Top 5.
Ferrari is well-known for cars that are fast, gorgeous, pricy, and far too often red. But lost in all that, sometimes, is their technology. I'm Brian Cooley here to remedy that with the top 5 Ferrari technology milestones, CNET-style. We're gonna rank them by their broad [unk] points. Number five, the electrochromic roof. The 2005 Superamerica wowed with a glass roof that went from clear to dark electrochromically. Kinda like those sunglasses that were the rage in the 70s. But in this case, triggered by a button and electric circuit. The thing also rotated back 180 degrees, in case you still weren't getting enough attention. Not only had no one done this combination before, I don't think anyone has done it since. Number four, active aerodynamics. This is Formula One stuff that Ferrari knows very well, but brought to production cars on the 458 Speciale. Movable flaps that each end of the car change its air flow starting around 90 miles an hour to optimize downforce and keep the thing on the ground. To be fair, though, Chevy Cruze, Ford Focus, and Dodge Dart also do this-- though to a dramatically different end result. Number three is the Mannetino, another lift from Formula One. The mannetino is the little handle. It's the most serious, if not the first Drive Mode selector. You'd find it on Ferrari Wheels. BMW's M button, and the Audi Drive Mode select do something very similar. But Ferrari's little switch, as cool as it looks, gave electronic car modes real credit. Number two, a hybrid. That's right. The recursively named Ferrari LaFerrari will be their first production hybrid-- though it will probably lack the ability to run in EV electric-only mode, the way other hybrids do. That's because the company reckons-- correctly, I think-- that a Ferrari should always sound like on. Now, yes. Porsche has the 918 hybrid, beating Ferrari to the punch by a whisker or so. But there's something about a Ferrari hybrid that is gonna change more minds globally. The number one Ferrari innovation that really resonated was no manual transmission. Around late 2012, the California Spider became the last Ferrari to offer a manual gearbox, ending the run of the most iconic and one of the most unforgiving shift gates in all of history. All Ferraris today ship with basically an automatic, a dual-clutch automated manual gearbox. Now, while Volkswagen was first to market with this in the '03 Golf R32, Ferrari's cancellation of the clutch pedal really signals the end of an era. For more like this, go to CNEToncars.com, where it's all about high-tech cars and modern driving. I'm Brian Cooley. Thanks for watching.