Ferrari FF – Challenging the Supercar Status Quo

Ferrari FF | Challenging the Supercar Status Quo

Written byAdam Tonkin | Images by – Rene Mitchell-Pitman

When the Ferrari FF was first revealed in Geneva three years ago, the unveiling was met with looks of concern because up until then, Ferrari had never hinted at making a supercar with the characteristics that the FF embodies.

Built from the ground up, the FF is a fluid statement of supercar dynamics that is sculpted around its target market of current Ferrari owners who knew what they wanted, more space, more seats and greater traction.

Ferrari took their clients requests and rather than offering lip service, they took what was great about the 612 Scaglietti and built their first supercar that offered four seats and four wheel drive.

The Maranello based engineers designed their own bespoke four wheel drive system, better known as 4RM or in Italian ‘4 Ruote Motrici’. Compared to a traditional four wheel drive system, 4RM adds a miniscule 30kg to the kerb weight of the FF, yet has the ability to transform the handling of the car by distributing power across the entire drivetrain or sending all the power to the rear.

Inherent with all four wheel drive cars is understeer, but the 4RM is more brilliant than evasive.

With a twist of the Manettino, the FF is equipped to tackle the autobahns of Germany and the snow covered roads of Switzerland. In Australia however, we don’t have a great deal of either.

Exterior Styling

Ferrari has employed a shape that has been used by manufacturers before and is commonly referred to as a ‘Shooting Brake’. A design that elongates the Grand Tourer coupe style to provide a shapely body which enhances internal space, while offering a slick profile that cuts through the air.

The bonnet is extremely long which hides the enormous V12 that is placed so far back in the chassis, it could be considered a mid-engine supercar. The front deep chin spoiler and air ducts give the FF an aggressive yet functional look.

To light the way the lightweight aluminium bonnet is flagged with LED DRLs and xenon headlights which are so fashion forward in their design, they can be found on Ferrari’s new hypercar, LaFerrari.

The five star silver and chrome rims dressed with 20’ Pirelli P-Zero tyres add simplicity to an already creative design.

The rear of the FF is a true masterpiece. Sculpted by Italian hands at Pininfarina, the design is good enough to be hung at Florence’s Uffizi Gallery with other Italian masterpieces. There’s not a straight line anywhere on the FF, as the design is calculated to reduce drag and promote maximum down force, while creating an amphitheatre for the boisterous V12 sounds that emit from the dual chrome exhaust.

Interior Styling

Stepping inside the FF is a statement in itself, a living room for the rich and famous. A full length panoramic glass roof allows the sun to flood the opulent cabin with light while blocking heat and UV rays. The double glazed side windows do their best to keep the sounds of the world out, while keeping the throaty tones of the V12 in.

The level of craftsmanship throughout the cabin is flawless. The hand-picked cream leather is highlighted by the cross stitched black diamond pattern. The dark blue carpet only enhances the leather adding to the luxuriousness of the cabin.

The four headrests are embroidered with the Ferrari black stallion to reinforce the brand of this true thoroughbred. If this sounds opulent – it is, and this personalisation is all available at an optional cost through Ferrari’s own Tailor Made programme.

The boot is not huge, but is adequate for anyone with the weekly grocery shopping or wanting a weekend away. If you don’t have back passengers, the seats will fold down giving you the ability to accommodate slightly larger loads.

The style and function of the FF steering wheel can be found throughout the Ferrari range which was first introduced in the 458. The placement and design of the shift paddles on the steering column are brilliant though they could be a touch longer in their design. This most likely will be addressed with the update in 2016, to fall in line with the rest of the fleet.

With no function stalks behind the wheel, driving lights, wipers and indicators are all on the wheel, including the Manettino, Ferrari’s traction control function. The indicators on the steering wheel and are unusual at first but the rational is your hands never leave the wheel to turn the indicators on or off.

The FF is all about the journey, being immersed in Italian supercar luxury as you are whisked away to your destination. Accelerator and brake pedal placement are perfect and the seat position makes you feel comfortable and in control. Unlike the 458 Speciale, the FF has ample storage space for your phone, sunglasses and favourite Red Bull beverage.

The stereo system and functionality shares its roots with the Chrysler 300C and Jeep compatriots which is a bit of a letdown on quality considering the expensive ambiance of the cabin.

Safety Systems

Occupant safety is paramount and the FF is laced with the best safety and traction control systems that money can buy. Anti-Lock Braking (ABS), Brake Assist, Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Traction Control, Hill Hold, Rear Parking Sensors, Vehicle Alarm and Engine Immobiliser are some of the main systems that work in unison to keep the occupants safe and the FF scratch free.

