The Dino brand, created by Ferrari for models with engines with fewer than 12 cylinders, spanned from 1968 to 1976, and included cars such as the iconic 246 GTS. Now it looks like Ferrari is going to resurrect the name for an entry-level sports car. Rumors about Ferrari planning to develop a V-6-powered sports car have been flying around for some years now. It took Maranello a lot to admit such a model is underway, but Sergio Marchionne finally came clean in June 2015, telling Autocar that a V-6 Ferrari is "not a question of if but when." Two months have passed since then and our spy photographers caught a 458-based mule in the wild. According to them, the car didn’t sound like the usual V-8. What’s more, the mule was followed by a 488 that didn’t sound like it was using a turbocharged V-8 either, but rather the turbo V-6 used in the newly revealed 2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia QV.

Could this mean that Ferrari is finally testing the sports car that will revive the Dino nameplate? This seems to be the likely scenario, especially since the 458 mule sports a number of features hinting toward a new exterior design and a different powerplant.

Of course, we’re nearly three years away from seeing the real deal in the metal and it will probably take at least 12 months until we get to see a pre-production body on that mule, but that won’t stop me from speculating what this Ferrari might bring to the market. Keep reading for the full details.

Updated 10/01/2015: According to AutoCar, Ferrari just filled patents for its upcoming V6-powered Dino sports car. The new drawings reveal that the 2018 Dino will be a "convertible car with a rigid sunroof and a front engine." So apparently, the upcoming Dino will feature a retractable roof - just like the 488 Spider and will get the same 3.0-litre V-6 engine used in the Alfa Giulia.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Ferrari Dino.

  • 2018 Ferrari Dino
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • 0-60 time:
    4.5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    186 mph (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2018 Ferrari Dino Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Ferrari Dino Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Ferrari Dino Exterior Spyshots
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Since the Dino is still a mule, there aren’t many details to go by, but this 458 Italia body does feature a pair of massive air intakes on the rear fenders. Given Marchionne said the Dino could develop around 500 horsepower, I expect to see them on the production car too, where they will supply the high-revving turbo engine with loads of fresh air. The intakes also confirm that the Dino will be a mid-engine sports car and not a replacement for the 2015 Ferrari California T, as reported by various sources.

Other than that, the Dino should receive a design of its own. According to the report, the coupe will be derived from the 2016 Ferrari 488 GTB, which means it will most likely borrow a few cues from it. The source also claims it will sit on a shorter, narrower version of the 488’s platform and feature short overhangs, a sleek roofline, "and unique lights, bumpers, wheels, and doors."

The outlet also reports this new sports car could wear a "486" badge.

Interior

The interior of the upcoming Dino is obviously a mystery, but given Ferrari confirmed it won’t be significantly less expensive than the California T, we can expect about the same number of luxury features and creature comforts as in any other vehicle from the brand. Look for a two-tone, leather-wrapped dashboard, leather-wrapped sports seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, and high-grade leather and Alcantara on just about every surface. Aluminum and carbon-fiber trim should also be offered as standard, while the options list will likely include a wide array of upholstery colors and practically unlimited customization choices. The sports car will also receive Ferrari’s latest technology and a premium audio system.

Drivetrain

The reason why the upcoming Dino is such a big deal is because Ferrari’s last V-6-powered road car dates back to 1974, when the original Dino was replaced by the V-8-powered 1973-1980 Ferrari Dino 308 GT4. Since then, Ferrari has used V-6 engines only in Formula One cars.

Ferrari’s history with V-6 engines began in 1956, when the Italians developed their first Dino units for Formula Two racing.

Ferrari’s history with V-6 engines began in 1956, when the Italians developed their first Dino units for Formula Two racing. However, it took another decade for Ferrari to build one for road-car use. It happened in 1968 with the launch of the Dino marque, which was created to market lower-priced Ferraris powered by engines with fewer than 12 cylinders. A 2.0-liter V-6 was offered in the 1968-1969 Dino 206 GT in 1968, while a 2.4-liter unit was developed for the 1969-1974 Dino 246 GT model, launched in 1969.

