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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For It's comfortable and luxurious, with stunning speed, and makes a wonderful noise

Against The handling is a bit mushy for a supercar

Verdict More a superfast tourer than a genuine sports car

Go for… Maranello

Avoid… Barchetta

Ferrari 550 Coupe
  • 1. The cabin is beautifully made and gives a feeling of luxury
  • 2. This isn't Ferrari's sharpest-handling car. It's more GT than pure sports car
  • 3. Even used cars are dear: three-year old examples are still worth almost 60% of their original value
  • 4. You'll want for nothing as far as standard equipment goes
  • 5. Check that recall work has been done - a very small number of cars needed work on leaking radiator pipes
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Ferrari 550 Coupe full review with expert trade views

If you were unsure about the definition of a Grand Tourer, you'd only need to look at the 550 to instantly understand - a front-engined, rear-wheel-driven V12 powerhouse with a Ferrari badge on the front.

Granted, this isn't Ferrari's sharpest-handling car. It has massive ability, but lacks the effortless control of a 360 if you try to push on down a twisty road.

However, that isn't the point of a GT. Cruising ability is the key factor here, and that's where the 550 excels. The ride is absorbent over most surfaces, and although there's a bit of tyre noise at speed, refinement is excellent.

The cabin is beautifully made and gives a feeling of luxury worthy of a Ferrari GT. There's also a huge list of standard equipment, but then again, for this sort of money, there should be.

Trade view

Kurtis Williams

More practical than other Ferraris with rear seats. 575 is far superior to 550

Kurtis Williams
Buyer,
Lex Vehicle Leasing

Buyers of the 550 can have the car in two forms, the Maranello coupe, or the Barchetta open-top. There's no contest. The Barchetta is vastly more expensive, and Grand Tourers don't really work when they haven't got a roof.

The coupe body suits the car's character much better, and it's faster, too. The Maranello has a 485bhp 5.5-litre V12 engine, and knocks off the benchmark 0-60mph sprint in 4.3 seconds. The Barchetta takes slightly longer because the extra weight of the roof-folding mechanism makes it a little heavier.

Trade view

John Owen

Michael Schumacher's choice. London to Cheshire in two hours

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

You wouldn't be considering a Ferrari if you were short of a few quid, but the 550 is sensationally expensive. The 550 would have set you back over £150,000 when it was new, and three-year old examples are still worth almost 60% of that figure.

True, this means that used versions will have depreciated by tens of thousands, but getting your hands on one will still cost you a huge wedge of cash.

Fuel consumption checks in at the 13mpg mark, and it'll also cost you an absolute packet to insure and service. Low running costs may not be important to Ferrari owners, but the 550 is pricey to run, even by Ferrari standards.

Trade view

Kurtis Williams

More practical than other Ferraris with rear seats. 575 is far superior to 550

Kurtis Williams
Buyer,
Lex Vehicle Leasing

Our reliability surveys are as comprehensive as they can be, but cars this expensive are a bit thin on the ground, so building up an accurate picture of reliability is tough due to a lack of data.

However, what we can say is that the widely held belief that Ferrari ownership is one long reliability nightmare doesn't appear to be true any more. Ferrari build quality has improved immeasurably in recent years, and according to the limited data we've seen, this seems to have carried through to the mechanical parts.

Ferrari did issue a string of recalls, though, so check that the work has been done. Early 550s needed their magnesium wheel rims changing for aluminium ones, and a very small number of cars needed work on leaking radiator pipes. Some 2001 cars experienced handbrake failure, while others of the same period experienced problems with the seat runners.

Trade view

John Owen

Michael Schumacher's choice. London to Cheshire in two hours

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford
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