Beneath this (very effective) camouflage lurks Ferrari’s top-secret new 2+2 coupe. And no, contrary to every single rumour on the mill, it will not be called the Dino and it will not sit below the F430 as an entry-level Ferrari to tempt away Porsche 911 drivers. Known internally as 149 the car is expected in Prancing Horse showrooms by the end of 2008 wearing a £150,000 price tag – a figure that puts it between the F430 and the 599 GTB.
I still want to call it a Ferrari Dino but it’s not. So what is it?
It’s not mid-engined like the old 246 GT ‘Dino’. Instead the 149 follows the front-engined GT layout of the 612 Scaglietti and 599 GTB. But ignore the prototype’s cut-and-shut 599 donor body – the production 149 will ride on a rear-drive platform that was initially created by Maserati for an aborted Coupé replacement.
Like all other Ferrari models the 149 features an all-aluminium chassis and sheetmetal as well as alloy-intensive suspension and steering componentry to trim weight below the 1500kg mark.
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So the engine's up front, but what kind of engine is it?
Unsurprisingly it will be a V8. The F430’s 4.3-litre V8 would be a possibility, with tweaks to give it more low-down torque to suit the relaxed nature of this GT.
Whether Ferrari would consider the 4.2-litre or 4.7-litre V8s that Maserati and Alfa Romeo currently use remains to be seen. Although these V8s are already engineered for front-engined layouts, Ferrari (and its customers) might consider that a dilution of the brand.
Either way power should be around the 430bhp mark, and the 149 should rocket to 60mph in five seconds dead and top out at 175mph. There will be the usual choice of six-speed manual or paddle-shift transmissions.
Anything else I should know about the Ferrari 149?
We expect a coupe bodyshell to start with but the latest rumours talk of a coupe-cabriolet, which should challenge Ferrari’s weight-obsessed engineers somewhat. Whether such a roof is a proper folding hard-top or the 180 degreee swivel job from the 575 Superamerica remains to be seen.