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Turbocharging Ferrari’s V12 Would Be “Absolutely Nuts,” CEO Says

Sergio Marchionne looks to put a persistent rumor to bed once and for all.

Ever since the motor mavens in Maranello strapped a pair of snails to a V8 engine and began planting the turbocharged eight-pot into formerly naturally-aspirated models like the California and 458/488, Ferrari purists began wondering if rising power demands and emissions regulations would lead the carmaker to do the same to its iconic V12. Ferrari repeatedly stressed that it had different plans for the 12-cylinder motors—V-8s would be turbocharged, while V12s would be hybridized—but the rumors and concerns continued to fly with every round of forced-induction supercars and speed machines to arrive from another automaker. 

So now it seems to have fallen on Ferrari (and Fiat-Chrysler) CEO Sergio Marchionne to try and clear up the matter again, less than two months after his last attempt: No, Ferrari will not turbocharge its V12 engines. 

“Our head of engine programs told me it would be absolutely nuts to [put a] turbocharger on the V12,” Marchionne told Autocar.  ‘‘We will always offer a V12…it [will be] naturally aspirated, with a hybrid [system].”

The company doesn’t need to haul out the hybrid powertrain to meet regulations until 2021, when the European Union implements a new round of ultra low-emissions requirements for passenger vehicles. 

But as the Ferrari LaFerrari proved, the electric motors attached to the screaming V12s won’t just be there to help Maranello’s supercars squeak past regulators. “The objective of having hybrid and electrics in cars like this is not the traditional objective that most people would have,” Marchionne said. “We’re really trying to improve the performance on the track.”

Considering the V12 in the new Ferrari 812 Superfast (pictured above) already makes more horsepower than the related engine in the LaFerrari and the ever-increasing performance carmakers are squeezing out of batteries and electric motors…we don’t see that being a problem. What we do see, though, is a production Ferrari breaking the 1,000-hp barrier in the next decade.