Every luxury automaker is getting into the lucrative business of selling SUVs—even Lamborghini, Aston Martin, and Rolls-Royce. Ferrari, on the other hand, has said emphatically that it has no desire to produce SUV. Company’s CEO Sergio Marchionne said earlier this year that “[you’d] have to shoot me first” before Ferrari built an SUV. So that settles that.
Apparently not, if this report from UK’s Car magazine is to be believed. Well-connected journalist Georg Kacher says that a Ferrari SUV, internally code-named F16X, is being developed for a 2021 launch. The F16X—which anonymous Ferrari sources claim isn’t an SUV, as such—will be built alongside the replacement for the GTC4Lusso.
Car reports that the F16X will have a raised ride height over the four-seat GTC4Lusso. It will also get backwards-opening suicide doors for better access to the rear seats and use the same aluminum architecture as the next-gen GTC4Lusso.
Ferrari developed a new all-wheel drive system for the GTC4Lusso, and its predecessor, the FF, which uses a separate two-speed gearbox to drive the front axle. This system removes the need for a driveshaft running from the rear transaxle all the way back to the front wheels, meaning its engine can be mounted lower in the chassis. It’s likely that the F16X would use a version of this all-wheel drive system, as it’ll be closely related to the GTC4Lusso’s replacement.
Unlike the GTC4Lusso, the F16X reportedly wouldn’t be offered with V12 power, instead getting a V8 with possible hybrid assistance. This V8 will likely be an evolution of the 3.9-liter twin-turbo unit used in the California T and rear-wheel drive GTC4Lusso T.
So, even though it sounds like Ferrari’s rumored SUV would be different than the pack, it would represent a big change in philosophy for the company if it reaches production. Marchionne has said that he seeks to increase Ferrari sales to 10,000 units per year by 2025, but the company certainly doesn’t need an SUV to do that. Right now, it’s selling around 8,000 cars per year, and surely, it could find 2,000 more buyers without any trouble.
That said, Ferrari is now a publicly-traded company, so perhaps Marchionne is feeling the pressure to bring out a near-guaranteed sales hit. Just don’t expect him to call the F16X an SUV, however.