► F16X: Ferrari's take on the SUV
► Boss admits crossover project is live
► Due 2021, packs hybrid power
Ferrari is bowing to the inevitable and drawing up plans for a sports car with more than a hint of genus off-roader about it. Company boss Sergio Marchionne referenced the project at a call with investors following the interim results on 3 August 2017.
Despite years of denying it would build an SUV, CAR magazine can confirm that it's now an active project in Maranello - and even has its own codename: F16X, which will be built alongside the next-gen GTC4 shooting brake range.
Official confirmation: why Ferrari can't ignore the SUV trend
'It will probably happen but it will happen in Ferrari's style,' Marchionne told analysts this week, as he announced a 24% jump in second-quarter profits. 'That space is too big and too inviting and we have a lot of customers who will be more than willing to drive a Ferrari-branded vehicle that has that king of utilitarian objective.'
Automotive News reports that Ferrari is preparing a five-year product plan that runs through to 2022. It will likely be presented in spring 2018, detailing the timeframe for a Ferrari crossover.
A scoop dossier in the July 2017 issue of CAR magazine (below) reveals the full story on what Ferrari insiders swear isn't an SUV. Instead they call it an FUV, or Ferrari Utility Vehicle.
Our artist's impression by Andrei Avarvarii (above) gives a good idea of what to expect: it's a five-door, high-riding coupe ready to square up to the new generation of super-luxury sports cars in the works. It will be a four-door, but the rear apertures will be discreetly hidden.
It's a sector that's about to explode, led by pricey, butch offerings such as the Aston Martin DBX, Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini's forthcoming Urus. Marchionne quipped 'you'd have to shoot me first' if the company launched a copycat 4x4 like those perceived rivals. 'It has not been done to compete with Porsche,' he added.
Ferrari, which is planning to build 8400 cars this year, would see volumes swell beyond 10,000 annually with a crossover in its range, according to insiders. Analysts at Bernstein Research estimate production of 2000-3000 a year and suggest output could rise as high as 15,000 a year by the middle of next decade.
Ferrari crossover: what to expect from Project F16X
CAR's sources reveal the Ferrari soft-roader will be twinned with the replacement for the GTC4, née Ferrari FF, which is due for replacement in 2020.
That means it'll stick with an aluminium architecture and all-wheel drive (significant that; Ferrari has quietly developed a lot of 4wd knowledge since launching the FF, above, in 2011).
It'll be taller than its next-gen GTC relation and we hear it'll have suicide back doors, allowing for a huge doorway and no B-pillars for unimpeded access to the rear seats.
Engines, specs, prices
The F16X crossover will eschew the V12 power available in the GTC4 Lusso, instead offering a V8 petrol or a hybrid powertrain. That's right: the Ferrari soft-roader will be the brand's first petrol-electric car since the LaFerrari.
How much will the Ferrari SUV cost? In excess of €300,000 (£265,000), according to our insiders.
It's good business, alright. Adding a tougher, rougher Ferrari will help double sales of the pracing horse to around 16,000 a year by the early part of the next decade. Which makes it easier to understand CEO Marchionne's apparent U-turn in deciding to chase the 4x4 dollar, albeit in a very Ferrari-friendly fashion.
Click here for a preview of the latest issue of CAR magazine