Ferrari LaFerrari

The “New Enzo” is expected to have a “three arc” profile similar to the Enzo-based P4/5 custom Ferraris (pictured).

The much-anticipated successor to the mid-engine Ferrari Enzo exotic sports car is speeding toward a public debut late this year as the first-ever hybrid from the Prancing Horse stable. Company chairman Luca di Montezemolo announced the timing in May without citing a specific date or introduction venue, but test prototypes spied in recent months suggest that the car is fast nearing completion. As a hybrid, the “New Enzo” will join a growing list of gas/electric “eco-supercars” that includes the BMW i8, the Porsche 918 Spyder, and the still-to-be-named retail version of Jaguar’s 2010 C-X75 concept. All are due to hit the streets in the next two to three years.

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It’s understood the “New Enzo” (rumored to be called LaFerrari) will not reprise the first name of legendary company founder Enzo Ferrari. Some sources believe it could be badged F70, after the reported project codename. That would be a logical follow-on to the F40 and F50 that preceded the Enzo as Ferrari’s flagship road cars, but the ultimate choice could be something else entirely. Lately, Ferrari has been consistently inconsistent with its model names, what with the just announced F12 Berlinetta joining the AWD FF hatchback, mid-V8 458 Italia coupe, and front-V8 California hardtop-convertible.

Ferrari has been telegraphing its intent to offer a hybrid-power car for several years, most recently with a freestanding “concept” powertrain at the April 2012 Beijing Auto Show. Dubbed “HY-KERS” for “Hybrid Kinetic Energy Recovery System,” this is widely expected to motivate the New Enzo/F70, as it is V12-based and designed for installation behind the cockpit to drive the rear wheels, as in the Enzo.

That V12 is said to be a 7.3-liter unit that produces some 800 horsepower and shares design similarities with the F12 Berlinetta’s 703-horsepower 6.3-liter unit. The rest of the powerteam comprises a 7-speed dual-clutch automated-manual transmission and two electric motors powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. According to Car and Driver, one electric motor sits near the front of the engine and is used as a generator for battery recharging and powering accessories. The other motor sits at the back of the transmission and operates through one of its two clutch packs. It serves primarily as an “electric turbocharger” for maximum acceleration, though it can also charge the batteries during coasting and braking, as on a Toyota Prius and other everyday hybrids. Georg Kacher of Britain’s CAR magazine reports that the larger motor will produce 120 horsepower and 220 pound-feet of torque, giving the F70 a theoretical total system output of some 920 horsepower and 740 pound-feet.

C/D notes that despite the KERS name, this system functions differently from the type used in Formula One racing cars. There, the energy recovered is stored not in batteries but in a flywheel. Nevertheless, Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa claims that the F70’s hybrid drive will reduce CO2 emissions by 40 percent versus a non-hybridized V12 of like size and power, an important consideration in Europe, where CO2 is a major regulatory issue. Of course, the electric assist will help reduce fuel consumption too, as the system is designed to allow electric-only driving for short periods at low speeds.

The F70 will feature a lightweight carbon-fiber body, like the Enzo, but also a mostly carbon-fiber inner structure, this to further minimize weight and enhance both efficiency and performance with the hybrid powertrain. Kacher notes that a variety of other pound-paring materials will be used too, as well as crafty weight-saving measures such as “honeycomb supports, sandwich suspension links, hollow-spoke wheels and a thinwall exhaust system.” With all this, Kacher reports that the F70 will weigh in at around 2,760 pounds, about 220 less than the Enzo, and “is bound to obliterate the Enzo’s key [performance] figures of 0-62 mph in 3.6 seconds and [top speed of] 217 mph.”

As for styling, Car and Driver reports that the F70 will have a “three arc” profile rather like the two Enzo-based P4/5 custom Ferraris designed for collector Jim Glickenhaus. That means cab-forward proportions and a long, arched roofline bookended by extravagantly curved front and rear fenders. The roof and rear quarters will terminate in a cut-off tail panel that will be either screened-in or left open. In addition, C/D says, the roof will be a mostly glass canopy affording the two occupants a near 360-degree view. Doors should open in gullwing or beetle-wing fashion, judging by the Glickenhaus cars, which also suggest a footprint similar to the Enzo’s. Incidentally, F70 styling breaks with tradition in being created solely by Ferrari’s in-house team, with no input from the company’s longtime coachbuilding partner, Pininfarina.

Like other recent Ferraris, the New Enzo/F70 will incorporate various integral aerodynamic body features to minimize air drag and maximize stability. As design chief Flavio Manzoni told Kacher, “Efficiency does not only mean a low drag coefficient and a relatively small frontal area. [It] also warrants exceptional high-speed stability, which is a key confidence-inspiring characteristic. The art of aerodynamics is to create a slippery shape which produces exactly the right amount of downforce in all driving conditions.”

Toward those ends, Kacher says the F70 will have a low nose producing zero lift; a nearly flat underbody panel for smoothing airflow beneath the car; an integrated rear spoiler; actively ventilated wheelhouses (to negate unwanted air-pressure buildup in that area); adaptive brake cooling ducts (which open only when the brakes reach a certain temperature); and selectively movable louvers for the engine-air intakes ahead of the rear wheels.

Needless to say, the New Enzo/F70 is likely to cost even more than the car it “replaces.” The original Enzo sold new for some $800,000 and now typically commands at least $1 million at auction, on the rare occasion when one comes up for sale. Ferrari made just 399 over a deliberately brief production run in 2002-04. Officials haven’t yet said how many F70s might be built, but we’d be surprised if it’s more than 500.

Though the Enzo was one of the world’s fastest production cars in its day, its performance stats have since been eclipsed by “regular” Ferraris such as the 458 Italia and now the front-engine F12 Berlinetta. Even so, the Enzo remains as much a Prancing Horse landmark as the F40 and F50 that preceded it, and that plus scarcity implies strong, long-term future demand among car collectors in general and Ferraristi in particular.

That’s all we know right now about the New Enzo, but keep checking back with The Daily Drive for more information as it becomes available. Also check Consumer Guide Auto’s main site for in-depth Future Car reports on this and other upcoming new cars and trucks.

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