How do you replace an aging, V-12-powered, four-seat gran turismo coupe? For Ferrari, the answer lie with a four-wheel-drive, V-12-powered shooting break, much like the company's new 2012 FF concept.
Although we’d seen a number of spy photos of the FF -- which stands for Ferrari Four for reasons soon to be obvious -- with unusual buttresses aft of the B-pillars, early reports predicted the car was simply wearing false bodywork to disguise a coupe-like roofline. Not so -- this is, in fact, Ferrari’s first shooting brake built completely in-house, a fact that prompts the automaker’s PR department to describe the car as “not so much an evolution as a true revolution.”
From a styling perspective, we’d argue the FF lies somewhere between those extremes. The Pininfarina-designed exterior incorporates the long hood and proportions typically associated with Ferrari’s GT cars, but works a number of recent Ferrari design cues into the mix. The headlamps, for instance, are heavily influenced by those used on the 458 Italia, as are the dramatic front and rear fenders.
In back, the FF bears a slight resemblance to the 599 GTB from the waist down, but differs considerably in the roofline. Although the hatchback design is bound to divide the tifiosi and other brand purists, it undoubtedly adds some additional practicality -- Ferrari says the car offers 15 cubic feet of cargo space (that doubles if the rear seats are folded), the hatch itself cuts deep into the rear bumper, potentially providing a relatively low lift-over point.
Perhaps the second most scandalous aspect of the FF is its driveline. No, an all-new 6.3-liter, 660-horsepower direct-injection V-12, or even a Getrag-sourced, seven-speed dual-clutch transmission isn’t likely to upset many, but this is one of the first Ferraris since the 1986 408 RM 4 concept to utilize all-wheel-drive. We’ve yet to see the exact specifications on the system, but the automaker says it weighs 50 percent less than other all-wheel-drive systems, doesn’t disrupt the car’s near-perfect weight balance, and continuously computes how much torque to send to each pair of wheels.
All we know is the entire system has the capacity of rocketing the FF (along with four occupants, and their accompanying luggage) to incredible speed in no time. According to Ferrari, the FF can sprint from 0-62 mph in under 3.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 208 mph.
Expect further details to emerge on the FF closer to its official public debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March -- but for the time being, you can watch Ferrari’s engineers put prototype cars through their paces in the video below.