First Drive: 2012 Ferrari FF



First of all, as the driver, you’re blissfully unaware of the 4RM system at work. There is zero torque steer, and thanks to Ferrari’s predictive logic, there’s no awkward transition wherein you wait for the front wheels to engage after you’ve started spinning the rears. In dry or in the snow, the FF just goes in whatever direction you point it. Even if that direction is sideways. Even if that’s starting out on a big hill in snow.

Under light-load conditions, such as snow and ice, you can hear a subtle change in the engine’s sound when the system engages. This isn’t really unexpected, since the PTU acts like a big vibration damper on the front of the crankshaft. Suddenly, the engine’s vibration -- which you hadn’t even realized was there -- disappears, and you hear a quiet moaning as power makes its way to the front wheels. It’s neither good nor bad, it just is.

The V-12 is lusty and powerful, and we have no question that the FF will achieve Ferrari’s claimed 3.7-second 0-to-62-mph time. Like all modern Ferraris, the steering is a bit overassisted and slightly numb, but perfectly accurate. And like all cars with ceramic brakes, the pedal isn’t linear. (Earlier systems were too grabby, as was one of the pre-production FFs other journalists drove. Our particular FF’s brake pedal felt great on light usage but required progressively more effort for a linear increase in braking force -- and required you to really stand on it to get full braking. As is the case with other V-12 Ferraris, the pedal also doesn’t respond immediately to sudden big brake inputs, and its pedal travel is longer than you’d expect.)

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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