Lamborghini Huracan EVO SpyderMore often than not, when the word “supercar” is brought up, two automakers are the first to come to mind: Lamborghini vs. Ferrari. While both are Italian brands, one has a raging bull on it, and the other features a prancing horse. Ferrari is based out of Maranello, while Lamborghini calls Sant’Agata Bolognese home. The two iconic Italian brands have their differences, but they’ve both created some of the most striking, powerful, and drool-worthy vehicles on the planet. Usually, enthusiasts choose one of these Italian automakers as their favorite, but they’re both legendary manufacturers that continually set the bar for high-performance cars.

Most supercar enthusiasts can confidently cite their favorite cars from each Italian automaker, but only a few know the rich history of both brands. Well, here’s your chance to drop some knowledge on your friends. Keep reading to learn about the heritage, models, and future products of Ferrari and Lamborghini.

Enzo Ferrari getting out of a Ferrari in front of brick buildings.
Enzo Ferrari, 1966 Mondadori Portfolio/Getty Images

Origins

Ferrari

Enzo Ferrari was born in Modena, Italy in 1898. From a young age, Ferrari was interested in motor racing. After starting his racing career in 1919, Ferrari became a works driver for Alfa Romeo. Five years later, Enzo founded Scuderia Ferrari as Alfa Romeo’s official racing division. Alfa Romeo eventually renamed its team Alfa Corse and made Enzo its head, but the enterprising Italian had other plans.

In 1939, Enzo left Alfa Romeo to form Auto Avio Costruzioni in Modena. Ferrari built his first car, the 815, and competed in the 1940 Mille Miglia. World War II temporarily halted Italian industry and motor racing, leading Ferrari to move his operations to Maranello in 1943. After the war’s conclusion, Ferrari set about building his first production car, the 125 S. The 12-cylinder car achieved its first victory at the Rome Grand Prix in 1947.

Scuderia Ferrari’s racing success continued, with its first endurance win at the 1948 Mille Miglia and its first 24 Hours of Le Mans victory in 1949. Ferrari’s first Formula 1 world championship came in 1952 with driver Alberto Ascari. The loss of Enzo’s son in 1956 and six of his drivers between 1955 and 1965 put immense strain on Ferrari’s founder, but the company continued to flourish in motor racing.

Ferrari’s first racing victory came at the Rome Grand Prix in 1947 with the 125 S.

In 1961, noting production difficulties, Ferrari began negotiating a sale to Ford Motor Company. Enzo backed out of the deal at the last minute, however, infuriating Ford and igniting a fierce racing rivalry (guess Enzo had a knack for making enemies). In 1969, Enzo sold half his company shares to Fiat and resigned as president in 1977.

In the 1970s, Ferrari’s first mid-engine V8 road cars hit production, including the 308 GTB, 308 GT4, and 308 GTS. The ‘80s brought significant changes to Ferrari. Fiat increased its stake to 90%, Enzo passed away in 1988, and road car performance leveled up. Vehicles like the 288 GTO, Testarossa, and F40 brought the automaker into the modern era of style and power.

Things got a bit more curvaceous in the ’90s with the 550 Maranello, the F50, and the 360 Modena. The 2000s saw a return to form for Ferrari in motorsport, with three 12 Hours of Sebring victories, one 24 Hours of Daytona win, and 13 total F1 world titles. On the commercial side, the Ferrari Enzo pushed the company performance benchmarks, while the F430 and its successor, the 458 Italia, broadened its appeal.

Close up of Ferruccio Lamborghini in front of trees in the back.
Ferruccio Lamborghini Commons/Wikimedia

Lamborghini

Ferruccio Lamborghini was born in 1916 to a family of grape farmers. His interest in mechanics eventually led him to form a business making tractors following World War II. As Lamborghini’s business (which grew to include other appliances) flourished, he became very wealthy.

