New Ferrari engine patent is a… boosted four-banger?

(Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
(Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images) /

This new Ferrari engine could mean a turbocharged I4 supercar is in the works. No word on if it will come with VTEC.

Ferrari engine patent drawings show that the venerable Italian sports car manufacturer could be working on an all-new turbocharged four-cylinder engine. AutoGuide uncovered the patent, being sure to mention this isn’t the automaker’s first foray into the four-cylinder arena.

It’s not entirely certain what the engine could be used for, but the sky is the limit with Ferrari. It’s entirely possible the engine could only see use on the racetrack.

Many are quite surprised that Ferrari would design an engine as pedestrian as a turbocharged I4. However, this isn’t out of character for Ferrari as of late. Recently, most Ferrari engines have made the switch to turbocharged power.

Ferrari Engine
A LaFerrari HY-KERS hybrid power unit system 2013 on display at the ‘Ferrari: Under the Skin’ exhibition. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images) /

Turbocharged four-cylinders and hybrid systems aren’t just for econoboxes anymore.

Are you worried Ferrari is straying too far from its roots? Worry not, as the Maranello automaker isn’t giving up on big V12’s entirely. Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne was quite clear they will work to ensure the future of V12 supercars.

However, change is definitely in the air, even in the home of the supercar. We recently reported that Ferrari’s biggest rival, Lamborghini, will be building a hybrid supercar to act as their new flagship. Also, McLaren reported that all of their cars will feature advanced hybrid technology as soon as 2025.

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It’s entirely possible this new engine could be used with a hybrid system as well. While the hybridization of supercars may dismay many purists, I for one welcome our new electronically-enhanced overlords! To me, the connotation of underpowered subcompacts is completely overblown.

Hybrid power is about making a car more efficient, but that doesn’t automatically mean it will be boring. In fact, it’s quite the opposite!

Efficiency is all about extracting every last drop of energy from your fuel. While using power efficiently can look like getting 50 MPGs, it can also look like a 6-minute Nürburgring time!

Supercars are all about pushing limits. If a turbocharged four-cylinder is what it takes for Ferrari to make a world-beating supercar, then it’s time we reconsider our expectation of small turbocharged engines.

It’s not certain what this patent could mean for the future of Ferrari engines. However, if it means we’re in for a world full of turbocharged four-cylinder supercars, then that’s okay with me.