In a year of exceptional debuts in Geneva, perhaps none was more eagerly anticipated than the arrival of the 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari. This de facto successor to the fabled Enzo model melds both classic design cues and a host of advanced technologies into a truly striking ultra car that will be produced in a limited series build of just 499 units. In presenting the vehicle that had been developed under the code name F150, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo noted that the final designation was chosen "because it is the maximum expression of what defines our company - excellence."

A natural rival to the McLaren P1 that also was revealed in Geneva, LaFerrari is the Italian automaker's first hybrid offering. Equipped with a 6.3-liter V12 as well as Ferrari's HY-KERS system derived from its Formula One program, it will be the quickest, fastest - and with a total of 950 horsepower - the most powerful road-going car ever to roll out of the Ferrari factory in Maranello. The new LaFerrari also will be the first to feature active aerodynamics to put an even keener edge on its high-speed handling characteristics.

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The monocoque core of this mid-engine 2-seater is made from four different kinds of carbon fiber materials. In addition to being lighter than the tub used by the Enzo, it's also 22 percent stiffer and has 27 percent more torsional rigidity. Penned by the automaker's in-house design team and refined by the same kind of computational fluid dynamics and wind tunnel work used by its F1 race operation, LaFerrari's composite body panels push form to new levels of functionality while retaining an overall appearance that remains unmistakably Ferrari -- from its sharply sloping hood to its prominent side sculpting and an F1-inspired tail. Less visible but equally critical are its newly-designed active aero devices. Consisting of front/rear diffusers, guide vanes and the rear spoiler, they automatically deploy to generate additional downforce at higher speeds without impacting the car's overall coefficient of drag.

Motivation for the LaFerrari is supplied by the firm's first application of its HY-KERS (Hybrid-Kinetic Energy Recovery System) package, a setup Ferrari says it also plans to use in other futures vehicles.  Here, it pairs the automaker's naturally aspirated 6.3-liter V12 that makes 730 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque with an electric motor that develops 161 horses and  199 lb-ft of twist. Collectively, the pair cranks out 950 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque which gets sent to the LaFerrari's rear wheels via a 7-speed paddle-shifted dual-clutch transmission. While Ferrari has yet to release the car's curb weight -- although we do know that it's distributed in a 41/59-percent front/rear split -- the LaFerrari can accelerate from 0-62 mph in less than 3.0 seconds, hit 124 mph in less than 7.0 ticks and streak on to a top end "in excess of 217 mph."

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While the HY-KERS system is technically capable of allowing full-electric operation, it does not do so in this application. Power for the primary drive motor (as well as a supplemental unit that powers various ancillaries) is provided by a lightweight (132 lb) and energy-dense lithium-ion battery pack mounted in the LaFerrari's floor that gets recharged via regenerative braking as well as any time the V12 produced more torque than is necessary to drive the vehicle.  

Beyond being blisteringly quick in a straight line, the LaFerrari is equally stunning when the going gets twisty. Its race-bred suspension is fortified with an advanced magnetorheological electronic damping system, F1-style stability/traction controls and a Gen III electronic differential. Pirelli P Zero performance tires (19-inch 265/30s up front and 20-inch 345/30s in the rear) provide the stick while a new strain of Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes deliver the stop. Collectively, they help the LaFerrari lap the automaker's Fiorano test track 5.0 seconds quicker than an Enzo and more than three ticks under the time of the current F12berlinetta.

The LaFerrari's competition-flavored cabin configuration was designed using input from Scuderia Ferrari F1 drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa. While its deeply-bolstered sport seats are fixed in position, the car's new flat-bottom multifunction steering wheel and the pedal set are fully adjustable to accommodate any size pilot. A full digital main instrument cluster keeps tabs on all of the car's vital stats and large Launch/Reverse/Auto mode buttons are positioned on the center console. However, all gear-changing functions in the LaFerrari are done via shifter paddles mounted on the steering wheel. 

Pricing for the 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari has yet to be announced, although it's fair to assume that number will contain seven digits. Deliveries are expected to start sometime later this year and continue through 2014 until the production run is completed.


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