Lamborghini began collecting and racing sports cars, including those of fellow Italian Enzo Ferrari. As he drove and studied some of his Ferrari road cars, he perceived faults in their engineering. Lamborghini decided to share his constructive criticism with Ferrari but was rebuffed. Insulted by Ferrari’s response, Lamborghini decided he would build a better sports car (and show his countryman a thing or two).

Automobili Lamborghini was founded in May 1963 and a new factory was built in Sant’Agata Bolognese, where the company operates to this day. Lamborghini hand-picked talented engineers, including Giotto Bizzarrini, who had recently developed some of Ferrari’s engines, to begin work on his first car. Six months later, at the Turin Motor Show, the Lamborghini 350 GTV was introduced.

Automobili Lamborghini was founded in May 1963 and a new factory was built in Sant’Agata Bolognese, where the company operates to this day.

After selling 120 units of the production 350 GT, Lamborghini created a new version with a larger engine, new gearbox, and two-by-two seating configuration. This 400 GT model sold in much greater numbers and helped put Lamborghini on the map. With Lamborghini’s operation expanding, its founder sought fresh engineering talent. Ferruccio put the young Paolo Stanzani and Gian Paolo Dallara in charge of his technical department.

Stanzani and Dallara looked to the racing world for inspiration and eventually cooked up a two-seater sports car that would rock the motoring world. With the 400 GT’s 12-cylinder engine transversely mounted behind the cockpit and drilled and welded sheet metal forming the lightweight chassis, this concept sports car debuted at the Turin Motor Show. Famed coachbuilder Nuccio Bertone saw the chassis and approached Lamborghini about building a body. With the help of Lamborghini designer Marcello Gandini, Bertone formed the Miura P400. The car’s debut at the 1966 Geneva Motor Show made Lamborghini an overnight sensation.

Lamborghini went on to add the Islero and Espada before introducing another icon at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show. The LP 400 (better known as the Countach) pioneered the wedge shape and became the dream car of children across the globe. After Ferruccio departed from Automobili Lamborghini in 1972, the Urraco and Silhouette models were added. Financial difficulties led to Automobili Lamborghini’s bankruptcy in 1980, but a year later, Nuova Automobili Ferruccio Lamborghini SpA was born with new investors.

The Jalpa coupe and Lamborghini’s first off-road vehicle, the LM002, kicked off the ’80s, but further financial struggle led the company to change hands again, this time falling under the Chrysler umbrella. In 1990, the sleek, potent Diablo was introduced as the successor to the Countach. In 1994, Chrysler suddenly offloaded Lamborghini to a group of Indonesian investors, who sold the company to its current owner, Audi, in 1998.

At the dawn of the new millennium, Lamborghini was ready to reveal its Diablo successor. The Murcielago was more dramatic than the Diablo and significantly more powerful. A little brother to the Murcielago was added in 2003 to broaden the automaker’s appeal. The Gallardo featured a 500-horsepower V10 developed by Audi and a permanent all-wheel drive.

Close-up view of the logo of a Ferrari on public display in a car show
ymgerman / Adobe Stock

Distinctive design

Both Ferrari and Lamborghini have distinctive design philosophies which can be seen in the look of the cars made by both companies over the years. Ferraris generally have a softer look than Lamborghinis, featuring a classic design with plenty of curves, which gives the cars a classic look like the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder that was featured in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, as seen in the clip below.

On the other hand, Lamborghinis feature much sharper lines with external aerodynamic features for a much flashier design and tend to have a larger frame than Ferraris. Lamborghinis also have one other distinctive trademark, the upward opening “scissor doors” which have been featured on some of the automaker’s best-known models.

Current models

Ferrari

Ferrari continues to compete in Formula One though with much less success than in the early 2000s. The road car business, however, continues to succeed with new models, variants, and millions of adoring fans. At present, Ferrari has nine core models that include: The Roma, Portofino M, F8 Tributo, F8 Spider, 296 GTB, 296 GTS, 812 GTS, SF90 Stradale, and SF90 Spider.

