Could the prancing horse be going to back to the future with a new highly advanced motor?

Ferrari has patented a new hybrid four-cylinder powertrain with an electric turbocharger.

AutoGuide found the intriguing patent filing from Ferrari at the European Patent Office.

The filing describes a new engine featuring a turbine in the exhaust duct, but instead of directly driving a compressor, it powers an electric generator which then stores the energy.

This stored energy can then be used by an electric motor driving the wheels, as well as a compressor to feed more air into the engine.

The patent then goes on to describe how the turbine can be finely manipulated to improve the engine's exhaust note, with higher turbine speeds generating higher pitched sounds and a slower turbine giving off a more baritone note.

Our interest levels are raised even further by the fact images accompanying the filing show a four-cylinder engine. While this suggests a four-cylinder might be in Ferrari's future, it's also entirely possible this engine was used purely for illustrative purposes.

It's not clear how close to production this new motor is, nor where it might be used. Could it end up in the long-rumoured successor to the Dino? Or maybe it's something Ferrari is developing for brands directly controlled by Fiat Chrysler, like Alfa Romeo or Maserati.

Should it go into production, it won't be the first Ferrari four-cylinder, although the units used in the 1950s were employed in race cars.