The reviews of the LaFerrari are in, but has the world’s media fallen in love with Ferrari’s long-awaited hybrid hypercar?
The long-awaited LaFerrari is here and a lucky few journalists were at the head of the queue to drive the thing around the streets of Maranello and on Ferrari’s Fiorano test circuit. But what’s the verdict? Does it hold a candle to the similarly futuristic Porsche 918 Spyder and McLaren P1? Is it an instant classic? Here, without further ado, is the general consensus on what is arguably the most anticipated hypercar since… the big bang.
Eddie Alterman at CarAndDriver was terrified of the thing before he even hopped on the plane to Fiorano: “I’ve driven cars that have tried to kill me before,” he says. “But none with such a vast resume of homicidal know-how. Some have threatened to slide off the road without warning, some have tried to collapse my organs with g-forces, and some have ached to impale me on their sharp interior surfaces. This one does it all.”
He’s apprehension is entirely valid. Alterman’s brain is freshly seared with images of Kimi Raikkonen spinning out in a LaFerrari while testing. “If Kimi couldn’t corral the surrealist bestiary packed into this car’s short wheelbase,” Alterman asks, “what hope did I, someone who has never even been to Finland, really have?”
Any car that can make an F1 driver look silly is clearly quite special, then, and LaFerrari is every bit as intimidating in the metal, turning even mundane acts of getting in and sitting comfortably an act of theatre. Autocar was particularly taken aback by the seating arrangement, saying: “Ferrari claims the driving position is half way between that of a normal sports car and a Formula 1 car, with the driver’s backside sitting at broadly the same height as their toes.”
Chris Harris, for Road & Track backs this up, highlighting the fact that drivers do not move the seat towards the controls, but rather the controls towards the seat: “The driving position is pretty radical. You sit low in a padded area of the carbon tub, not in a separate moveable seat because that can flex and contaminate the driver-machine connection. The pedal box moves on a sprung handle and the steering wheel has a greater amount of movement than a series production Ferrari. It’s a great position, and owners get the padding tailor made for them.”
Surprisingly, once on the move, LaFerrari appears quite tame – at least when pottering about. Autocar claims the ride “feels spookily smooth and calm, the steering surprisingly light but bursting with a delicious, old school kind of feel. The brake pedal also feels light underfoot but is again rippling with feel.”
Harris concurs, comparing LaFerrari to its slightly more subduedbaby brother: “Take a 458, lose a little rear visibility, add some width, a ten-percent intimidation factor for the sticker price, and a few extra points for fellow motorists who seem hell-bent on crashing into you while they gawk, and that’s the slow-speed difficulty summarized; that’s your LaFerrari in traffic.”
So LaFerrari is manageable on the roads then, but what’s it like when driven in anger? Faster than anything you can comprehend, according to Top Gear, who say: “Forget all you know about fast: this is a whole new stratosphere of performance, a relentless accumulation of speed accompanied by the greatest automotive soundtrack in the world. You don’t so much accelerate in LaFerrari as warp scenery. As the V12 screams its way to the 9250rpm redline, the Italian countryside is hauled back and fired out of the rearview mirror.”
Autocar concurs, saying: “However fast and furious and noisy and exciting to drive you might imagine LaFerrari to be, double it, add 20 and you might, just maybe, get somewhere close.”
Car Magazine sums up its brutal accelerative force well, remarking: “Ferrari’s test driver says LaFerrari has so much less downforce than the F1 cars that it arrives at the end of the pit straight at Fiorano traveling almost as fast. Speaking of Fiorano, this thing will circulate it in 1m 20sec, a massive 5.3sec faster than the Enzo.”
It stops well, too, apparently. Harris claims: “Braking performance is race-car standard. The vast carbon ceramic Brembos leave you pinned in the optional harness belts.
So LaFerrari is, predictably, epic. Have a read of the full reviews, or better yet, cast an eye over Autocar’s video review (top) to see the thing in action for yourself.