It's safe to say that the 2015 LaFerrari is absolutely everything you imagined it to be. That's good, because imagination is all we have to go on, since Ferrari hasn't invited us to drive the thing yet. Still, I don't see any reason why that should keep us from writing a comprehensive review, right?
(Full Disclosure: Like almost every automotive-interest outlet, we here at Jalopnik have been eagerly awaiting our chance to try the LaFerrari. Ferrari doesn't really care. So, to get this review, we skimmed some other reviews and then took three of those funny blueish pills fellow Jalopnik writer Patrick's cousin's roommate's friend got us. Man, it feels like I have about 30 fingers right now. Also, why does the air taste so Dutch?)
Approaching the LaFerrari from a distance is an interesting exercise in familiarity and novelty. It feels like a Ferrari, even though this is the first Ferrari designed without Pininfarina's help in decades. The proportions are even more exaggerated and dramatic than the pictures suggest when you encounter it in person. Especially striking is the oragami-like massive air intake in front of the rear wheel.
The car's ability to bend and contort its body as it stretches and pulsates makes it feel more like an animal than a car, in many ways. The headlights track your movement like a red alligator's eyes as well, and while this is initially disconcerting, you do get used to it.
Getting in the car takes some practice, but, like entering any Ferrari, it's always worth it. The door handles are initially hard to find, but Ferrari's dynamic-liquid carbon-fiber technology lets the handle morph out and grab your hand, like some glossy black amoeba. The door opens in 35 shard-like pieces, and you kind of just drop into the fixed seat.
Ferrari's made a big deal about how the seating is as close to a single-seater race car as you can get, and it absolutely feels that way. The seat puts your butt and ankles at about the same height, and it genuinely doesn't feel like anything else you've driven.
The 16-point racing harness is made of genetically modified snakes that slither and writhe out to wrap your body in a safety web, and the pedals and steering wheel are mounted on pneumatic bulbs that inflate to move the controls within reach of your four hands and three feet.
You grab the roof-mounted pull-chain to start the car, which in this case activates both the 6.3L V12 making 789 HP and the 161 HP electric motor, giving a total of about 950 HP on tap. The engine roars to life with a banshee-like scream, and the electric motor adds to the cacophony by screaming your name in a robotic voice, over and over again.
Imaginary Ferrari engineers, clad in lab coats and horse masks, told me I could take the LaFerrari on the test track built at my childhood home in Greensboro, NC, which from a distance resembled a cross between the 405/110 interchange and a roller coaster.
The car had temporary donut spares on two wheels (front left, right rear) after a mishap from the last imaginary test drive by a reporter from Martha Stewart Living. They suggested I exercise caution.
Warnings heeded, I pulled onto the track and was immediately impressed by all the power available at low RPMs — that's thanks to the electric motor. The acceleration is absolutely savage, more than adequate to keep the swarms of death-bats far behind the car. Those sons of bitches weren't expecting this!
Ferrari says the LaFerrari will get to 60 from a dead stop in under 3 seconds and top out at 217 MPH, but my brief run on the loops and jumps of their test track proved that those numbers are very conservative. I easily clocked 422 MPH on the long straights, and was even able to hold 260+ in the turns thanks to some really innovative work Ferrari's done with their ESC system that uses giant mechanical hands to grab on to things to keep you from flying off the track.
Also, the alacantara in the interior feels spectacular.
The car drives incredibly well — generally neutral, with a bit of initial understeer that certainly can turn into oversteer if you, say, let off throttle in a turn or allow one of the death-bats to get wedged up in the wheel well. It's incredible how easy it is to handle, in general, considering how close it is to an actual, no-joke race car it is.
On the downside, I found the airborne performance a bit lacking. Yes, it's fantastic that there's a simple pull-knob to have the car extrude liquid-metal wings and re-route the engine's power to a series of ducted fans, but, like all flying cars, the in-air behavior feels compromised. Banks are clumsy, and the car has a tendency to want to pitch upward, due to the slight rearward weight bias.
My advice is that unless you really need to fly, most buyers should opt out of this $1.7 billion dollar option. That may be tricky, as it's part of the Deluxe Floormat Package, but talk to your dealer.
Also, I found the in-seat toilet awkward to use, and the privacy curtain woefully inadequate.
I was more impressed with the diamond-tipped boring drill that can be deployed from the front. It allows for some of the most hassle-free subterranean boring I've ever enjoyed in a street car. Plus, the nav system has been upgraded to provide geologic data for up to 1100 feet below the surface, so you can bore with confidence that you won't unwittingly hit a massive magma pocket. This option is absolutely worth the extra $600, and it comes with a heated steering wheel as well.
Even with the drawbacks, it's hard not to be amazed by the LaFerrari. Even when the car transformed itself into a 60-foot tall metal dragon made of my own insecurities and fundamental fears of failure and loss, I still found myself wanting to climb back in and take it for another spin on the track.
Ferrari is only planning on making 499 real-world LaFerraris. However, my source at imaginary Ferrari, Paul Giamatti with the head of the Egyptian god Set, tells me that the imaginary versions will be available in far greater numbers and only cost about $12,000, payable in handfuls of golden custard.
If anyone has any down time and some more of those blue pills (email Patrick), I highly recommend trying out the imaginary LaFerrari for yourself.