We recently brought you a spy video showing a FF with makeshift exhaust pipes and a louder-than-usual engine testing at Ferrari’s Fiorano track in Italy, confirming that work was well underway on an update for the striking grand tourer. Now, a camouflaged prototype has been spotted undergoing cold-weather testing near the Arctic Circle.

In Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ [NYSE:FCAU] five-year strategy announcement last May, it was revealed Ferrari was planning to give its cars a lifespan of about eight years going forward, with a significant update—Modificato in Ferrari-speak—after the first four years.

We saw this first with the transition of the California to the latest California T in 2014, and later this year we’ll see the 458 Italia receive its update. With the FF originally going on sale as a 2012 model, an updated version of the four-wheel-drive Ferrari is due in showrooms in the next 12-18 months.

According to a previous report, the updated FF will maintain a naturally aspirated V-12 but have an output close to 700 horsepower instead of the current 651-hp rating. The car will also maintain its 4RM all-wheel-drive system, albeit with revisions to enhance performance.

A new V-8 option is said to be in the hopper, to increase the car’s appeal, though the move would be strange given Ferrari’s preference for only a single engine for its respective models. Instead, we may see the V-8 reserved for a more coupe-like FF variant that may also be in the works.

The final mechanical update is said to be a new eight-speed transmission instead of the FF’s existing seven-speed dual-clutch unit. The extra gear will allow a tall overdrive in top gear to reduce fuel consumption and help Ferrari reach its emissions targets. Although Ferrari is also planning to make all of its V-12 models hybrids to cut emissions, we don’t expect this for some time still.

As for the styling of the updated FF, this is likely to feature only evolutionary updates, like those we saw in the California’s transition to the California T. Interestingly, the previous report also stated that we may see some carbon fiber and other composite materials employed above the waistline to help lower the car’s center of gravity.

Look for a reveal of the updated Ferrari FF late this year or in early 2016.


Follow Motor Authority on Facebook, Twitter, and Google +.