2012 Ferrari FF review
* Four-wheel-drive Ferrari driven in UK * On sale now * Priced from 227,077...
The Ferrari FF is the company's first four-wheel-drive model. It's a shooting brake-style hatchback and a four-seat replacement for the 612 Scaglietti. This is the first time we've driven it on British roads.
It's powered by a 651bhp 6.3-litre V12 engine, going through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
In normal running it's effectively a rear-wheel-drive car, but when computers detect a loss of traction at the back, some of the power is diverted to the front wheels through a separate two-speed gearbox. It's a unique, clever and complicated system, but one that's designed to keep down weight and make the FF feel like a conventional rear-drive sportscar.
What's the 2012 Ferrari FF like to drive?
The FF is a car that you can do serious miles in without any compromise.
You can rack up serious miles in a Ferrari FF
It rides well, considering its agility, and it keeps you isolated from the outside world, albeit with some tyre noise at speed.
More importantly, this is a big car that doesn't feel it. You can thread it down tight streets and B-roads without feeling intimidated, largely because of its easygoing nature and precise steering. In fact, if you are coming from a large saloon the steering can feel too sharp until you get used to it.
What you never really get used to is just how fast the FF is. The V12 dominates the entire car, and it makes it epically quick; UK speed limits are reached all too easily. It sounds incredible, too.
That gearbox works well, too. In auto or manual mode it's extremely intuitive, although slightly smoother low-speed changes would make it even better.
Does the FF handle like a sports car? Yes, for the most part, and if you are really going quickly in the wet you can detect the four-wheel drive working away. In any road condition the FF gives you the confidence to push hard and cover ground extremely rapidly.
What's the 2012 Ferrari FF like inside?
The FF's practicality is one of the reasons why it's so special. Those rear seats are not just for show; two sub-six-foot adults will be comfortable, and they can get in and out easily.
Likewise, the 450-litre boot is capable of taking a weekend's worth of luggage, and the rear seats fold down. There's also the option of folding just one seat flat and using the FF as a three-seater.
You feel a sense of space behind the wheel, too. In some ways it's an odd sensation because you have all of the accoutrements of the 458 Italia around you and a similar driving position, but with a lot more metal over your rear shoulder. Importantly, it's a car that's easy to see out of.
Fit and finish are strengths, too; just about everything you see and touch is of high quality, and most of it is wrapped in beautifully soft leather.
Should I buy one?
If you have the wherewithal to buy an FF you'll also have the wherewithal to buy one of Ferrari's two-seater sports cars and a luxury saloon. So, is the FF an answer to a question no one has asked?
Yes, in part, and that's before you consider the fact that V12 Ferraris have never held their value as well as the V8s. It'll be expensive to run, too, although Ferrari's seven-year servicing package - standard on all of its new cars, and transferrable - does sweeten the deal.
The Ferrari FF is also a glorious automotive indulgence without any serious rivals (a Bentley Continental GT comes close in principle, but has a completely different character). If it does fit into your life and you can afford it, it's a great car.
What Car? says