First Look: 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari

By Michael Lockhart

<p>Yet another jaw-dropping supercar for us to salivate over for years to come. Hello, LaFerrari.<br></p>

It’s always an exciting day when the Prancing Pony decides to woo the world with yet another jaw-dropping supercar. At this year’s Geneva Motor Show, Ferrari unveiled its latest special edition, the LaFerrari.

While at first the nomenclature surprised us, Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo explains that the moniker is the “maximum expression of what defines our company—excellence. Excellence in terms of technological innovation, performance, visionary styling and the sheer thrill of driving.”

{“pbembedwidget”:“gallery”,“id”:“13707”,“size”:“large”,“alignment”:“left”} A hybrid employing the HY-KERS technology—itself a development born out of Scuderia Ferrari’s F1 racing experience—the LaFerrari’s dual gas-electric motor has a maximum CO2 output of 330 g/km (50 percent less than the Enzo). The 6.3-liter 12-cylinder engine produces an impressive 789 horsepower, which is then coupled with a 160-horsepower electric drive, giving the LaFerrari a total of 949 horses of unadulterated driving power. This is all controlled through the longer, more ergonomic paddle shifters attached to the F1 dual-clutch gearbox.

The resulting 664 pound-feet-plus of torque allows the LaFerrari to optimize the engine’s performance at higher revs (with a speedometer-topping maximum of 9,250 rpm). The power train also converts excess braking power and unneeded torque from the V12 into energy to be stored in the electric motor’s lithium-ion batteries, which weigh just 60 kg.

The LaFerrari can easily wipe the floor with each of its predecessor Pony road cars with lap times at the Fiorano clocked at a cool one minute 20 seconds, which makes it a full five seconds faster than the legendary Enzo and three seconds above current production mate the F12berlinetta, which we highlighted last year. To put this in perspective, the 2800-pound LaFerrari can hit zero to 60 in under three seconds and zero to 124 mph in under seven seconds. We’d like to see a showdown between this beast and the new McLaren P1 also unveiled in Geneva.

As with all pieces of art that drive out of Maranello, the exterior styling of the LaFerrari is uncompromisingly powerful, muscular and definitely over the top, and that’s not a bad thing. The downward-sloping nose of the vehicle on the front fascia highlights the extensive body treatments that render the bonnet a work of aggressive sculpture. The low, defined wheel arches are a clever nod to the late-1960s sports prototypes of yesteryear but are distinctively of the Ferrari breed. But our favorite aspect of this supercar by far is the strikingly exuberant backside that flows from the glass cockpit down to the moulded rear taillights and finally on to the exhaust. Beautiful, eye-catching and instantly recognizable as it flashes by you and into the distance.

If you’re interested in acquiring one of these beasts, you’re potentially out of luck as all 499 to be produced have reportedly been spoken for, at an approximate $1.5 million price tag (real figures haven’t been released). But perhaps if you can get ahold of one of the other mega supercars from McLaren (P1), Porsche (918) or Lambo (Veneno) that are debuting this year, someone may want to trade—or race—you for a weekend swap.

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