New Car News

986-hp Ferrari SF90 Spider debuts as the company’s most powerful turbo V8 to date

The SF90 Spider is one of the most powerful production turbo V8 Ferrari has ever made.

Photo courtesy of Ferrari

Most spiders aren't known for their quickness. This spider is. The just-revealed Ferrari SF90 Spider may be the company's first plug-in hybrid electric convertible, but it hasn't lost any steps when compared to its older fraternal twin, the SF90 Stradale.

Ferrari has chosen a retractable hardtop for its noise insulation properties. It also delivers protection from the elements and doesn't deform at high speed. The hardtop takes up significantly more space than a ragtop roof, with just 100 liters of space occupied compared to 150-200 liters. The roof can be opened in just 14 seconds and can be deployed while the vehicle is in motion. When the roof is deployed, the sides, front, and tail of the SF90 Spider have the same styling as the SF90 Stradale.

2021 Ferrari SF90 SpiderWith its roof deployed, the Ferrari SF90 Spider has the same lines as the SF90 Stradale.Photo courtesy of Ferrari

Buyers can get their SF90 Spider with the track driving-centric Assetto Fiorano pack, which features Mulitmatic shock absorbers that were derived from Ferrari's GT racing exerpience, a carbon fiber rear spoiler, and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. By checking the box, buyers also get an optional two-tone livery that delivers race-ready looks.

Powering the SF90 Spider is a turbocharged V8 engine that is paired with three electric motors (two up front, one at the rear). That gives it 986 horsepower combined, more than any other Ferrari turbo V8 ever built. Ferrari has paired the engine with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Ferraris are known for having a throaty gurgle out the backside and despite its electrified powertrain, the SF90 Spider is no exception. A hot tube system transfers exhaust system sound directly into the cockpit producing a rich rumble.

The car features regenerative braking. Under normal braking conditions, energy is recovered using electric motors. The hydraulic braking system supports the electric system under deceleration conditions. At high speed, the combined contribution of the electric motors lowers the engine's response time, improving performance

2021 Ferrari SF90 Spider

2021 Ferrari SF90 Spider

Photo courtesy of Ferrari

There are two steering wheel-mounted selectors on the SF90 Spider - the traditional Manettino and eManettino. The eManettino offers four modes (descriptions by Ferrari):

  • eDrive - The internal combustion engine remains off and traction is entrusted entirely to the electric front axle. Starting with a fully charged battery (with a capacity of 9 kWh), the car can cover up to 25 km in this mode which is ideal for city-centre driving or any other situation in which the driver wishes to eliminate the sound of the Ferrari V8. The 135 km/h speed limit means the car can also be used on out-of-town roads;
  • Hybrid - This setting optimizes the system's overall efficiency. The control logic autonomously decides whether to keep the internal combustion engine running or turn it off. Power flow from the electric motors is limited to conserve battery power;
  • Performance - This mode keeps the ICE running because the priority is more on charging the battery than on efficiency. This guarantees that power is instantly and fully available when required. This mode is best suited to situations in which driving pleasure and fun behind the wheel are the main focus.
  • Qualify - This mode allows the system to achieve maximum power output by letting the electric motors work at their maximum potential (162kW). The control logic prioritizes maximum performance over battery charging.

Ferrari honed the car's power and underpinnings to ensure that drivers can enjoy their time behind the wheel at all times, not just on a track day. Due to the hybrid powertrain, extensive work had to be put in to the traction control system, torque vectoring technology, and brake-by-wire control system. They also completely redesigned the car's chassis from the SF90 Stradale to deal with the extra stress associated with the new power unit.

Just as much attention was paid to the car's aerodynamics, downforce, and cooling so that the roof and powertrain would not encumber the ride and drive experience.

Inside, the car is just as modern. The redesign of Ferrari's infotainment system allows for instrumental to be predominately digital with all the screens going completely black when the car is not running. The screens come to life when the engine stop/start button on the steering wheel is pressed. The instrument cluster is made up of a 16-inch curved screen.

Innovations are found throughout the cabin. The wheel now allows for touch commands to activate so that drivers don't have to take their hands off the wheel to make adjustments. The gearshift has been altered away from the F1 bridge and toward the design of Ferrari's manual gearboxes.

At the bottom of the center tunnel is a compartment for stowing the car's ignition key, which is an exact replica of the Ferrari Prancing Horse badge. The key works in full keyless mode so that the driver can not only start the ignition but also open the doors without taking it out of their pocket.

If you want a SF90 Spider, you'll want to head to your local dealership ASAP to put your name down (after you ensure you'll be able to afford the likely $500,000+ price tag).

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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

Front crash preventionwww.youtube.com

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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This 2020 Ford GT drew over $1 million at the auction.

Mecum

The world may be going through some tough times right now, but you'd never know it looking at auto auction results. One of the largest, Mecum, just reported sales from the auctions it held in Arizona last week, and the results are astonishing. Mecum says it took in $66.3 million in sales, which is a big increase over the previous year's auctions. Attendance was also up, and the event was packed with high-dollar, desirable vehicles.

Mecum Arizona AuctionHow about a 1967 Ferrari for a little over $3 million?Mecum

Mecum says that private collection sales generated $20 million of the $66.3 million, as some brought dozens of vehicles to participate in the auction. The Hooked on Vettes Collection, for example, brought 13 cars and sold every one of them. It even sold a load of neon signs for well over a million dollars.

The top ten vehicles sold at auction drew big dollars. A few include:

  • 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4: $3,025,000
  • 1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Convertible Coupe: $2,365,000
  • 2005 Porsche Carrera GT: $2,200,000
  • 2020 Ford GT: $1,100,000
  • 2017 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 Roadster: $698,500

Mecum Arizona AuctionThere was even a Duesenberg, which sold for almost $2.4 million.Mecum

If you've got money to burn and you're sad to have missed out on the Arizona auction, your next shot will be at the end of this month when Mecum hits Houston with 1,100 vehicles. The flagship Mecum auction in Indianapolis takes place in mid-May, and will feature 3,000 cars.

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