2012 Ferrari FF: A New Breed of Sport and Luxury
By Jonathan Swigart - AutomotiveForums.com
When one considers what they want out of a Ferrari, several options may come to mind.
An aggressive stance with smooth lines; a growling, hand-built V12 engine pumping 651bhp; a dual-clutch to control a smoothly shifting transmission for its all-wheel-drive power.
You read that last part correctly, just as it seems Ferrari believes they have read the desires of their buyers correctly by putting out the new Ferrari FF - a hatchback, all-wheel-drive (AWD), four-seat iteration from Italian company to supplant the 612 Scaglietti.
Conventional wisdom may suggest that fans and current owners of the Ferrari name will be hesitant to accept this strange looking cousin into the family, but that may only be upon first glance.
Upon a closer look, however, one is likely to find many of the characteristics that fans and owners alike have come to expect as well as some new looks to sweeten the pot.
The interior is comprised of four, independent and race-inspired seats - two fully-adjustable seats in the front and two slightly raised seats in the back for comfort and view. As always, these seats and the rest of the interior are accented by specially-crafted aniline leather to provide as much comfort as possible during a trip.
Accompanying the interior is a flat-bottom, Formula One-inspired steering wheel attached to a digitally-aided console cluster. From the steering wheel, one can adjust stability and suspension to fit any desired driving conditions.
On the business end of the seven-speed, twin-clutch transmission is a 6.3 litre, 651bhp V12 engine aided by 504 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels. Aiding in the AWD power is an interesting piece of engineering that comes in the form of two transmissions.
According to a recent article by Andrew English of Popular Mechanics, this set-up is a means of negating the traditional AWD mechanics that utilize the transmission to power the secondary axle while the primary axle is engaged, giving life to the AWD system.
"[T]he FF features two transmissions, one on either end of the engine. The main seven-speed transmission hooks to the rear of the engine and powers the rear wheels. The second two-speed gearbox connects to the front of the engine and links to the front wheels via a pair of computer-controlled wet clutches, one on each halfshaft," wrote English.
The two-speed gearbox works as a subsidiary part of the powertrain only in the first four gears. Past this point - or above 124 miles per hour - it will disengage.
It is recommended to be wary in going too fast if you are fuel-conscious, however, as the FF will only net an average of 18 miles to the gallon. And with a 24-gallon tank, that may go quicker than one thinks.
Those concerned with the overall performance from this new-era build should be reassured by the 0-60 time of approximately 3.7 seconds as they make their way to the top-speed of 208 mph.
More impressive is the idea of the FF being suited for more than just mountain roads - but also the snowy roads of a ski-bound village, validating the car's "Grand Tourer" label.
According to English's assessment of the FF's debut in the Italian Dolomites, pavement or snow - this car will not leave you searching for any lost power.
"A short run on the white stuff proved that the FF is truly a Ferrari fit for a ski town. On powered, crushed snow, this 4144-pound car will pull away with no wheelspin, clanking clutch or clattering brakes. It works," he wrote.
The question now becomes will it work for purists of the prancing stallion who are accustomed to a two-seated exotic built for speed?
Based on current responses, European enthusiasts are ready to see what this car can do when it ships this coming September. Meanwhile, North American buyers - though unsure at first - have already recorded several orders for this new crossbreed of luxury and sport.