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Ferrari goes digital to explain the drivetrain of the 2012 FF – Click above to watch video after the jump

The latest exotic machine from Maranello is the 2012 FF. The unusual Ferrari is a four-passenger shooting-brake with a 651-horsepower, 6.3-liter V12 under the hood. All of that go-go-energy is sent to the wheels via Ferrari's new 4RM part-time all-wheel-drive system.

The Italian automaker has put together a video explaining how the system works. To put it simply, the system metes out torque to each wheel individually. That's no easy task, since the twelve-cylinder mill churns out 504 pound-feet of the stuff. Click past the jump for a visual lesson on the Ferrari FF's 4RM drivetrain. Also, turn up your speakers for the Beverly Hills Cop-esque soundtrack.


Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011

  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011
  • Ferrari FF: Geneva 2011


Live photos copyright ©2011 Drew Phillips / AOL

[Source: Ferrari via YouTube]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 41 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm not a fan of what Ferrari is becoming. Some of their most beautiful machines were made > 2000.
        • 3 Years Ago
        LoL, funny you say that. The 355 is one of the last that I've wanted. :)
        • 3 Years Ago
        This is the first prancing horse I've wanted since the 355.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I cannot wait to see Top Gear test and verify Ferrari's claims.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Huh. They didn't have the US pricing or announcement in the article when it first dropped.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Hopefully it will be a (W) lap.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Active Sport Differential from Audi is better.
      • 3 Years Ago
      That's weird. It looks like it's RWD most of the time, with some FWD assist via clutchpacks driven straight from the crank..? Eh? But... with the only gearbox in the rear and no second driveshaft...it...how... just clutch slippage the whole time the FWD is engaged? ...but.... um...... why? Why??
      • 3 Years Ago
      Mid front engine is just front engine. The value of "mid engine" is that the mass of the engine isn't up front where it has to swing back and forth as you turn the wheels (the front end of the car moves a lot more when you turn than the back). With "front mid engine", you don't have this. It's just front engine in dynamics.

      This video and drive system don't make any sense. If the transmission is in the back (transaxle), then how is the speed of the fronts matched to the rear when the rear changes gear? (Kiiks mentions this) We know it isn't just getting geared down power from the back (or traditional transmission location) because it says it gets power from a PTO straight from the crankshaft.

      Plus the video clearly shows a transmission bell housing behind the engine, why if there's a transaxle at the back?

      How are the front wheels disconnected when you stop at a light? The engine doesn't stop (does it?) so they would keep driving unless the front has a clutch too. And if the clutch isn't at the PTO, but after the gearbox (as it appears), then that means you have to rev the entire front gearset up and down with the engine revs. Why have a low-mass flat crankshaft and then do this?

      I could believe that the entire system is as pictured. With extra clutches, gears and PTOs all over the place and that a computer controls them all with the rears. But this would likely make it feel less direct than a system you have proper control over. And it likely precludes a manual gearbox completely. After all this, the only downside would be extra mass, cost, complexity and perhaps weirdness as the front and rear connect, disconnect and shift slightly out of sync. But that seems like a big downside to me.

      I'm unclear what Ferrari is trying to accomplish here.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Wow, you figured it out. Ferrari, despite all their engineering expertise, has it all wrong. The internetz expurt wins again.
        • 3 Years Ago
        The 'bell housing' is so Ferrari doesn't have to use a two piece driveshaft running at crank speed.
        Front wheels can be disconnected via no clutch apply load, and moving the selector to neutral.
        What does 'flat' mean in regards to a 12 cylinder engine, this is a V12, not a big bang inline6, right?

        This system seems like a stop gap measure. The 'green' movement will probably 'force' Ferrari to drop the V12, and replace with V8. Then a larger [in comparison to maximum power this system has] electric motor will drive a front differential, with KERS.

