Ferrari develops 4WD systemEnlarge Photo
Ferrari's new four-wheel-drive system can be used for both their mid-engine cars, as well as the front-engine vehicles that feature a transaxle layout. The system works like an ordinary rear-drive car with a conventional gearbox and clutch system, but when optimal grip is required, such as during a slide or driving on icy roads, the front wheels can be selectively connected using the new transmission system. A secondary clutch is mated to the crankshaft, which is activated by an electronic sensor that measures slip and acts as a form of traction control when driving the front wheels.
The use of four-wheel drive has been proven to dramatically increase the performance of a vehicle in poor grip conditions. Another benefit is that Ferrari’s system, unlike Lamborghini’s AWD mode, will allow drivers to choose whether to use just the rear wheels or all four. However, one of the major hindrances is the substantial cost and complexity of installing the system. At higher speeds the four-wheel drive mode can only be activated for brief periods before it overheats, which leads to poor reliability, something Ferrari can definitely do without.