Ferrari Enzo

Tim Andrew

Our driving laps are over almost as soon as they've begun, but there's one more Enzo experience in store: a ride with Dario Benuzzi, Ferrari's chief test driver.

While most of the Ferrari people are sweating through their red shirts, Benuzzi's tan knit shirt and slacks are immaculate, his hair unmussed. The man exudes a rat-pack cool, a natural byproduct, no doubt, of having the coolest job in the world.

Benuzzi speaks little English, so there's no talking as we strap into the seats. The Enzo squiggles its tail a bit as he blasts out of the pit lane, then it's hard on the brakes as we close in on the first hairpin, where the g-forces plaster us to our seats. He eases the car into a gentle oversteer on some of the next few corners before an eye-widening blast back down the straight. Benuzzi drives with a slight grin that breaks into a smile during his more bravura moments, when he takes the Enzo up to the very high limits of the tires' adhesion.

Padel Shift View

Those tires are Bridgestones that are unique to the Enzo, and they are wrapped around nineteen-inch aluminum wheels attached with a single center lug nut. They mate to a control-arm suspension that features pushrod-actuated dampers with remote reservoirs, another bit of racing technology. (As are the fully carbon fiber composite monocoque chassis and the carbon composite body.) There's an active damping system that's tuned for a more forgiving ride when the traction control is set to Sport and a firmer one when it is set to Race or is switched off.

Benuzzi loosens up a bit on the second lap, doing a bigger power slide on the first corner after the long straight. This being Italy, his cell phone starts to ring. Benuzzi is so unflappable I half expect him to answer it. Instead, he pushes the tail out again on the right-hander leading over the bridge, while the phone provides a bizarre counterpoint to the V-12.

The next hairpin sees his most spectacular performance. After braking hard at the end of the back straight, busily tapping the downshift paddle, he comes out of the turn in a lurid, Miami Vice-style first-gear power slide, then drives casually for the rest of the lap to cool the car down. As we roll up to the garage, he says, "Handling is fantastico." No argument here.

Ferrari's Enzo is an intense experience, and you walk away woozy but grinning. Our man Georg Kacher was so taken by the car that he was heard to offer Ferrari PR supremo Antonio Ghini 175 euros (all the money in his wallet) for five more laps, an offer politely declined.

If you want to park one in your own garage, that will empty your wallet to the tune of $670,000. But a word of warning before you go rushing down to your local dealership with your lottery check--or, for you CEOs out there, your week's wages: You're already too late.

Driver Door View

Ferrari plans to build only 349 Enzos (the same as the F50's total production), with only 70 of those coming to the United States (where there are 220 orders so far). Just as it was in the founder's day, money alone doesn't guarantee you a Ferrari.

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