What's Up With This Silent Ferrari 488 Prototype?

We think this is the successor to the 488. Here's why.

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YouTubePurePerformance

Hybrid Ferraris are on their way. CEO Sergio Marchionne said in 2016 that every Ferrari sold from 2019 will offer hybrid tech in some form, and it seems that engineers are working to make that a reality. A video recently posted on YouTube shows what appears to be a 488 prototype rolling around Ferrari's test track, Fiorano, in total silence.

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Does this mean Ferrari will come out with 488 hybrid? Probably not. Last year, there was a rumor that its more track-focused 488 would use hybrid assistance, but now we know that car, the 488 Pista, uses conventional internal-combustion power alone. If we had to warrant a guess, this is probably a test mule for a future Ferrari hybrid, possibly the successor to the 488.

Last year, Marchionne said that a Ferrari with a hybrid V8 drivetrain would arrive in 2019, and he hinted that it might not use a kinetic energy-recovery system (KERS) like the LaFerrari. Where the LaFerrari's system was used just to improve performance, Marchionne implies that this system will boost efficiency and reduce emissions too.

"[This car] needs to become more of a traditional hybrid [than the LaFerrari] to fulfill a different role," Marchionne told .

Marchionne has made it clear that he wants Ferrari to sell over 10,000 cars per year, but doing so would force the company to comply with tougher emissions and fuel-economy regulations. Given this, it wouldn't be a complete surprise to see Ferrari develop a hybrid using a more traditional battery system, which could offer some all-electric driving range.

Given all this info, our best guess is that this is probably a prototype for a 488 successor. Ferrari usually likes to roll out its "Speciale Series" model—in this case, the Pista—a year or two before the next mid-engine V8 arrives. That pegs 2019 for a possible arrival of this car—which, conveniently for us, is when Marchionne confirmed Ferrari's first hybrid V8 will debut.

So, it seems like the next mid-engine V8 Ferrari will be a hybrid. We'd bet that it'll ride on a new platform to accomadate the batteries too. And if Ferrari sticks to Marchionne's timeline, we won't have to wait long for it to make its debut.


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