Is Ferrari Making a Ducati Fighter or a New Hybrid?
Italian automakers can be a bit crazy and eccentric from time to time. Lamborghini made a Hummer-style SUV, Fiat sold an Abarth model that had a trunk that was welded open, and Ferrari made an AWD sports car with two transmissions. Basically, they think of really strange things, and then they create them.
In that vein of thinking, it appears that Ferrari has just filed a patent application for a V-Twin engine. You know, a two-cylinder V, like in a motorcycle. So the question is what does this mean. The prevailing thought is that the Ferrari brand may be used to field a competitor to Ducati. Sergio Marchione says he wants to compete better with the Volkswagen Group, and Ducati just so happens to be owned by Audi, a subsidiary of the Volkswagen group.
As wild and amazing as a Ferrari sports bike would be, I wonder if it isn’t the start of something completely different. Volkswagen just unveiled a faster version of its XL1 hybrid dubbed the XL Sport, and it comes powered by a Ducati V-twin. VW claims this machine will hit 168 mph; yeah, it’s quick.
Now imagine if Ferrari was working on a hybrid system that used the same type of engine. If a two-cylinder Ferrari sounds like sacrilege, it is, but what about a 10-cylinder Ferrari? Ferrari blew the world away with the unique dual-transmission setup it used to put AWD in the FF. Now imagine if Ferrari wanted to make a 458 Hybrid, but it did so by using a V-twin in the nose as a generator motor. The V-twin is strong enough that it could turn a large generator to make lots of power, and a set of electric motors in the front wheels could add all-wheel drive.
This setup would also allow the V-8 to shut off for low speed city driving, dramatically improving fuel economy. Then when you stand on the pedal, the V-8 bursts to life and you rocket toward the horizon.
Now in the actual filing there is a drawing of a motorbike for the engine, and a motorcycle is the most obvious choice, but imagine how awesome a dual-engine, AWD Ferrari 458 could be.
Yeah, I know, my mind thinks of the most amazing things. You are welcome.
Click past the jump to read more about Ferrari’s new V-Twin Engine Design.
Why It Matters
It makes sense for Ferrari to move into a new market with something like a motorcycle. This would allow a “cheap” motorized thing with a Ferrari badge to exist without diluting the brand’s image for the road cars. It also would give Fiat a solid competitor to Ducati, helping to enhance the brand in its battle against the behemoth that is Volkswagen. It would also give Ferrari a new area of motorsport to compete in. Ferrari has not won Le Mans in decades and it has had some serious struggles lately in Formula One. Jumping into Moto GP may give Ferrari a chance to redeem its racing credibility in a new market, while simultaneously improving brand sales and revenue. It is hard to see how Ferrari can lose with a new motorcycle division.
That said, a super-effective hybrid system with a tiny two-cylinder engine helping provide the electricity can be a boon for Ferrari as well. The brand is already struggling with emissions and CAFE problems, and having a car that will suddenly get 60 to 70 mpg in the city can give Ferrari all the room it needs to cram a 760-horsepower V-12 into half the cars in its lineup. It is a true win-win situation. If there was any car company crazy enough to make a motorcycle-engine-powered hybrid system, it’s Ferrari.