By Michael Accardi

Allegedly, Ferrari is considering entering the industry’s segment de rigueur by 2021.

Maranello has long denied it would ever degrade itself by building one of those soft-roading vehicular crossover things – company chairman Sergio Marchionne once famously stated “you [would]have to shoot me first,” before Ferrari builds an SUV.

However, Marchionne is supposed to retire in 2019, two years before the project is expected to see light.

Regardless, it seems the Italian automaker could slowly be changing its mind about a segment that has been perpetually printing money for its participants.

According to an inside source, the SUV project is already well underway at 41053 Via Abetone Inferiore, just don’t call it an SUV.

SEE ALSO: Vintage Ferrari Formerly Owned by Elton John Heading to Auction

Codenamed the F16X, Ferrari’s SUV won’t share platforms with either Alfa Romeo’s Stelvio or the Maserati Levante, instead, Ferrari’s SUV will share an aluminum architecture and all-wheel drive system with the next-generation GTC4Lusso, due in 2020. Obviously, the F16X will stand taller than the Lusso and the source alleges it will come with suicide rear doors and a swooping, coupe-like roof.

Heartbreakingly, the Scuderia soft-roader isn’t expected to arrive with the Lusso’s 65-degree, DOHC V12. Instead, rumors point to its 3.9-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine finding its way into the SUV, which may be paired with a hybrid system of some sort.

Even with a $350,000 price tag, the F16X is expected to double Ferrari sales from the company’s current 8,000 units per annum, especially with China returning to its status as the fastest-growing luxury market in the world after a bout of austerity in 2014.

With Porsche, Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, and Lamborghini all selling or about to sell SUVs, Modena would be foolish to ignore the gold-rush because of some misguided sense of mechanical morals.

And don’t start complaining about diluting the brand; if Ferrari can open theme parks and sell hats to dudes who ride the bus, it can make an SUV without the world immolating. Probably.

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