So, despite the daggy black disguise, this new Ferrari has already set hearts racing around the globe. It's the upcoming F450, successor to today's F430 benchmark and promised with a 4.5-litre V8 and the same double-clutch gearbox already used in the droptop California.
The F450 was originally expected to preview this year but Ferrari insiders say its first public appearance is likely to be delayed until early in 2010. The Geneva Motor Show, in late March, is the best bet unless it is rushed out for a flag waving appearance at this year's Frankfurt show in September. In either case, first customer deliveries of the F450 will be in the second half of 2010.
This test mule was pictured during handling tests in northern Italy, close to Ferrari's headquarters at Maranello outside Modena. The Carparazzi pictures show a predictable mismatch of bodywork and wheels, but the shape is clearly evolved from the existing mid-engined F430.
European sources say the car is codenamed the F142 and it will be quicker than the F430 Scuderia, which makes extra pace thanks to light-weighting work and a tweaked V8. The new model is expected to have more than 390 kiloWatts and could even come with a Kinetic Energy Recovery System similar to the ones on this year's Ferrari Formula One racer.