Ever since Ferrari announced that they are thinking on a 4 wheel and 4 seats model, the whole world has been in a tizzy. Everyone seems to be interested in this car and when finally Ferrari unveiled it in the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, the enthusiasts as also the non enthusiasts were aghast. Why so? Because the 4 seater Ferrari is a two door car plus it looks too much like the Porsche Panamera. Now the Porsche Panamera isn’t a car which is known for its looks as much as its performance. However since this is Ferrari’s first 4 seater car and the hype associated to it, we managed to sneak a 20 minutes drive in this new car from Ferrari.
Shooting brake is the name which comes up in the conversation time and again with the Ferrari officials. Well, that is what the new Ferrari is modeled on. The FF moniker in the 2012 Ferrari FF stands for Ferrari Four which means 4 wheel drive. The front end has some of the Chevy Camaro inspired air intakes whereas the hunched shoulders and the peeled back head lamps are reminiscent of the typical Ferrari form. Those head lamps have LED daytime running lamps as also bluish lights. The yellow prancing horse logo is not only there on the hood but also on the air intakes. The 20 inch low profile tyres don’t signify any revolution as far as design theme go. The side profile is the most interesting part of this car which shows that elongated hood and the stubby boot. Interestingly, this car doesn’t have a coupe like silhouette. The rear shows a 5th generation Volkswagen Jetta like tail lamps as also swirling four tail pipes. It also has a similar fashioned panel like the Lamborghini Reventon. We are being told that the air intake upfront and the long hood contribute in keeping the v12 engine of this car cool.
Cut to the interiors and the 2012 Ferrari FF looks similar to any other Porsche interior or even for that matter the Bentley Mulsanne’s. But then some of our staffers haven’t seen such feel of luxury even in the hand built Bentley cars. The interiors reek of heavy richness and opulence. The steering like F1 is highly contoured from all the ends. There is a Harman Kardon music system with 12 speakers and crisp sound quality. The steering wheel is alternatively stitched with Alacantra leather and Napier tappings. On the steering wheel one gets the push button start as also paddle shifts and the GT manettino switch with 5 modes to it. The seats hug you in an absolutely perfect fashion where you wouldn’t think that you are sitting in a seat and instead would be sure that it’s a sofa. There is enough leg room or even head room for most sizes. Only the XXL sized ones would be in a bit of discomfort. Move over to the rear and it would only be people below the 6 foot mark who can think of plonking their fat derriere in there. The boot space so as to speak is 16 cubic feet which can definitely increase to 28.4 cubic feet once the rear seats are flopped down. Moreover goods like ski racks and other long objects can also be pushed into the boot via the flappable arm rest at the rear.
If it’s a Ferrari, no one cares about the ride quality as Ferraris are more known for their engine and handling. Well, the handling front first. On the short spin, we came to know that the 4 wheel drive system is an on-demand one and is one of the lightest 4 wheel drive systems available in the world. The handling is what one would call religious. Even at the periphery of a curve, just flick the meaty steering wheel and use the paddle shifts to downshift and blip the throttle. The carbon fiber ceramic brakes work perfectly and shed speed so fast that you would believe that you never even crossed 30 mph. The ride quality is arguably stiff but then in the streets of Italy, the well cobbled paths do throw up some irregularity which is dispatched well in the Comfort mode. The super stiff sports mode isn’t ashamed to transmit all of the vibrations into the cabin but with a bit of refinement not found in Porsches or BMWs. The Ferrari acoustics unit have tuned this car well for giving the driver as also fellow road users the aural delight of the V12 engine. Blipping the throttle reveals the true nature of this front engined V12.
The 6.2 liter V12 engine of the 2012 Ferrari FF is one heck of a performer developing 651 Hp of power and 504 pound feet of torque. Mating it with the 7 speed DCT was the best thing that Ferrari could have done in a long time. For the traction control and other stuff showing the control on the wheels or even the power flow vectored, there is a small screen. Interesting enough simply for the fact that such things have never made it to any production version cars. Nah, don’t talk of fuel efficiency here though Ferrari say that this car has got a 16% improvement in fuel economy and reduction of CO2 emissions over the 612 Scaglietti. That is real impressive for a car weighing in more than 4000 pounds.
The 2012 Ferrari FF would make its North American debut by October 2011 and its would be priced at around $300,000. Well good things don’t come cheap, do they?