Perhaps an entry-level Ferrari is on the way?
It's hard to say the words 'entry-level Ferrari' with a straight face, as even the least expensive Portofino starts at around $215,000. Ferrari says it has no plans to offer anything below the Portofino, but rumors of a revived Dino continue to circulate. Even the "baby" Ferrari Portofino is powered by a 3.9-liter twin-turbo V8, so the idea of a four cylinder model sounds a bit unbelievable. Documents submitted to the European Patent Office may prove otherwise, because Ferrari has submitted an application for a forced induction four cylinder engine.
The patent describes a turbocharged four cylinder engine that is unlike most sold today. Put simply, an electrically operated turbocharger is inserted into the exhaust duct, and has no mechanical linkage to a compressor. The idea here is to reduce turbo lag, though it also has an added benefit of sounding good. Having a turbine in the exhaust duct will help with engine acoustics, creating a more high-pitched exhaust note as it spins faster. Ferrari has done a good job of building turbocharged engines that still sound good, but this may help turbo engines sound just as good as normally-aspirated units.
Some people may scoff at the idea of a four cylinder Ferrari, but this would not be the first time the company has dabbled with a four pot engine. Some of the company's earliest race cars in the 1950s were powered by four cylinder engines in Formula 2 and Formula 1. Though a four cylinder Ferrari isn't completely out of the question, this patent is more likely to end up in an Alfa Romeo or Maserati model. It also isn't out of the realms of possibility that the technology from this patent could be applied to engines of other sizes, like a V6 or V8.