For the modern-day Dino, Ferrari will reportedly use a modified version of the 3.0-liter V-6 in the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV. The engine was actually developed by Maranello for Alfa Romeo, but there’s very little chance the Dino will get the exact same engine. In the Giulia QV, the V-6 generates 503 horsepower, but Ferrari will likely want to squeeze a bit more than that out of it.

Given the California T is rated at 552 horses, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Dino arrive with around 530 horsepower. Although it’s not likely to be more powerful than the California T, the Dino will most certainly be lighter, and due to a better power-to-weight ratio, quicker from 0 to 60 mph.

Expect a 3.3-second sprint and a top speed of around 200 mph, which should be enough to give the Porsche 911 Turbo and the McLaren 570S a run for their money. The California T needs 3.6 ticks to hit 60 mph before reaching a top speed of 196 mph.

Prices

Though initial reports said the Dino is part of Ferrari’s plan to push up volume with a more affordable sports car, Marchionne denied all that. Instead, the Dino will probably have a similar sticker to the California T, which retails from around $200,000. As far as availability goes, the sports car will arrive sometime in 2017 for the 2018 model year.

Competition

2014 Porsche 911 Turbo

2014 Porsche 911 Turbo High Resolution Exterior
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With more than 500 horsepower coming from a V-6 engine, the Ferrari Dino will enter Porsche 911 Turbo territory. The German sports car uses a 3.8-liter flat-six that’s available in two versions. The 911 Turbo gets 520 horsepower and 487 pound-feet of torque, while the 911 Turbo S has 560 horses and 516 pound-feet of twist. The sprint from 0 to 60 mph takes 3.2 seconds (3.0 with Sport Chrono) and 2.9 seconds, respectively, while top speed is rated at 195 and 197 mph, respectively.

Grated, the 911 Turbo will be quicker than the Dino in a straight line, but the Ferrari shouldn’t have trouble stealing customers from Porsche, thanks to its heritage and more luxurious interior. However, the Porsche has pricing on its side, as the Turbo retails from $151,100, while the Turbo S comes in at $182,700 before options.

Read more about the Porsche 911 Turbo here.

2016 McLaren 570S

2016 McLaren 570S Coupe High Resolution Exterior
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The 570S is the latest sports car to challenge the 911 Turbo, and is McLaren’s first venture into this niche. But unlike the 911 Turbo and the upcoming Dino, the 570S uses a V-8 engine in the form of a turbocharged, 3.8-liter (shared with both the 650S and P1) unit. Output in this version is 562 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, which makes more powerful than the Porsche. However, the 570S is a bit slower than the 911 Turbo S, needing 3.2 seconds to hit 62 mph before topping out at 204 mph.

What makes the 570S a true enthusiast’s car, however, is its 2,895-pound curb weight. Not only the lightest vehicle in its segment, the McLaren is a whopping 642 pounds lighter than the 911 Turbo S and 255 pounds lighter than the track-focused 2014 Porsche 911 GT3. Pricing starts from $184,900, but the 570S can easily fetch in excess of $200,000 with a few options from MSO, McLaren’s customizing division.

Find out more about the McLaren 570S Coupe here.

Rendering

2018 Ferrari Dino Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Conclusion

The Dino isn’t the kind of Ferrari most purists would have over a V-12 or V-8 model the folks over at Maranello built back in the day, but it’s this nameplate that first brought more affordable Ferraris to the masses (like Magnum, P.I.). To some extent, the new Dino could do the same thing, despite the company’s claim that it will be as expensive as the California T. Unlike the grand tourer, the Dino will be a full-fledged sports car and the fact that it could also return fantastic fuel economy makes it that much better not just for Ferrari enthusiasts, but for sports car aficionados in general.

  • Leave it
    • * Likely more expensive than competition
    • * A bit slower than the 911 Turbo S
    • * Won’t be here until 2018

Updated History

Updated 09/02/2015: Based on the recent spy shots and rumors we created a rendering for the upcoming Ferrari Dino. We hope you like it!

Updated 08/20/2015: According to Automobile, the Dino will be derived from the new Ferrari 488. More details in our speculative review.

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