Model Perspective: The Next One: The Ferrari FF

The Ferrari FF was introduced to the world at the 2011 Geneva International Motor Show. It immediately caused a sensation, not just because it was a new Ferrari, but because it was a totally new type of Ferrari, with an edgy, aggressive body style called a “shooting brake” by British writers, a “sporty wagon” by German writers, and an “SUV” or “Crossover” by American writers.

Well, they’re all close, but they’re also all wrong. The car is new enough in mechanical content and intent to be something totally different, and when I thought about the various names applied to the FF, a bit of cringing occurred. It’s not a high-ride, height SUV and calling it a Crossover is undershooting the mark.

Where the FF is coming from and what it’s crossing over into didn’t exist before. It is, more accurately, the first Ferrari FGT, a flexible, multipurpose GT-biased automobile that answers some needs you may not have known you had, but, upon further reflection, will now certainly realize must be fulfilled.

To provide a little background, the current Ferrari range is divided into two broad groups of cars: GT and Sports Car. The GT Cars are the FF and California. The Sports Cars are the 599 GTB and the 458 Italia/458 Spider. The differences between GT and Sports Cars in the Ferrari range have more to do with comfort options and intent of use; both categories share the Ferrari DNA of outrageous speed and politically incorrect styling, but the GT is the more luxurious branch of the family while the Sports Cars are focused strictly and totally on performance.

The FF body design, by long-time Ferrari collaborator Pininfarina, features two doors and a rear hatch for access to luggage and storage space. It’s a striking design for a new type of car from Ferrari. It fills the spot in the Ferrari model spectrum that was previously occupied by the 612 Scaglietti. Like the 612 (and the 456 before it) the FF is a two-door, four-seat coupe. It has a surprising amount of room in both the front and back seats.

The 612 was a terrific car, beloved by CEOs and entrepreneurs alike, but the FF is a clean slate and, except for certain basic architectural traits (mid-front engine V12 with rear mounted transaxle), Ferrari tossed all the 612 technology  and did what they do best: start from scratch with the FF.

Here is a quick breakdown of the FF’s specs:

•    Two door with Hatch Back Coupe design with four individual seats
•    Mid-Front Engine design, with rear-mounted transaxle
•    6.3 Liter 65 Degree 4 Cam V12, naturally aspirated, 8250 RPM redline
•    Dry Sump lubrication.
•    Continuously variable timing on both inlet and exhaust cams
•    651 HP at 8000 RPM
•    584 Lb-Ft of Torque, 80% of which is available at 1750RPM
•    7 Speed Dual Clutch Transmission
•    Aluminum Space Frame ChassisFerrari FF Exterior
•    Wishbone front, multilink rear suspension
•    E-Diff
•    Ferrari’s amazing 4RM (Quattro Route Motrici) Four Wheel Drive System
•    1180 KG Curb Weight
•    4907MM Length (add 10mm if you have the optional front/rear camera system)
•    47/53 weight distribution
•    208 MPH top speed
•    0-62 MPH in 3.7 seconds
•    Steering wheel mounted Manettino traction control settings
•    Magnetorheological suspension system, 3rd generation, with one millisecond cycle time (i.e. the world’s fastest adaptive suspension system)
•    Bi-Xenon headlines with LED Daytime Running Lights.
•    LED rear lights and brake lights.
•    The whole package runs on 245 /35 ZR Tires on 8.5 J 20” cast alloy wheels in the front and 295/35 ZR 20s on 10.5 J x 20” alloys in the rear.

In terms of the technology packed in the new FF, the list could go on and on, to the point of disbelief. But it’s all good and it’s all in there, because the FF is intended for a new, highly active Ferrari owner who wants to drive the car—everyday would be best—and take what is necessary with him.

That means serious luggage space and a car that can be driven every day, even if that day is snowy.  Let’s not forget that half of the world in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres had to park their Ferraris in the winter since the cars were not optimally suited for cold weather work in fresh snow.

No more. The FF is a four-season car of the most robust type, with room, electronics, speed, stopping ability, and creature comforts enough to transform your driving experience, no matter what the weather. It is the most powerful four-seat GT ever built by Ferrari, but also the most versatile and usable, thanks to its patented, four-wheel drive system. The system is entirely new and is the FF’s signature technological innovation.

