Ferrari has filed a patent application (pictured above) for an electrically-turbocharged four-cylinder engine with the European Patent Office, according to Autoguide. Assuming this powerplant makes it to production, it will be the first four-cylinder engine to serve in a Prancing Horse in over two decades.

According to the patent, the setup features a turbine situated within the exhaust duct, and is driven by exhaust gases. Unlike a conventional turbocharger however, there is no mechanical link between the exhaust-driven turbine and a compressor, instead harvesting the energy for storage as electricity via an electric generator.

The stored energy is then used to power a traction motor that will aid in propelling the driven wheels, as well as to power the electric compressor that serves as the forced induction component of the setup. The idea behind using electricity is not just to reduce turbo lag, but also to improve the aural qualities of a turbocharged engine.

The faster the exhaust turbine spins, the higher-pitched the exhaust tone can be, according to the patent filing. This also means that while something like an exhaust valve is either fully opened or closed, the turbine allows for more variance in tone by varying its speed. As the energy is stored away by the generator, performance will not suffer if the ECU slows the exhaust turbine to get the desired sound.

Turbocharging is now commonplace amongst Ferrari’s line-up, at least for the V8 models such as the Portofino and the 488 Pista. Ferrari’s first-ever roadgoing turbocharged model was the 208 GTS Turbo, also a 2.0 litre model, albeit in a V8 configuration.

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