London, UK – Reported by Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine
The Ferrari FF is like no 4×4 you have ever driven. The successor to the 612 Scaglietti, the FF is the most powerful, versatile and—brace yourself—fastest four-seat grand tourer ever produced. Debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2011, the FF is Ferrari’s first production four-wheel drive car—the name is an acronym for Ferrari Four (four seats and four-wheel drive)—and the staggering 6.3 liter V12 engine is the largest engine in a road-legal Ferrari. Not for the faint-hearted, the FF accelerates from zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.7 seconds and has a top speed of 335 km/h (208 mph).
From the outside
Designed by Pininfarina, the FF honors the traditional Ferrari form we know and love, and gives it new expression in this bullet-like shooting brake GT. The aggressive front design has echoes of the 458 Italia, while the large rear hatch gives easy access to the ample luggage space. As you’d expect from a brand born to race, the aerodynamics are second to none. To ensure low drag, the air that flows into the engine compartment exits through sleek side vents and follows the curves around the tail-lights, roof and nolder.
From the inside
A first for a Ferrari model is the new four-wheel drive system (4RM), which weighs half a conventional four-wheel drive system, and keeps the optimum weight distribution of 53% over the rear axle. Integrated with the car’s electronic dynamic control systems, the four-wheel drive technology adapts to a range of terrains and weather conditions thanks to intelligent predictive torque distribution to all four wheels. The rear wheels still provide the power, with torque transferred automatically to the front axle only when required. The famous Ferrari chassis engineering gives the FF sports car dynamics, with powerful brakes and an uncompromising suspension set-up.
This is the first four-wheel drive V12 with a rear-mounted electronic differential, the E-Diff. The Ferrari-patented four-wheel drive system is integrated with the new generation F1-Trac traction control developed specifically for the track. The FF is also the first V12 to sport a seven-speed dual-clutch F1 gearbox, and it delivers a 20% increase in power with a 25% reduction in fuel consumption.
Like all recent Ferraris, the FF is made from aluminium and uses a predominantly spaceframe construction. Different alloys have been used throughout to deliver maximum component efficiency and an improved performance-weight ratio. Hollow, cast nodes have been used to boost structural rigidity and decrease weight, and the new chassis was also designed in sync with the bodywork to minimise the number of components used for each. The structural parts of the bodyshell are now more efficient as they are mostly made up of extrusions and castings. The result is that the FF’s chassis is 10% lighter than the previous generation yet has 6% greater torsional rigidity.
The FF is beautifully svelte and slim, yet still has the capacity to fit four comfortably in its sporty, body-hugging seats, not to mention 450 liters of boot space. Luxury touches include a new infotainment system with dual 5-inch screen on the instrument panel, center dash touch screen and an optional third screen positioned in front of the passenger, displaying speed, rpm and gear.
On the road
From the moment you press the steering wheel-mounted starter button, you know you’re in for a treat. The heart-stopping howl of the engine is enough to make a grown man weep—it’s that magical Ferrari moan, only this time just a little more robust. The steering is light at low speeds and impeccably precise at higher speeds, whatever the weather throws at you. The automatic seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is seamless, even on hills, and should you want to take the reins yourself, the gears can be controlled racing car style via two ‘paddles’ behind the steering wheel. As for the thrust, well, a fighter jet springs to mind.
Sexy yet mature, the FF gives the performance of a four-wheel drive without sacrificing the sporty allure we associate with the prancing horse. This is a car that lets you sate your boyish need for speed one day, and take the family on holiday the next. Too good to be true? See for yourself.