Tesla has made no bones about its desire to produce cars that can compete with the fastest machines on earth. The company has already raced its Model S against a Lamborghini Aventador, McLaren 650S and a Boeing 773. The purpose of these videos is not to show that Model S is the fastest vehicle in the world. Instead Tesla is demonstrating that its electric-powered cars have the potential to hold their own against any of the big gas-guzzling vehicles that made their reputations in the 20th century.
Enter the Ferrari F430. Ferrari’s two-seat, two-door roadster explodes out of the blocks with a V8 engine churning out 483 bhp at 8500 rpm, with 343 lb-ft of torque at 5250 rpm. DragTimes thought it would be fun to bring out Tesla’s other car – the Model X SUV – for a full-on drag race. The results can be viewed right here:
At the outset, consider that the Model X in Ludicrous mode can go from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds, completing a quarter of a mile in 11.7 seconds. The Model X in Ludicrous has a top speed of 155 mph. The Ferrari F430 can hit a top speed of 196 mph and will zoom from 0 to 60 in 3.8 seconds. The biggest surprise in comparing these numbers is just how fast the Model X can go. It was not that long ago that electric cars were thought to be plodders that could go around 50 mph on a good day. Tesla has really changed the perception of what electric-powered cars can do.
The Model X manages to hold the lead for far longer than one would assume, especially for an SUV. It is an impressive achievement, unless, that is, you’re Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Ferrari. When asked whether Ferrari would ever expand its hybrid technology beyond the LaFerrari plug-in supercar, Marchionne said the company would never do so. “With Ferrari, it’s almost an obscene concept,” said Marchionne, who ruled out ever getting rid of the internal combustion engine.
Marchionne described his experience test-driving a Tesla, which made him nervous because it was so deadly silent. “This is not Ferrari,” Marchionne recalls himself thinking. He then turned up the radio to make up for the silence. Electric technology advocates have heard all this before (recall the number of reviews of the Prius that were baffled by the push-button ignition and silent cabin) For a certain generation, the lack of a roaring engine has been something of a deal-breaker. But for those who are embracing clean technologies, the lack of sound is beginning to be seen as cool.
Marchionne also ruled out ever investing in autonomous driving capabilities. “You’ll have to shoot me first,” he told reporters. On this point, Marchionne may have a point. Like Porsche, Ferrari has refused to budge on self-driving capabilities, on the basis that both companies create cars that demand to be driven. Buyers of these high-end sports cars want the thrill of maneuvering a beautiful machine, rather than sitting back while a computer drives the car. Earlier this year Porsche CEO Oliver Blume commented “An iPhone belongs in your pocket, not on the road.” For luxury brands, this could be an accurate perception.
Where the two differ, however, is in the importance of developing electric cars, even pledging to make an all-electric performance car. Although Marchionne is opposed to the technology now, there are a number of levels of review inside Ferrari and the calculation may change in the future.