Spy Shots: First Ferrari F450 Prototypes

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The first examples of Ferrari’s latest model, the California convertible, are still arriving in showrooms around the world but already development on several all-new models is well underway. Late last year we saw images of a shortened 599 testing in Germany, suggesting that Ferrari may be working a new compact front-engined model, and soon after that we saw spy shots for the replacement of the F430.

The latest images depict the first actual prototypes for the next-generation F430. New reports suggest the supercar will be fitted with a 4.5L V8 engine and labeled the F450. Furthermore, Auto Motor und Sport is reporting that a concept version will be unveiled at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show ahead of a sales launch in early 2010.

The report also claims the car will be positioned above the current F430’s placing, possibly to allow for the introduction of the aforementioned compact front-engined model. Expect between 550hp (410kW) and 585hp (436kW), a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, and possibly a brake energy recovery system.

Some details we can gather from the spy shots include bigger air intakes at the sides of the car, a new centrally mounted exhaust system and a slightly longer wheelbase. The new shots also confirm a wider track both at the front and rear axles as well as an additional pair of intakes located behind the rear window. Revealed for the first time on this yellow test-mule is a completely new diffuser design, which shows a more fluid look than previous versions.

While the styling of the new F450 is expected to remain similar to the current F430, the car’s mechanicals could be very different. Ferrari has confirmed that it’s looking at a range of powertrain advancements including hybrid and turbocharging technologies, as well as the introduction of lighter construction methods and active aerodynamics.

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