Ferrari chicanery - Luxury Travel Magazine
|By: Joshua Dowling, Issue 47 – Winter 11|
|JOSHUA DOWLING TOOK THE NEW FERRARI FF ON A TEST DRIVE IN THE ITALIAN ALPS AND DISCOVERED MORE THAN A FEW TRICKS UNDER ITS BONNET.|
|The luggage kept appearing from the boot, just like clowns springing out of a tiny car in a circus act. Before long, 11 pieces of luggage, including two giant golf bags, were lined up on the showroom floor. It seemed like an optical illusion. How did so many bags fit in the boot of a Ferrari? This, rather than a display of the car’s gorgeous V12 engine or plush interior, was the media’s introduction to the new Ferrari FF. With its unusual, elongated body, the FF is the roomiest Ferrari ever made and one of the most cavernous cars in its class. Ferrari had certainly made its point. It turns out Ferrari owners want to use their cars more – and so they need to be more practical. Its latest creation is in fact designed to tempt customers away from the raft of luxury four-wheel-drives and performance sedans currently on the market. So, call this the Ferrari you could live with every day, but it’s by no means pedestrian.|
The FF has the biggest V12 ever fitted to a Ferrari road car and matches the multi-million dollar Enzo supercar for power. It has more torque (the energy that gives you the shove-in-the-back feeling) than any other Ferrari road car before it – and 70 per cent of that oomph is available from just above idle, at 1000rpm, while you’re waiting at the lights. It’s a dormant Mike Tyson. The gear changes in the F1-style gearbox are so quick that Ferrari claims a reaction time of 0.0 seconds. That’s not a misprint. It claims that the computer technology in the gearbox is now so fast the gearshifts are instantaneous. (The electronic message may take 0.0 seconds to get from your fingertips to the gearbox, but it still takes the gearbox itself a moment to select the correct gear. But it is seamless, smooth and yes, very quick.) However, there’s one more trick under the Ferrari FF’s hood that also makes this car special. It’s part of the reasoning behind the car’s name. One “F” is for “four-seater”, the other “F” is for “four-wheel-drive”. The FF is the first Ferrari to send power to all four wheels.
It may not be a high-riding four-wheel-drive, but with an inbuilt all-wheel-drive system, it means the FF can traverse slippery roads on the way to the ski fields – and you don’t need to carry tyre chains. It also means the FF has phenomenal grip in the iciest conditions. We got to sample this in the Italian Alps earlier this year. Snow banks two metres high lined the road, it was like we were driving through a giant, white funnel. As the snow began to melt, it left icy patches on the roadway, which meant every time you came around a corner you didn’t know if the tarmac would be dry or diabolical. But in the FF it mattered not. After a momentary wriggle on the ice, it’s all-wheel-drive system gathered things up nicely, bringing the driver and the car under control. Of course, it won’t rewrite the laws of physics but the four-wheel-drive system can certainly get the Ferrari out of slippery situations. What surprises most about the FF is how nimble it feels for such a big, heavy car. The FF is heavier than a big family sedan and longer than a Holden Commodore wagon.
The distance between the front and rear wheels is close to that of a Holden Caprice limousine. The FF is also wider than the latest BMW X5 four-wheel-drive and Bentley Continental GT coupe. These dimensions give the FF an impressively broad footprint but also provide more occupant space. Inside the cockpit, the Ferrari FF smells like an Italian shoe shop; the colour of fine leather can be selected from dozens of choices. Unlike some sports cars, there’s genuinely room for two adults in the back seats – and their luggage. Ah yes, the luggage. With the 11 pieces laid out, some of us took it upon ourselves to try to get the 11 pieces back in the car (with the back seats folded flat, of course). After several frustrating attempts, none of us could do better than having six pieces left over. Clearly there was an art to packing that we were yet to master. And I should stick to writing.
Engine: 6.3-litre V12
Power: 486kW, 683Nm
0 to 100km/h: 3.7 seconds
Top speed: 335km/h