The Ferrari FF is more powerful than the mighty Enzo. Utilising the same ginormous 6.3-litre V12 engine as in the F12 Berlinetta – albeit in a less powerful state of tune – it manages to churn out a stupendous 486kW (1kW more than the Enzo but 58kW less than the F12) and a mammoth 683Nm of torque. But what separates the FF from its stable-mates aren’t the peak output figures but rather the bespoke four-wheel drive system.
The FF replaces the 612 Scaglietti as Ferrari’s only four-seater but visually it’s more resolute than the model it replaces. Sure, some have criticised the shooting-brake/BMW M Coupe-like profile but I think it looks sensational and differentiates the Ferrari FF not only from its siblings but its adversaries, too. Just look at it – the 458-inspired front end, the sloping roofline and the bulky thighs that are home to monstrous 20-inch wheels, all indicating a ferocious driving experience is at hand.
However, the FF’s design is more purposeful than you may think and fulfils the classic notion of form following function. Yep, every line, crease mark and impression, as impressive as they may look, aids aerodynamic efficiency. Those side vents, located aft of each front wheelarch: well, they extract the air sucked in by the large front air dams and expel it along the flanks, around the tail-lamps and over the roof. Even the rear end has been shaped for optimal air flow yet it still manages to exhibit a harmony between the circular tail-lamps and exhaust apertures, and the geometric shapes of the bodywork.
You can tell by the first moment you climb inside the cabin of the FF that it’s geared more towards luxury than outright sportiness. As expected, the level of kit on offer is impressive with an Alcantara roof lining, bespoke stitching and Cavallino Rampante logos that feature on the cowhide and air-con vents. The only downside – and I’m being critical here – is the Chrysler-derived sat-nav/stereo unit. You’ll also notice that the interior lacks a physical gear lever, instead featuring just three buttons marked Launch, Reverse and Auto – it’s a simple and effective system. Rear space? Well, compared with a traditional three-door GT, the 612 Scaglietti included, the FF is pretty roomy and as comfortable as its contemporaries, the Aston Martin Rapide and Porsche Panamera. The cossetting seats easily dealt with my 1.8 -metre frame with ample leg- and headroom to boot.
Red start button – 0-100kph in 3.7 seconds
Twist the key and thumb the bright red start button and the unruly V12 explodes into a hard-edged metallic symphony. The Ferrari FF will break the 0-100kph marker in only 3.7 seconds. Progress is immediate as you watch the speedo needle ruffle the upper echelons of the dial. If you find a road straight (read ‘long’) enough, Ferrari reckons you’ll touch a top speed of 335kph. Fast. Very fast. The seven-speed transmission is phenomenal in auto mode and changes its level of aggression depending on the setting of the mannetino dial (Snow, Wet, Comfort, Sport or Esc off). But manual mode is just so much more involving. Pull back the right shifter, climb on the throttle and your peripheral vision will burst into a haze of blurry colours, each cog yielding the same result with sound effects to match.
The neutral handling comes down to the four-wheel drive system called 4RM control. It’s quite a clever system as the FF is actually rear-drive most of the time. The front wheels only come into play in bad weather conditions once the rear axle can’t deal with the applied torque load. When this happens, the extra torque is relayed by the 4RM control to the front wheels via a crafty Power Transfer Unit (PTU) that contains two clutches, one for each front wheel. This mechanism draws power from the engine and can apportion it to either or both wheels as required. This system is 50% lighter than a conventional four-wheel drive set-up, which contributes to the FF’s 47:53 front/rear weight distribution. Clever stuff.
Ferrari FF is fast
Make no mistake, the Ferrari FF is one fast and visceral machine. Yes, it does demonstrate some semblance of decorum, particularly when trundling about in traffic, but give it a sniff of an open or twisty road and it will attack without remorse. Is it a genuine driver’s car? Without a doubt. Sure, it’s never going to be as dynamic as the Ferrari 458 Italia but compared with the Rapide and Panamera, it’s as thoroughbred as any four-seater sports car can be. Besides, the others have nothing on its mighty V12 growl. The fact that it can handle both the daily commute and track day exercises with consummate ease (even with four passengers on board) makes it one of the most practical and utilitarian Ferraris ever made.