First Drive: 2012 Ferrari FF


Under the long hood, pushed way back against the firewall, is an all-new V-12. The 6.3-liter block is all new, but it’s a derivative of the 599GTB’s V-12 (originally from the Enzo) rather than another variant of the 612’s engine. (That engine, a 5.7-liter, was the last to use timing belts instead of chains.)

As you’d expect, this newest V-12 receives the direct-injection system we first saw in the California and 458 Italia’s V-8s, along with twin continuously variable valve timing and a host of engineering features to reduce internal resistance (for more power and less fuel consumption).

The new V-12 uses the six-into-one headers we saw on the 599GTO rather than the conventional three-into-two-into-one design, so the FF’s exhaust note is more like a muffled GTO -- meaning it’s an angrier sound, combining a thundering bass component and a screaming upper register. It sounds like two engines yelling at once -- and we couldn’t stop taking advantage of that in every tunnel we drove through. And every valley we drove in. And, well, on every street we drove along.

Peak output is up significantly over the 612’s, and it occurs at a much higher point in the engine’s rev range: 651 hp at 8000 rpm versus 532 hp at 7250 rpm. That does mean the FF’s V-12 pulls hard all the way to its 8200-rpm fuel cutoff instead of trailing off in thrust as you approach the red zone. It does not, however, mean that you need to rev this engine to the moon to get lots of grunt out of it. Peak torque is a robust 504 lb-ft at a lofty 6000 rpm, but the V-12, code-named F140-EB, produces 370 lb-ft at 1000 rpm, and more than 80 percent of peak torque by 1750. Clearly there’s no low-end-torque deficit.

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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