The last time Ferrari launched a two-seat, front-engined V12 Berlinetta like the 599 GTB, it was a reminder that the company doesn’t always make exceptional motor cars. The 2002 575M Maranello took a dynamic step backwards from the car it replaced, the 550 Maranello.

Ferrari didn’t take kindly to the 575's poor reception, and it would seem that those frustrations were channelled into the design of this car. 

The 599 GTB Fiorano presents a dazzling set of numbers. Its exalted price isn’t so extraordinary in the face of its obvious competition, but few people expected Ferrari to give the car over 600bhp. In doing so, it has produced a sporting GT with the potential to outperform many even more exclusive machines. 

In theory, it is possible to trace the 599's heritage to the very first front-engined Ferrari road car, but in truth its lineage begins with the legendary 250 GT SWB and Lusso of the 1960s.

Fast, dramatic machines with impossibly long bonnets continued as Ferrari flagships through the 275GTB and Daytona until the company chose a mid-engined format for its range-topping 12-cylinder road cars from the mid-1970s to the late 1990s.

The 550 Maranello signalled the return of the big V12 Ferrari with a long bonnet and nothing behind the driver but luggage and 100 litres of unleaded. We loved it. 

Top 5 Supercars

  • Ferrari 458
    The radical-looking, mid-engined V8 Ferrari 458 oozes supercar charm

    Ferrari 458

    1
  • McLaren 650S
    The McLaren 650S is much faster and more exciting to drive than the regular 12C

    McLaren 650S

    2
  • Is it a cut-price SLR or overpriced Merc special with fancy doors?

    Mercedes-Benz SLS

    3
  • Mid-life revisions keep the Audi R8 at the top of its game

    Audi R8

    4
  • Until the £1m One-77, the Aston Martin DBS was the British marque's halo model

    Aston Martin DBS

    5

First drives

Videos

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    25 May 2015
    Track drive of Lamborghini's astonishing limited-run special, the Aventador LP750-4 Superveloce
  • First Drive
    21 May 2015
    The DS 5 is hard to pigeonhole but it works as a package. Impressive French-style long-range cruiser, albeit at strong money for an unproven brand
  • Car review
    21 May 2015
    The industry's biggest power makes a plug-in hybrid for the masses
  • First Drive
    21 May 2015
    The 4C improves, and the Spider is a good conversion, but it remains dynamically troubled and absurdly expensive
  • First Drive
    21 May 2015
    More traction and nothing separating Jag's monstrous V8 mouthpiece from your ears. It's the shoutiest, priciest F-Type on sale, but is it the best?