Ferrari FF continues to impress in test-drives

Article by Christian Andrei, on April 9, 2011

A couple of months after the Ferrari FF was unveiled, it was allowed to be test-driven and one of those who reviewed the radical four-seater is Jason H. Harper of Bloomberg News. Last January, Ferrari announced that the $300,000 FF would be its first-ever four-wheel-drive model. Harper got behind the wheel of this V-12-powered vehicle and drove into the Dolomite mountains of northern Italy.

He took the Ferrari FF through several thickly stacked switchbacks and steered it uphill while pressing on the gas to engage the fwd.

Harper claims that on a particularly sharp turn, he only heard a slight chirp in the tires. He then brought the FF further up the hill at a speed of around 100kph. The FF is mostly quiet except for the howl of the front-mounted 651-hp motor.

Harper asserts that a test-drive through these mountains are ideal for a fwd system since it will get to experience various conditions, whether dry and wet or cold and hot. Lamborghini uses all-wheel drive on all its cars but Ferrari has consistently kept to its mantra that optimal performance is only possible with a rear-wheel. Harper believes that this is likely why the FF is intended only for rough weather.

The new and hotly anticipated Ferrari FF is introduced in Geneva following the burgeoning interest stemming from its Maranello client premiere which was streamed live at www.ferrari.com.

The Ferrari FF is a highly innovative adaptation of the Grand Tourer design. It is Ferrari’s first four-wheel drive car, but more importantly, the FF is recognised as Ferrari’s successful combination of the GT with its comfort and reliability and a super sports car with its tremendous performance.

Innovative design and technology can be seen in all aspects of the Ferrari FF. This is the first car to link a GDI V12 engine with a seven-speed F1 dual-clutch gearbox. The V12 blasts an incredible 660 CV at 8,000 rpm, with a maximum torque of 683 Nm at 6,000 rpm. In fact, 500 Nm can be available at 1,000 rpm. These numbers guarantee truly extreme sports car performance as can be seen in its maximum velocity of 335 km/h and a 0-100 km/h time of just 3.7 seconds. Despite this performance, efficiency has actually been appreciably improved. Fuel consumption over 100 km is only 15.4 litres. CO2 emissions are also reduced to 360 g/km or 25 percent of what previous V12s produced. This is because of the HELE (High Emotions- Low Emissions) System which adapts an automatic Stop-Start function.

A notable characteristic of the Ferrari FF is that it promises the same top performance even on slippery roads because of its original 4RM four-wheel drive system. In such conditions, as much torque as needed is provided by the front wheels in addition to that delivered by the rear wheels. A Power Transfer Unit (PTU) controls this properly in these situations. The Ferrari FF can smartly deliver appropriate torque to each wheel because the dynamic vehicle controls (PTU, E-Diff and F1-Trac) are all run by a main CPU.

The Ferrari FF’s transaxle configuration with the mid-front engine and rear axle gearbox, as well as its 47/53 front/rear weight distribution, contributes greatly to the car’s dynamic drivability. The overall car weight has been rigorously reduced. The engine has been lightened with new castings, while the body is made of newer aluminium alloys using better techniques. Other components have also been lightened. Internally, new materials are also used. The seats use magnesium and the brakes are from third generation Brembo carbon-ceramic for durability and less weight. In total, the Ferrari FF has an amazing 2.7 kg/CV weight-power ratio, which is unprecedented in its class.

The styling of the Ferrari FF was done by Pininfarina, and its silhouette and lines undoubtedly affirm its combination of extreme performance and everyday reliability. Four passengers can cosily ride its body-contouring seats in the amply spaced cabin. The 450-litre boot is expandable to 800 litres when the rear seats are tucked away. Thus, the FF accommodates more luggage than any of its competitors, or even other four-door sedans.

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