While other editors and writers might have given in to baser instincts and made some kind of rude play on the double-Fs in the model name, we reckon that would be seriously losing the plot. Besides, our editor is quite taken with the whole narrative package that is the FF but he is an unrepentant Ferrari supporter.
All this goes to show is that everyone has a preconceived notion as to what a Ferrari should look like. This is their ideal, which depending on the age group, could either feature design elements that are stuck in the present passé, or entrenched in the brand's legacy. In any case, part of the appeal of any 'exotic' thoroughbred should be its willingness (and ability) to push the envelopes of design and technology. Arguably, the FF does both.
Sharp Edges and a Scowling Visage
On the topic of Ferrari grand tourers capable of transporting four at inter-continental speeds, it might be appropriate to consider the 612 Scaglietti, named in honor of Sergio Scaglietti, a Modenese stylist and coachbuilder responsible for some of the most beautiful Ferraris of the 1950s and 1960s. The 612 may have been an acquired taste but it did adhere to the conventional blueprint for an exotic and was nevertheless capable of turning heads when it passed... even today. Moreover, there were not many choices for those seeking a supercar seating four...
The car's interior brings to mind a cozy country living room, complete with creaking, comfortable leather chairs and the heady scent of cowhide in the air. The soundtrack of the 5748cc V12 is deeply organic and sings to the soul, especially if equipped with an aftermarket exhaust. It is not so much the front of the FF that troubles Ferrari enthusiasts, but the back-end, which takes the form of a ‘shooting-brake’ design, or in other words, an oversized hatchback... that happens to cost upwards of a million dollars in Singapore, for example.
The front-end of the Pininfarina-styled FF is all sharp edges and scowling visage, which appeals strongly to the contemporary market, and certainly brings to mind the recently launched F12Berlinetta. On the other hand, the 612 was urbane and distinguished, with none of the brash aesthetics that so many seem to prefer these days. When we had the FF on-test before it became a more common sight on our streets (relatively speaking, of course!), it was amusing to see the change in expressions on the faces of passers-by as their eyes moved from the front to the rear of the car. It’s as much about practical packaging as it is about style, since the hatchback affords a generous 450-liters worth of cargo-carrying capability and with rear seats folded-flat, this figure jumps to 800-liters.
Creating the FF was more than just an exercise in marketing since, like all Ferrari Grand Tourers before it, the niche is one that is appreciated by somebody who needs space paired with decidedly supercar pace. It might also appeal to someone with a host of other cars and presumably, has nothing more to prove to anybody, much less a horde of keyboard warriors.
“This new Ferrari takes the Prancing Horse into new territory, matching the legendary performance, style and driving excitement expected of a Ferrari with new levels of ability thanks to its unique four-wheel drive system and its spacious and flexible interior, which makes it the most useable and versatile supercar built by Ferrari,” says Simon Inglefield, Head of Ferrari Asia Pacific Other Countries.
Like the models after the 458, all the pertinent controls are positioned around the steering wheel hub, making it possible for the driver to toggle functions without ever taking his hands off the helm. Compared with the driver-focused modes on the 458, the FF’s manettino has just a few settings to vary its scintillating cross-country pace over various terrain: Snow, Wet, Comfort, Sport and ESC Off. Gorgeous aniline leather covers a large portion of the cabin, while the front seats are supportive, yet never gets tiring, even on longer journeys. With a wheelbase just shy of 3 meters, the cabin convincingly accommodates four adults and their assortment of gear, with no buts, no ifs and no maybes.
Coming Through in a Tight Spot
In tight confines, the FF’s proportions can be a challenge for less experienced drivers, especially when making three-point turns. However, this becomes less of an issue during enthusiastic driving, since the close-ratio steering and prodigious torque create some seriously visceral thrills. Its effortless point-and-squirt prowess, coupled with its vacuum-sealed cabin insulation, means that the FF’s pace is deceptive. It is probably prudent to sneak a peek at the speedometer every now and again to appreciate how fast one is travelling - let’s just put it this way, you’d be mighty surprised at how highly illegal speeds can seem completely mundane in the FF.
The FF’s steering is sharp but not quite as incisive as the 458’s, although it is reactive enough to cause some rim-rash if you’re ham-fisted around kerbs. Driven hard, the steering allows one to precisely place the FF, as well as serves up ample feel as the steering weighting loads in the corners. For fast-road use, some might prefer the 612’s more natural steering feel, especially since the driver, steering and chassis work fluidly as one to achieve brisk progress.
The FF is highly competent and its four-wheel drive limits are far higher than can be breached on normal roads, yet it never displays any of the bad habits associated with this drive configuration. Although the 4RM drive-train cleverly ensures that torque is delivered to the rear wheels in normal conditions, the Power Transfer Unit diverts the necessary amount to the front wheels on low grip surfaces. Flat-out, the 100km/h sprint from standstill is comfortably dispatched under the 4 seconds mark, with a top speed rated to 335km/h.
On the move, the gearshifts are exclamation marks rather than periods, as every gear is hammered in with brutal efficiency in the FF’s blitz to the horizon. Unleashed, the V12 at the heart of the FF is a furious beast not unlike an elemental force of nature under pedal-to-metal acceleration, with a thrilling overture as a resounding accompaniment to its operatic performance.
- Model: Ferrari FF
- Engine: 6262cc, 48-valves, V12
- Power @ rpm: 660bhp @ 8000rpm
- Torque @ rpm: 683Nm @ 6000rpm
- 0-100km/h: 3.7 seconds
- Top speed: 335km/h
- Transmission: 7-Speed F1 dual-clutch gearbox
By David Khoo
Courtesy Luxury Insider
Images courtesy Ferrari
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