Ferrari Has No Plans to Downsize, Hybridize, or Turbocharge V-12s

Ferrari V-12s will forevermore be big, naturally aspirated, and unassisted by electric motors.


A Ferrari executive has confirmed that the automaker does not plan to compromise the soul of its old-school, naturally aspirated V-12 engine.

"We will fight for the V-12, to maintain it like this today, because it is core Ferrari," explained Maranello's Chief Technical Officer Michael Leiters in an interview with Road & Track. Leiters promised that Ferrari V-12s would remain naturally aspirated, high-displacement performance engines and that its smaller V-6 and V-8 engines would be the ones bowing to tightening emissions regulations.

"It's very important to differentiate which car I want [a hybrid system] in," Leiters continued. "If we're doing a V-12, I'm not thinking about hybridization. It's a contradiction. Maybe we would get a little reduction in [fuel] consumption with a hybrid, but it doesn't make sense. To get the full potential of a hybrid, we need to downsize the engine. With a V-12, naturally aspirated car, we don't have that downsizing."

Soon, Ferrari may not only be among the last automakers selling cars with V-12 engines but the last selling vehicles with naturally aspirated, non-hybridized V-12s. The engine format is gradually disappearing from even ultra high-end cars in the six- and seven-figure price ranges, with longtime user Mercedes-Benz seemingly ready to drop V-12s from its flagship S-class luxury sedan.

Though rival supercar manufacturer Lamborghini has expressed similar commitment to naturally aspirated V-12s, even its Aventador (or successor thereof) is reported to use a hybridized V-12. The imminent near-extinction of non-hybrid V-12s might sting were it not for the fact that Aston Martin has made hybrid V-12s more attractive than ever with its 1,160-horsepower Valkyrie hypercar.