Ferrari SF90 prototype spotted – updates due for the hybrid hypercar

Progress is relentless in Maranello, with Ferrari working on updates for its fast, but flawed SF90 plug-in hybrid

Ferrari has been spied putting together an upgrade package for its 987bhp SF90, its complex plug-in hybrid range-topping supercar. Spotted with a few discrete changes to the front bumper, bonnet and splitter, it’s still up for speculation whether this will be an even more focused version, or a general update to the existing Stradale model. 

Initially launched in 2019, the SF90’s complex plug-in hybrid powertrain has been the root cause of consternation here at evo, as we felt it a fickle and inconsistent car to drive at speed. After a recent experience of the SF90 on track, though, upgrades are already being plumbed into the models reaching customers, but it looks like Ferrari’s going further with this new prototype. 

Joining the twin-turbocharged 4-litre V8 that sits in the middle of the chassis are two electric motors that each power a front wheel. They’re rated at 133bhp and 83lb ft per motor, which combined with the small 99bhp electric motor sandwiched between the engine and eight-speed DCT add a total of 217bhp to the 986bhp total. 

If those numbers don’t quite add up, it’s because while the electric motors are capable of producing those numbers, the SF90’s electrical system and battery is only able to contribute a maximum of 217bhp to the powertrain’s total at any given time – this is something we suspect Ferrari and Bosch are working together to improve. 

Alongside the upgraded hardware on the front axle, we also suspect work is being done behind the scenes on the SF90’s lithium ion battery pack, which is situated as a transversely-mounted bar between the front seats and the mid-mounted V8 engine. 

There’s also a chance that Bosch is working on some additional active safety devices, with a new piece of hardware found in a similar position to the current radar system. The raised cutaway bonnet does suggest there might be some new aero features integrated into the nose, but the taller rear wing has already been seen on models fitted with the Assetto Fiorano package already available. 

Whatever this mule might be hiding, if Ferrari’s proven anything in its electrified era, it’s that it moves extremely quickly when it comes to its hybrid development. The 296 GTB has already proven that it does a far better job of integrating its hybrid components into its powertrain than the bigger and admittedly more technically complex SF90, so we're expecting the lessons to be learnt here to be applied in short order.   

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