        and hey if it helps the super rich guy get to the ski chalet, Ferrari has done its job
        • 3 Years Ago
        The front wheels get powered via a bunch of clutches and dark magic. Thus, most of the time, its a normal f/r ferrari gt, with the front clutches disengaged. But when more grip is needed, the clutches can partially engage, and probably match road speed via a large range of slip. So technically, because the front does not affect the transaxle at all, you could have a manual at the back if you want, it would be rwd until you get too much wheelspin. It sounds bulky and complex, but it's supposedly a fraction of the weight of adding a front and center diff+ shafts and axles. Top Gear magazine drove the prototype, and in the dry, you could get massive tailslides like a rwd, but in wet and snow, it wouldn't suddenly snap and spin off the road like 599s do. I think this system is ideal, because you dont want the front wheels to ever get close to max engine torque, and it would never send more than 30-40% forwards. Ferrari entered the 4wd system market by blatantly avoiding the standard awd that has been around since the Quattro.
          AcidTonic
          • 3 Years Ago
          "Ferrari entered the 4wd system market by blatantly avoiding the standard awd that has been around since the Quattro." Yeah the tried and proven system..... Hopefully the benefits outweigh the risks and it pans out :)
        • 3 Years Ago
        If they want to slip the front every time it engages, then it's going to heat up, you couldn't afford to engage it coming out of every corner.

        Additionally, as I mentioned, it seems to tie a lot of mass to the crankshaft, and that means the revs won't fall (or rise) as rapidly as Ferraris famously do.

        So I don't see how this is ideal. Workable maybe, but not ideal.

        I also think it would feel funny to drive a system where the fronts and rears are trying to be driven to different speeds. At 10/10ths, it seems like it would overload the front tires, and get you outside the grip circle (understeer or a spin).
          AcidTonic
          • 3 Years Ago
          No I bet it simulates the feedback from a true connected AWD system. It's a unique feeling when turning that all 4 wheels are gripping the road slightly more by resisting each other's turning and slipping the differentials. Especially on a car like the Evo with a LSD front and rear and no open diffs anywhere in the system. It's a very confidence inspiring feeling and I would bet on that being the motivation behind it.
      • 3 Years Ago
      So is there a transmission for the front end too?
        • 3 Years Ago
        Wait upon further inspection, at 0:28 I did see an idler gear.
        So I would wager that the synchro works F/N/R
        Yes Ferrari has to pick an 'average' speed where there would be 0% slip, they don't necessarily have to be the same.
        • 3 Years Ago
        So the clutch packs are the only component responsible for matching the engine speed to road speed for the front wheels? Is there a maximum speed at which the front diff and engine rpm reach a 1:1 ratio? At lower speeds, is there simply tons of slip to account for fixed gearing? It says the PTU system takes power directly from the crank.

        Watching the video again, there seems to be some kind of transmission on the front end. I would think there has to be.

        Too much ugly, too much complexity. Enzo, where art thou?
        • 3 Years Ago
        In that video, it looks like there are CVT pulleys up front.

        But I'm going to assume that isn't the case because I want to think that would be ridiculous for a Ferrari. But maybe it is true...
        • 3 Years Ago
        No, just a front diff, like any other AWD car out there. I like this car a lot, but it isn't some crazy new technology, IMHO.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Oh, I totally get it now!
      • 3 Years Ago
      The video answers as many questions as it creates, which is just wrong! If they're going to explain it, then a FULL explanation would be best.

      I have a theory that the front crank stuff is largely hydrostatic, like some garden tractors or a Bobcat. Let me explain. You'd have a variable displacement pump and a variable displacement motor all in one compact unit. That would give a seemless variety of ratios for neutral, varying speeds, AND reverse. It would also provide the hydraulic pressure needed to clutch those front wheels at varying rates to torque vector and so forth. Tying it all together into the computer would be relatively easy. My biggest doubt is that I know enough about hydrostatics to know that "lightweight" and "high speed" are usually mutually exclusive terms.

      Either way, I applaud any manufacturer for getting on the AWD bandwagon.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'd rather that Ferrari explain why the car is (1) a station wagon, and (2) why it's so damn ugly(!)
      • 3 Years Ago
      That whole front power idea is crazy (awesome). Id still like to learn more about those torque vectoring clutch pack things, and how that can vary torque and speed, maybe it just really works at low speeds, which is where you need that extra traction anyway.

      Either way, I want some of what Ferrari's engineers been smokin!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ugly it may be, but I am totally in love with the idea of a practical Ferrari.
        AcidTonic
        • 3 Years Ago
        Props for understanding the true reason for AWD on a high power vehicle + 4 doors. DING DING DING, We have a winner!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yay hot hatch
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