Engine and Transmission

The V12 engine is the largest Ferrari has ever shoehorned into a road car and at 6.262 litres, it produces a staggering 77kW per litre. The power seems endless as the needle rushes towards the 8000 RPM redline. The engine produces 486kW / 652HP and develops 68NM of which 500NM is available from 1000RPM. With numbers like that, the Ferrari V12 was never going be considered for the world’s most economical engine.

The FF fuel tank takes 91 litres and slurps away at the Shell V-Power fuel at a rate of 15.7 L/100. However, if you tickle the accelerator you’ll find that number impossible to maintain.

For anyone buying a V12 supercar, fuel consumption or fuel cost shouldn’t be a concern although the regularity might. Once a week for normal Monday to Friday commutes to the office from home and back will be fine. Search out some twisty roads or the occasional track day and you may require more than a ‘splash and dash’.

Air enters the FF to provide stability and much needed down force to keep the 1800kg behemoth glued to the road. Cool air is fed directly into the monstrous V12 engine that lurks just beneath the weightless aluminium bonnet.

The V12 sits as low and as far back as possible in the chassis to aid the 47/53 front to rear weight distribution and lower the FF’s overall centre of gravity.

The 7 speed dual clutch transmission is a Ferrari staple. Silky smooth in its gear delivery, it is instantaneous when required. Gear selection in sport mode is crisp and precise, but nowhere near as brutal as the Speciale in the same mode. A neat feature is the ability to skip down gears by holding in the left paddle; the transmission will drop to the lowest gear possible.

There are five settings on the Manettino, Snow, Wet, Comfort, Sport and ESC Off. Most owners will live between Comfort and Sport with both giving plenty of sporty prowess with ample slip and grip when needed.

Power and Handling

On public roads the capabilities of the FF never seem stretched even when presented with inclement weather. With 500NM available from 1000RPM, the P-Zero tyres do all they can to put the power to the road as they continually offer feedback about the grip and conditions. Second and third gears seem to arrive all too early as the V12 sends the tacho north.

0 – 100 arrives in 3.7 seconds with the launch control engaged however, I’m not sure how many owners would actually use this feature after the first six months of ownership.

Driving through Victoria’s Yarra Valley, it is impossible not to feel the 4RM system working in unison with the multilink rear and magnetorheological suspension to maximise balance and reduce body roll. Now in its third generation, the magnetic suspension responds five times faster than the previous model.

Third generation carbon ceramic brakes are simply superb, bringing the 1800KG FF to a full stop from 100 km/h in 35 metres.

Vehicle Will Suit?

As a general rule, supercars aren’t known for their flexibility to cater to their owners requests however, the FF does that and more with four seats, four wheel drive and a boot that would go close to accepting a pram and a week’s worth of shopping.

Vehicle Details

Year, Make, Model

Australian Pricing

2014 | Ferrari FF
A$624,646 – BASE (MSRP)               A$751,896 (As Tested)

Engine

Fuel Type

6.262 Litre V12 Engine – Naturally Aspirated

Petrol 98 RON

Kilowatts

487 kW @ 8000 RPM

Horsepower

652 HP

Maximum Torque

683 NM @ 6000 RPM

Fuel Consumption

15.4L/100

0 – 100 / 60

3.7

Gearbox

7 Speed F1 + Reverse

Fuel Tank Size

91 Litres – 23 Gal US – 20 Gal UK

Weight

1880 (Kerb Weight)

Safety Rating

Warranty

7 Year Complimentary Service

Roadside Assist

Contact Ferrari Dealer

 

Final Thought

There are other cars that you could buy that would fit four people, luggage and travel across snow and ice for a 1/5th of the price, but not one has a Ferrari badge or is a V12 powerhouse.

With the replacement still 18 months away, rumours have surfaced that Ferrari may look at downsizing the engine from the current V12, to the same engine as the new California T; the twin turbo, twin scroll, 560HP, 3.8 litre V8.

Has the FF left its mark? Sales would indicate yes. Could this be a sign that Ferrari is ready to enter other non-supercar markets? Never say never, but for the moment at least – it’s highly doubtful!

Feedback and Links

Feedback or questions on this article, please use the comment field, or click for contact details.

For details on Ferrari Australia and the FF, click > www.ferrari.com.au

For details on Ferrari, click > www.ferrari.com

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