2012 Ferrari FF
Date Posted: June 25, 2012
By Zack Spencer
Ferrari introduces their very first AWD car, this one with ''batmobile'' looks and room for four. The 2012 Ferrari FF
There are perfect days, ones that you will remember for many years to come. The day I picked up the new Ferrari FF was one of those days. The sun was out; the temperature was just hot enough that it felt like summer-a perfect day to take a Ferrari up the famous Sea to Sky highway from Vancouver to Whistler. When I arrived to pick up the new FF, the dealer's lot personnel were shuttling Ferraris of all shapes and vintages around and the one thing they all have in common is the deep, rumble that can be heard from blocks away. The first sight of the new FF is something to behold, it's like a cross between the Batmobile and a BMW Z3 Coupe. The two-door hatchback design camouflages what makes this new Ferrari unique-the ability to take four passengers in comfort, very quickly, on any year round outing. You see, this is also the very first Ferrari to come with all wheel drive.
What can't be described in pictures is just how big this car is. The hood is very long and the car is wide, making the FF an imposing vehicle. The long hood has a purpose other than esthetic styling. The new V12 engine is placed behind the front wheels, which means the front-end weight is towards the centre of the car. The front of the engine block is in line with the middle of the front wheels. The front wheels are driven off the front of the engine (through a separate gearbox), while the rear wheels are driven through the duel clutch 7-speed gearbox at the back of the engine. The steeply raked windshield flows into an arched roofline that melds into a useful hatchback. Two signature round taillights frame the Ferrari prancing horse, providing the most dramatic angle of this new car. Some have said the FF is a styling abomination but I love the decadent look of the car compared to the typical wedge shape that all exotic mid-engine cars have. I've always preferred front engine Ferrari styling, my dream car has always been an early 60 Ferrari 250 GT. All I need is tens of millions to buy one$$
Having a chance to drive the Ferrari California last year, I came away with an appreciation for just how special these cars are. But--and a big but--the interior of both this FF and the California have some very confusing materials. The seats, doors and dash are covered with some of the most spectacular leather one could hope to smell and touch. That is in contrast to the abysmal controls and radio/navigation head unit. The radio is the exact same screen and buttons found in a Dodge Grand Caravan, something many soccer Moms are familiar with. Then the heat controls look like they have been lifted out of some basic Fiat product. Where is a stunning computer interface like Audi uses or even Dodge with the new Dart? I don't get it. What is impressive is the rear seat headroom, with enough space to carry adults over six feet in height. Legroom is a bit tight but the view towards the Formula 1 inspired steering wheel is impressive.
This thing is sneaky fast. Because of the size of the car and the power of the 660hp 6.2L V12 engine, it can creep up in speed without the driver knowing. The most amazing thing is just how easy this car is to drive. The steering is light and very quick and direct. Point the FF and it will go where the driver intends quickly and with a sense of sportiness and luxury. The most amazing feeling is launching the car from a stand still; the rush of power and sound from the engine, plus 504 lb-ft of torque is like a shot of adrenaline. At cruising speeds the passing power is quick but not as potent as one might expect. The dealership staff told me that this car is the answer to the request many existing Ferrari owners have had for a year round car that can carry more than two people. The goal was to deliver the driving experience they are accustomed to by sending the majority of power to the rear wheels and only 20% of the power to the front wheels. Power to the front wheels is separate due to a clutch pack that also provides torque vectoring.
Anyone that has ever driven the Sea to Sky highway can attest to the unparalleled beauty of the scenery and the engaging nature of the road, even at legal speeds. That being said it would be fun to try this car in a controlled environment or even in inclement weather, to test the ability of the new all wheel drive system. What was so amazing was returning the FF and jumping back into a mere ''ordinary'' coupe. The steering felt slow, the brakes were soft and the lack of power was embarrassing. I won't mention the brand, as these shortcomings were not the fault of the car, rather the elevated level at which this new Ferrari performs. While driving the FF it became second nature, the steering, power and controls are an extension of the driver. It is only getting into another car that these attributes surface. Like I said it is sneaky fast.
The Good, The Bad
Head turning styling and an effortless driving experience.
The interior needs more sophisticated heat and radio controls.
Power: 6.2L V12 with 660hp
Fill-up: Don't ask!
Backup: 3-year/Unlimited km
Sticker price: $339,995