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Ferrari Fighting For V12 In A Way Lamborghini Won't

Supercar / Comments

There's simply no replacement for displacement.

Earlier this month, Ferrari unveiled its 488 GTB successor at Geneva, the F8 Tributo. Some speculated this would be a hybrid V8 setup, but it turned out to be a brilliant update of the current twin-turbo V8. A track-focused, mid-engined hybrid V8 model is still expected in the near future, but what about Ferrari's acclaimed naturally aspirated V12s? Will they also soon be connected to batteries or turbochargers? Road and Track spoke with Ferrari chief technical officer Michael Leiters earlier this month and he made it clear naturally aspirated V12s are here to stay.

"It's very important to differentiate which car I want (a hybrid system) in," Leiters said. "If we're doing a V12, I'm not thinking about hybridization. It's a contradiction. Maybe we would get a little reduction in consumption with a hybrid, but it doesn't make sense. To get the full potential of a hybrid, we need to downsize the engine. With a V12, naturally aspirated car, we don't have that downsizing."

Lamborghini, by contrast, also plans to retain the naturally aspirated V12 but with one major difference: batteries, or more specifically, supercapacitors. That's still considered hybridization. Leiters made it clear that's not happening at Ferrari. Last year, Ferrari announced that 60 percent of its vehicles will be hybrids by 2022, but what about the remaining 40 percent? Leiters also had this to say: "We will fight for the V12, to maintain it like this today, because it is core Ferrari."

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Expect for that 60 percent hybridization to consist of V8s and possibly V6s, though we also know Ferrari is currently at work on a new turbo V6 as well. Leiters did confirm that turbo V6 will be used in a future Ferrari and that it will be used in both front- and mid-engined setups. He didn't say which specific model(s), but we highly suspect to find it in the Portofino's successor. And that successor may be coming sooner than you think.

The Portofino will be two years old this coming September and the 488 GTB was only four years old when it was replaced. Do the math. But the main takeaway Leiters provided is that Ferrari has no intention of adapting future V12s in the way it did for the LaFerrari.