First Drive: 2012 Ferrari FF

Ferrari FF

THE BODY

The FF, chassis code F151, is about the same size and weight as the 612 Scaglietti it replaces, though it’s almost an inch and a half taller. Its wheelbase is about four inches longer -- half of the additional distance between the wheels went to additional back-seat room, the other to package the four-wheel-drive system.

The back seat is very usable, and in fact we stuffed four grown men inside, ranging from five feet, nine inches to six feet, two inches -- with the tallest guy behind the driver, who was second tallest. There was not a single complaint to be heard over the sonorous V-12. Add to that a trunk with more cargo space than a Porsche Panamera’s, and you have a car that’s dramatically more usable than its predecessor. As a bonus, the rear seatbacks fold down to expand cargo capacity even further. Ah, the magic of hatchbacks.

The hatch provides great rearward visibility, too -- at least by this segment’s standards. Double-pane frameless windows keep wind noise outside, and the latest version of Ferrari’s magneto-rheological suspension offers a supple ride, despite its large, twenty-inch wheels. That the computer-controlled suspension quells every single unnecessary body movement goes without saying.

One of the FF’s coolest options (in addition to a JBL sound system rated at 1.7 horsepower worth of sound output) is a small LCD screen inset into the passenger-side dash. The monochrome display isn’t particularly high-res, but it can show a number of trip-computer functions or a so-called “performance screen” that displays gear, engine RPM, and road speed. Ferrari enabled a special screen for the media launch that showed the amount of power going to the front wheels; it’s a shame that screen won’t make it into customer cars. (Unless Ferrari’s engineers read this and change their minds.) We’re hoping that Ferrari changes its mind about a power rear lift gate that it’s developing for the U.S. market. A heavy device mounted so high in the car would be sacrilege to a company so performance-obsessed.

modawoodie
Ferrari wagon, Porsche 4 door... What next? A Lamborghini minivan or maybe a Lotus Hummer? It *is* nice to see high end and exotic car manufacturers taking care of our rich friends and their needs. For example, it's hard to get those mega-packs of toilet paper from Costo home in a classy sports car. Wait, did I just say the FF and Panamera aren't classy? Shame on me!

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