• Your Car Has Something That the Ferrari SF90 Stradale Doesn’t Have

It’s something common that even some motorcycles have…

The Ferrari SF90 Stradale is, by far, the craziest car to ever come from the Italian brand’s stable. Maybe not so much in exterior design – not that it doesn’t have some pretty crazy aerodynamics – but in terms of equipment and performance. We’re talking about Ferrari’s first true, plug-in hybrid that, when set in the proper mode, can unleash as much as 986 horsepower and, probably, more than the advertised 590 pound-feet of torque. So, the car has some pretty awesome power for something that’ll likely cost less than $500,000, and it has a pretty dominating look. Hell, it even has a 16-inch digital display inside. With all of Ferrari’s latest technology packed into one hybrid vehicle, how is it possible that the car in your driveway – be it a 1990 Toyota Corolla or a brand-new Porsche 911 – has something that the brand-new Ferrari SF9 Stradale doesn’t have? Well, it is possible. And, believe it or not, it’s something that even some modern motorcycles have.

The Ferrari SF90 Stradale Does Not Have a Reverse Gear

Your Car Has Something That the Ferrari SF90 Stradale Doesn't Have
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I know, it’s intriguing as hell and almost sounds like fake news, but I shit you not – the 2021 Ferrari SF90 Stradale DOES NOT have a reverse gear. It does have an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission but, believe it or not, not a single one of those gears will move the SF90 Stradale in reverse. Does that mean that you can’t actually go backward in the SF90? Not at all.

Without a Reverse Gear, How Does the SF90 Back Up?

Your Car Has Something That the Ferrari SF90 Stradale Doesn't Have Exterior
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See, the SF90 is one hell of a car, and all eight gears of that DCT were needed for forward movement, maintaining enough gear ratios, and allowing for an amazing top speed.

Adding in a ninth gear would increase the overall weight of the car, and we all know that the car had to be as light as possible – not only for overall performance but so it can have a somewhat decent-for-its-segment all-electric range. So, Ferrari came up with a rather innovative but retardedly obvious solution – use the electric motors.

The Ferrari SF90 Stradale has three electric motors in total. There’s on pinned between the ICE and the transmission – that one is used to help boost energy in certain modes and to recover energy during coasting maneuvers. The two motors in the front do offer extra horsepower and performance when hauling ass forward but, thanks to the nature of electric motors, by reversing polarity, they can actually spin the opposite way. And, that’s the only way the SF90 will ever go backward under its own power.

Your Car Has Something That the Ferrari SF90 Stradale Doesn't Have Exterior
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To the best of our knowledge, the SF90 has to be put into electric mode; then reverse has to be selected. That also means that reverse is 100-percent silent. But it does raise some questions too.

How fast can the Ferrari SF90 Go in Reverse

Your Car Has Something That the Ferrari SF90 Stradale Doesn't Have Exterior
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Thanks to the advancement of modern technology and software controls, it’s a damn-near certainty that Ferrari has software limited those front electric motors when the car is going in reverse.

A best guess would be that the car can probably do 5-7 mph tops.

However, if Ferrari didn’t think about limiting reverse speed, the SF90 would – in theory – have somewhere in the area of 200 horsepower (all three motors generate 217) and an undisclosed amount of torque. This baby, unregulated, with the right driver, in the right conditions, could probably do at least 100 mph in reverse. I still wouldn’t expect more than 5 mph in reverse, though because you don’t land an engineering job at Ferrari by being a complete dumbass.

Ferrari SF90 Stradale vs Ferrari LaFerrari
Ferrari SF90 Stradale Ferrari LaFerrari
Engine V-8 V-12
Horsepower 780 HP @ 7,500 RPM 800 HP @ 9,000 RPM
Torque 800 NM @ 6,000 RPM 700 NM @ 6,750 RPM
Hybrid system three electric motors HY-KERS system
Hybrid power 220 HP 163 HP
Top Speed 340 km/h 350 km/h
0-100 km/h 2.5 s <3 s
0-200 km/h 6.7 s <7 s

Can the Ferrari SF90 Still Back Up With a Depleted Battery?

Your Car Has Something That the Ferrari SF90 Stradale Doesn't Have Exterior
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The Ferrari SF90 Stradale has a tiny 7.9 kWh battery pack that Ferrari says is good for up to 16 miles of all-electric range on a full charge.

The motor between the engine and transmission can also regenerate some bower too. But, what happens if you drive in all-electric mode until the battery is completely depleted? Say you drive 15.9 miles and park with the battery having almost zero charge? Well, the truth is, we don’t know. Logic would tell us that, since reversing is limited to electric mode only, a depleted battery would mean that you’re shit out of luck. But, Ferrari hasn’t also touched base on this, and logic also tells us that Ferrari would have some kind of failsafe that allows the engine\motor combo to act as a generator and, therefore, supply enough energy for those electric motors to move the car backward. But, as I said, we really don’t know, and Ferrari has remained completely silent about it. This is actually something we’re curious to find out about.

2020 Ferrari SF90 Stradale Hybrid drivetrain specifications
Internal combustion engine
Type V8 - 90° - turbo – dry sump
Total displacement 3990 cc
Maximum power output 574 kW (780 cv) @ 7500 rpm
Max torque 800 Nm @ 6000 rpm
Specific power output 195 cv/l
Max. engine speed 8000 rpm
Compression ratio 9.5:1
Hybrid system
Maximum power electric motors 162 kW (220 cv)
Battery capacity 7.9 kWh
Max. range under electric power 25 km
Transmission and gearbox 8-speed, F1 dual-clutch transmission
Maximum speed 340 km/h
0-100 km/h 2.5 s
0-200 km/h 6.7 s
100-0 km/h 29.5 m
Dry weight/power 1.57 kg/cv
Laptime at Fiorano 79s

Final Thoughts

Your Car Has Something That the Ferrari SF90 Stradale Doesn't Have Exterior
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It’s amazing how simple the electric-only solution really is. By using the electric motors that are already there, Ferrari is actually able to save all the extra weight required to have a reverse gear inside the transmission. The only real problem revolves around what happens when the battery is completely depleted. Of course, this is definitely a first-world problem and will probably never come up in the real world, but it leaves us curious nonetheless.

Further reading

Your Car Has Something That the Ferrari SF90 Stradale Doesn't Have Exterior
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2021 Ferrari SF90 Stradale PHEV - Quirks and Facts You Have To Know About

2014 Ferrari LaFerrari High Resolution Exterior
- image 495448

Read our full review on the 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari

Your Car Has Something That the Ferrari SF90 Stradale Doesn't Have Exterior
- image 842165

Read our full review on the 2021 Ferrari SF90 Stradale.

2021 Ferrari LaFerrari Successor Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
- image 721738

Read our full speculative review on the 2021 Ferrari LaFerrari Successor.

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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