Ferrari’s range of road-going supercar cars that wealthy consumers can purchase is the Roma. It starts at around $240,000 and features a turbocharged 3.9-liter V8 that makes 612 horsepower. It’s one heck of a base model. At the top of the range sits the SF90 Spider. It’s Ferrari’s take on a plug-in hybrid hypercar with a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 and three electric motors for a combined output of 986 horsepower. The Roma can rocket to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds, while the SF90 Stradale completes the sprint in 2.5 seconds.

A step up from the base Roma is the Portofino M, which is the most affordable open-top Ferrari on sale. The Portofino was one of the first turbocharged Ferraris in the modern era and the current Portofino M turns up the dial with a twin-turbo V8 that makes 612 horsepower. It’s also the only Ferrari on sale at the moment with seating for up to four people.

Ferrari’s Top Car: SF90 Stradale

  • 986 horsepower
  • Top speed of 211 mph
  • 0-60 mph in 2.5 seconds

Even Ferrari has started to focus on an electrified future with the introduction of the 296 GTB and 296 GTS. Both come with a turbocharged V6 engine with an electric motor for a combined 819 horsepower. While the GTB and GTS offer blistering performance, the vehicles are capable of driving on electricity alone with a range of 8 miles and can get up to 47 MPGe. Those figures aren’t bad considering the performance they offer.

The SF90 Stradale and SF90 Spider are the current range-topping hypercars in the Ferrari lineup. Once again, Ferrari resorts to using a plug-in hybrid powertrain for maximum performance. These hypercars deliver face-bending acceleration and a radical, futuristic design that would make past Ferraris blush. Of course, these cars cost as much as a mansion.

Lamborghini

As a tenured member of the Volkswagen Group (owners of Audi, Porsche, Bentley, and others), Lamborghini is selling more cars than ever before. At present, there are only four series production models (and several variants of each): the Urus, Huracan, Aventador, and Countach.

The Huracan succeeded the Gallardo in 2014 and continues to boast a naturally aspirated V10 motor. Lamborghini has made quite a few changes to the Huracan over the years, but the 2023 model year marked some large changes. There’s the new Tecnica, which is a road-going version of the hardcore STO model, and the rally-inspired Sterrato. Sadly, the Hurcan’s days are past, as Lamborghini confirmed that 2023 was the last model year for the supercar.

Lamborghini’s Top Car: Countach

  • 802 horsepower
  • Top speed of 221 mph
  • 0-60 mph in 2.8 seconds

Since replacing the Murcielago in 2010, the Aventador has been Lamborghini’s top-dog supercar for years. After a decade of sales, Lamborghini discontinued the Aventador in 2022.

The Urus an exotic, high-performance SUV utilizes some components from the Audi family, like its twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine that delivers 657 horsepower. Because of its SUV body, the Urus can do things other Lamborghinis can, like go off-roading, tackle snow, and take the entire family on a road trip.

2024 Ferrari Purosangue overhead shot of side profile from driver's side in front of a black background.
Ferrari

Looking ahead

Ferrari

Ferrari recently entered the ultra-luxurious SUV segment with the Purosangue. Ferrari’s SUV has an MSRP of around $400,000. The SUV features a 6.5-liter V12 engine that delivers 715 horsepower. The SUV can get to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds and a top speed of 193 mph. The Purosangue also looks radical, almost like a bloated version of the automaker’s supercars.

Rendering of Lamborghini Terzo Millennio driving down the road with a city in the background.
Lamborghini Terzo Millennio Image used with permission by copyright holder

Lamborghini

Lamborghini has committed to retaining naturally aspirated and 12-cylinder engines for as long as it can, but to do so, it will need to embrace electric assistance. We already know the Aventador’s successor will feature some type of hybrid V12 and will weigh more than the current car. Even with extensive use of carbon fiber and its patented forged composites, the additional heft of electric motors and batteries will impact performance. The only answer (for now) will be to add power (oh darn).

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