The Ferrari brand will always be associated with panache and elegance. Its history has been dotted with great designs like the F40, Testarossa, Enzo and countless others. That said, the Italian automaker’s technical prowess often seems to fall through the cracks.
In his latest episode of Mike’s Mechanics, he showcases a 1.3-liter three-stroke three-stroke two-cylinder engine that Ferrari designed in the early 1990s. As Maranello has long been regarded as the honorary birthplace of the V12, we we were surprised to hear about this configuration. Although it never really saw the light of day, this triple was a sign of things to come.
While two-stroke powertrains are great for their simplicity, they do have their fair share of pitfalls. Inefficiency, low torque and a narrow power band immediately come to mind. However, Ferrari saw the benefits of the platform and brought simple technology to specification. Its engineers used modern technologies to get what they wanted from their configuration. Their two-stroke unit included fuel injection rather than carburetors, proper outlet valves and even a conventional oil lubrication system.
We’ve only seen a few three-cylinder engines that deserve to be looked at in recent years. Specifically, BMW released the i8 in 2014, which included a three-cylinder turbocharged hybrid powertrain. While the supercharged variant of the triple Ferrari was capable of 130 horsepower (97 kilowatts), a turbo variant could have produced 216 horsepower (161 kW). Impressive figures, given that the Bimmer’s internal combustion engine is capable of roughly the same turbo figures.
With everything going electric these days, it’s unlikely that Ferrari has even thought of two-stroke engines or anything with less than eight cylinders since the introduction of this powertrain in the 1990s. Maranello could it possibly produce a challenger for the BMW i8 and the Honda NSX? Let us know what you think in the comments below.