As is typical with Ferrari, it’s a completely new concept. The FF features the low CG and cornering power of a pure performance car, but optimizes handling and traction through the use of the four-wheel drive system that has separate drive systems for the front and rear wheels. The rear wheels are driven via the traditional Ferrari rear-mounted transaxle, which is now totally integrated, with Ferrari’s E-Diff and the 7-Speed Dual Clutch transmission all incorporated into one case.

The front wheels are powered when necessary (i.e. anytime slippage in traction is detected) directly from the V12’s crankshaft through a series of gearbox ratios that use sensors to direct the right amount of torque to the right or left front wheels. This system comes in when needed, goes away when not and preserves the sporting driving characteristics of a rear wheel drive car. It can be used up to 120MPH and is amazingly effective.

To get an idea of how this new system works in the snow, check out this video of Ferrari ‘s legendary test driver, Dario Benuzzi, working the FF in the snow in Finland.  Tied with Ferrari’s dynamic vehicle control systems and the third generation magnetorheological suspension control system and Ferrari’s new Grip Estimation Logic circuits, the suspension system provides an on-going optimum setup for handling in any condition.

All of the dynamic vehicle control systems (E-Diff, F1 trac, ABS, EBD, ESC, or ESP) are more tightly integrated on the new FF; the net result for the driver is a terrific ride and amazing control on any type of surface.  How good is the FF? Our Ferrari Product Specialist came back from dynamic training with the car and proclaimed it maybe the best-driving Ferrari of all time. It’s quick, competent, predictable, tossable, and very, very smooth, with a gracefulness to its speed that is not normally seen in a high performance automobile.

Inside, the cabin is luxurious with the most complete options packages ever offered on a Ferrari. The car is controlled like an F1 car through buttons and switches on the steering wheel. There are no annoying stalks off the steering column. The dual clutch 7 speed transmission is lightening fast in shifting and will operate in full automatic mode if desired; it’s activated by the now-familiar Ferrari F1 paddles right behind the steering wheel.

The driver faces a huge speedometer; to the left is one of two five inch high-resolution displays; the other one is to the right of the speedometer. These displays give him or her all the normal operating conditions as well as parameters for the various traction control settings.  The Manettino switch on the steering wheel sets the traction control as you wish, with Snow, Wet, Comfort, Sport, ESC Off settings.

The FF also features a very slick and modern “infotainment” system that can be controlled by voice and steering wheel command, with a 40 Gig hard drive; DVD audio and video player; map display with 2D and 3D functions; 4 phone Bluetooth integration; USB connections for an iPod or other devices. Music comes out of a 640-watt, ten-speaker system, with the speakers constructed mostly with high-tech Kevlar cones. In other words, it rocks.

There are about a million different interior/exterior configurations available with a vast range of leather and Alcantara and carbon fiber aesthetic options to select from, so plan on spending some time at the Ferrari dealership going through Ferrari’s new flat screen configurator and spec-ing the car precisely to your standards and taste. Enjoy it—there are only so many times in life you will do such a thing, so please take your time and savor the pre-ride. By the time you order the car ($302,450 MSRP) and option it up, you can expect to spend between $340,000 and $400,000.

You will not realize how perfect this car is for the times we live in and the way we live until you drive it, which I highly encourage. Ferrari has a demo program for the FF and most dealers are on board with it. Spend a little time in the FF and you will realize two key things: it really is designed for the way we live now and it is without question one of the great driving Ferraris of all time.

Picture yourself tucking the big pro-style golf bag in the back (the two rear seats fold down just in case you need more room) or dropping the Hermes hunter jumper saddle in the boot for your daughter’s next show or stowing a Perazzi MX8 or a Boss 20 Gauge in the back for the ride to the range or the ranch, and you get the idea of just how good a thing this FF could be.

The FF is now in production and the first units are arriving to clients across the United States. As you might note from the very brief description of the car and its systems above, it is a very special new Ferrari and we must applaud the company for going all in on a totally different type of car with filling it with breathtaking new technology.  It is typical of Ferrari to take the chances that others will not—that’s always been their history—and the company still runs by the credo set up by founder Enzo Ferrari who, when asked what his favorite car was, replied, “The next one.”

Well, here it is: The Ferrari FF is the Next One.

To find out more about leasing the Ferrari FF through Premier Financial Services, contact us toll free, 877.973.7700, or just fill out our convenient and secure Simple Lease Application

DaddoracingArticle written by Donald Pierce
General Manager of Ferrari of Houston, Ferrari of Austin, and Maserati of Houston, and he is the Operations Director of Risi Competizione