Brave New World

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It’s faster, too. Even at part throttle, the LaFerrari’s performance is breathtaking. The sensation is one of a complete lack of inertia, both from the free-spinning engine and the car itself. At 3,131 pounds (roughly 120 pounds more than the Enzo, but a whopping 700-or-so pounds less than the Porsche 918), the LaFerrari is

a couple of hundred pounds lighter than a 458 Italia and has 70 percent more poke. The first time I pin the throttle to the bare carbon-fiber bulkhead and experience all 963 ponies galloping their way to the pavement is like taking a sucker punch to the guts. The acceleration is crushing—literally, in the case of my internal organs—and so pronounced it verges on the uncomfortable.

There’s power everywhere, the instant torque of the electric motor allowing Ferrari to tune the V12 for top-end performance without creating a peaky powerplant. Throttle response defies belief, thanks to the electric motor filling in any miniscule gaps in the power curve that might otherwise exist.

Ferrari doesn’t specify a 0-62 mph time, only saying that it dips below 3 seconds. This in no way adequately describes how much faster the LaFerrari feels than even something as phenomenally accelerative as a 458 or F12. Looking further up the speedometer for comparisons, an F12 will reach 124 mph (200 km/h) in 8.5 seconds; the LaFerrari will get there in less than seven, and arrive at 186 mph (300 km/h) in just 15.

WITH SUCH MASSIVE PERFORMANCE overwhelming my senses, it would easy to overlook the other elements of the LaFerrari package—if they were not equally worthy of praise. Take the steering, which is by far the best modern Ferrari system yet. As in the other current cars, the assist is electro-hydraulic, rather than fully electric, and the rack is eye-poppingly high geared. I’ve become familiar with the fast steering, but the LaFerrari’s wheel offers far better weighting, accuracy and feel.

Front-end grip is seriously impressive, with the 265/30-19 Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires biting into the tarmac like hungry piranhas, but the purchase at the rear is simply astounding. Through a combination of super-sticky 345mm-wide rear rubber, the E-Diff and F1-derived traction-control software, this Ferrari manages to channel the best part of 1,000 hp through the back wheels alone and not end up squirming down the road like a dog with worms.

Also from Issue 135

  • 458 Challenge Evo
  • Long-term Daytona
  • 599 Buyer's Guide
  • Survivor 250 Europa GT
  • F1: Fighting for second
  • FORZA Tifosi Challenge: Daytona
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