A 612 Scaglietti replacement will appear at the Geneva Motor Show in March. Members of the Ferrari elite have already seen the hyper-new GT, and they're impressed, despite it being the first Ferrari with all-wheel-drive. Here's what else we know.
Recently, Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo said the company would introduce a "very different new Ferrari" at Geneva this year. It's already apparent how different the new Ferrari will be.
Ferrari's recently-leaked five-year Ferrari product plan tags the 612 Scaglietti replacement with the code name F151. The first rumors related to that code, percolating back in 2008, hinted at an SUV. We know now those rumorists were thrown by talk of a differential under the front wheels. Yes, the F151 car will get Ferrari's long-awaited, performance-oriented all-wheel-drive gear. According to reports, the electronically controlled, "insertable" system employs a second clutch to engage the front wheels when the driving-wheels slip (i.e., when the rotational speeds of the front and rear wheels don't match). Because the system will only engage on an as-needed basis—unlike Lamborghini's full-time gear—it'll mean less overall drivetrain loss. Insiders say the system can only engage in short bursts at high speeds (over 90 mph), a function of the differential's fixed ratios on both crankshaft and driving-wheels sides.
Those among the elite who've seen the F151 say it'll get power to all those wheels by way of a new 6.3-liter, direct-injection V12 producing 670 horsepower. Naturally, it'll be Ferrari's 7-Speed DCT transmission joining it down below. All signs point to a more aggressive performance profile than the current 612, with similar creature comforts like room for bespoke luggage in the cargo hold and adult legs in the passenger compartment. Nonetheless, expect a 0-62 (100km/h) time of 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 208 mph.
What about its looks? Will the new model sport the same, er, gravitas, as the current 612? Not really. It'll be lighter than the current model's 4,056 lbs., incorporating more aluminum in the understructure. Stiffer and more communicative, yes, but also with a ride quality befitting the company's top-line GT. Styling-wise, expect a more lithe shape, resembling the 458 in front, with a "shooting brake"-style utility rear hatch (think Porsche Panamera) for easy access to luggage, cases of wine, x-large tins of caviar, etc.
That leaves one wildcard: Ferrari's hybrid HY-KERS system. We're fairly certain a non-hybrid model will arrive first (2012 model year), but Ferrari will likely show a closer-to-production hybrid system in Geneva. That system, which matches the V12 up with an electric motor at the front wheels, will likely show up a year or two after.
[whispers provided by Teamspeed]