First Drive: 2011 Ferrari 599GTO

Race mode allows faster progress with just as much bad driving, but still, it's quite difficult to tell when the systems are stepping in to save your hide. If, on the other hand, your inputs are clean and smooth, you won't even know there's a computer watching you - the GTO does exactly what you ask of it. You quickly learn not to look at the speedometer, as the GTO masks its speed like an expert meth dealer - and its chassis is so communicative that you're immediately comfortable heading to its outrageous limits.

None of the computers remove you from the driving experience; instead, they help you be a better driver. And when you switch them off, you realize that's the only reason they're there - they're not covering up any shortcoming. The GTO is perfect in every racetrack measure, from balance to turn-in, to body control, to the absurd power, and, of course, the indefatigable brakes.

It is no less exhilarating on the street. The GTO does what all 599s do - it combines the instantaneous reactions of a 1000-pound open-wheel racer with the refinement and ride of a well-equipped luxury coupe. And the thrust of a jet fighter. Ferrari still hasn't managed to match Porsche's steering or brake feel, but there is simply no faulting the GTO in any other meaningful way.

Ferrari's engineers seemed a little concerned that perhaps they had gone too far with this grand tourer, but nothing can be further from the truth - the GTO is what the 599 should have been from day one. Any complaints that the 599GTB is too gentlemanly and insufficiently insane have been addressed in full. The GTO does many things better than the regular 599, and not much worse. Importantly, those things that it does better are the very things that make a Ferrari a Ferrari. It's louder, faster, more expensive, more involving, and more insane - with almost no cost to comfort and elegance. How could that possibly be going too far?

And, gosh, why is everyone on the road such a moron?

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