Ferrari F599 GTB Fiorano (2006) review

Published:31 July 2006

Ferrari F599 GTB Fiorano (2006) review
  • At a glance
  • 5 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5

By Chris Chilton

Contributing editor, ace driver, wit supplier, mischief maker

By Chris Chilton

Contributing editor, ace driver, wit supplier, mischief maker

That name's a bit of a mouthful. What's it all about?

It's the replacement for the much-loved but dull-looking 575, a two-seat coupe based on the four-place 612 Scaglietti. The numbers refer to the capacity of the V12 (5999cc) and Fiorano is the name of company's Maranello test-track where its road and race cars are developed.

So what are headlines?

Where to start? It's made from aluminium so strong and relatively light. The gearbox is mounted in unit with the rear diff to allow the best possible weight distribution and can shift gears in two thirds of the time it takes an Enzo because the clever techy people at Ferrari have persuaded the gears to move before the cutch has even disengaged. The 612bhp engine comes from the Enzo (albeit with minor tweaks), and the whole lot can lap Fiorano in the same time it takes a 360 Challenge Stradale.

So it's no boulevardier then?

It can be if you so wish, the ride is firm but not uncomfortable and the low-speed gearchanges are impressively smooth. But by juggling the steering wheel mounted Manettino dial (first seen on the Enzo and then on the F430) you can adjust the threshold of the CST electronic stability system, the gearshift speed and the subtlety of the new magnetorheological dampers. The viscosity of the fluid inside the dampers is altered by applying an electronically controlled magnetic field .

Sounds impressive but does it all work?

Certainly does. The body control is far better than the F430's and it changes direction incredibly well for a car with a massive V12 up front. Thank the 53 per cent weight bias for that. You're unlikely to unstuck either end without really trying, but with the CST switched off you can really explore the wonderful chassis balance. And did we forget to mention it's almost disturbingly rapid, stomping to 60mph in 3.7sec, 125mph in 7 more and on to 205mph?

But wouldn't you rather have a supercar that looks like a supercar? Something like a Lamborghini Murcielago?

Tough call, the Lambo's an incredible machine and sounds and stops even better than Ferrari. But you can see out of the Ferrari, reverse it with confidence and the boot's as big as a Citroen C4's. Besides, we love the way it looks. It's full of functional aero-details like the rear buttresses, the diffuser and the bonnet ducts. And though it shares a family look with the 612, the 599's proportions are thankfully far better resolved.

Anything else I need to know?

Well there's still no proper double Din sat-nav screen available, the smart yellow rev-counter option is a ridiculous £500, and the 20in zillion-spoke Challenge rims are much tastier than the regular star-design. One more thing: if you'd prefer an open-topped spyder version there's one on the way. The coupe's short roof is just asking to be made into a retractable hardtop but don't expect to see it for four years.

Verdict

We know that £170,000 is a silly sum of money for a car. But if you need a supercar that you can use everyday, park without the help of four people guiding you in, and yet be blown away when the road turns interesting then the 599 is on a shortlist of almost one.

Specs

Price when new: £179,902
On sale in the UK: September
Engine: 5999cc 48V V12, 612bhp@7600rpm, 448lb ft@5600rpm
Transmission: Six-speed sequential manual
Performance: 3.7sec 0-62mph, 205mph, 13.3mpg, 490g/km CO2
Weight / material: 1692kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4665/1962/1336

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  • Ferrari F599 GTB Fiorano (2006) review
  • Ferrari F599 GTB Fiorano (2006) review
  • Ferrari F599 GTB Fiorano (2006) review
  • Ferrari F599 GTB Fiorano (2006) review
  • Ferrari F599 GTB Fiorano (2006) review
  • Ferrari F599 GTB Fiorano (2006) review
  • Ferrari F599 GTB Fiorano (2006) review

By Chris Chilton

Contributing editor, ace driver, wit supplier, mischief maker

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