Steve Sutcliffe
30 April 2010

What is it?

The car you are looking at is, no more and certainly no less, the fastest, most powerful road car that Ferrari has ever built. It’s called the 599 GTO, it costs £299,280 and it takes the idea of the front-engined V12 GT car to an entirely new level dynamically.

Thanks to an exhaustive program of upgrades not just to its engine, gearbox and chassis but also its braking system, aerodynamics and electronics, the 599 GTO can lap Ferrari’s test track at Fiorano faster than an Enzo. Yet it is also, says Ferrari, more fuel efficient and cleaner than a regular 599 GTB – and at the same time provides a level of driver interaction that has never before been available on a production Ferrari.

Essentially a road legal version of the extraordinary 599XX, the GTO features numerous engineering aspects that were pioneered on its track-only ancestor that we drove exclusively in March. The V12 engine, just like that of the XX, has been “super-polished” internally and features “diamond-like-carbon” coating on its hydraulic tappets which increases its overall efficiency (compared with the GTB unit) by an impressive 12 per cent.

It also has a new six-into-one exhaust manifold and a completely revised intake system that helps it sound both louder and “even more magnificent” from inside the cockpit while still conforming to Euro 5 and LEV2 homologation standards.

The headline power and torque figures make impressive enough reading on their own; the GTO’s 5999cc V12 produces a whopping 671bhp at 8250rpm and 457lb ft at 6500rpm, up from 612bhp and 448lb ft in the GTB. Combine this with a full 100kg weight reduction and you begin to realise how potent a machine the 1605kg GTO really is.

What’s it like?

Climb aboard, hunker down into its high-backed bucket seat and the sense of purpose inside the GTO is almost overwhelming. From its carbon fibre instrument surrounds to its drilled alloy pedals and its 10,000rpm rev counter, it feels every inch like a road legalized racing car inside. There’s even a row of Christmas tree lights atop the steering wheel to remind you when to shift up.

When you do finally fire it up, the noise made by the GTO’s 6.0-lire V12 is so complex, and so rich, you could happily sit there and listen to it at idle all day long. But it sounds even better on the move, under load, screaming up its vast rev range through second, then third, then fourth – almost as quickly as you can read this sentence.

The acceleration this car can summon, and the noise it generates whilst doing so is actually quite uncomfortable to begin with when experienced within the confines of a public road. In fifth gear it feels as potent as a 911 does in third, and in second it’s just crackers fast.

Yet somehow Ferrari has managed to build a car that doesn’t just surround but does full justice to this incredible engine. The GTO rides almost as well as it handles if you play around with its various manettino settings; it also steers every bit as brilliantly as it stops, and it changes gear just as incisively as it turns in.

As a whole it feels entirely different from, and vastly superior to, the regular 599 GTB in every way dynamically. Ferrari is not exaggerating in any way when it describes the GTO as a road legal version of the 599XX – as opposed to an uprated version of the GTB. And that makes GTO something of a bargain at a mere £300k – compared with £1.2m for the XX.

Should I buy one?

You’ll be lucky. All 599 examples that Ferrari is going to build over the next year and a half are already sold out, which means values will remain rock solid for a very long time.

No matter, this is a genuine landmark car for Ferrari, and as such it deserves all the success it has already achieved. It’s also a bona fide addition to the GTO family, make absolutely no mistake about that.

Join the debate

Comments
56

Re: Ferrari 599 GTO

3 years 50 weeks ago

The best Ferrari in years, apparently. I think F458 Italia is also faster than the Enzo around the Fiorano track - wonder which is faster of the two.

Re: Ferrari 599 GTO

3 years 50 weeks ago

"It’s also a proper, bona fide addition to the GTO family, make absolutely no mistake about that."

How so Steve? Are you forgetting what the 'O' in GTO stands for?

Both the 250 and the 288 GTO's were road-going race cars built by Ferrari for competition homologation. The 250 GTO was a road-legal racer built for 1960's GT racing; the 288 GTO was another road/race Ferrari, designed to compete in the ill-fated 1980's Group B racing series.

Are Ferrari planning to take the 599 GTO racing? TBH, I can't see that happening and I view the 'GTO' moniker with utmost cynicism. I don't doubt the claims that the 599 GTO is a landmark car for Ferrari, but until it turns a wheel in competition, a bona fide GTO the 599 is definitely not.

Re: Ferrari 599 GTO

3 years 50 weeks ago

Sometimes Ferrari comes up with some truly amazing products if they try hard enough and this is one of them. Sadly, profit and market demands delivered the California which shouldn't even be called a Ferrari. Now what combo would look good on my GTO? Yellow with black hood?

Re: Ferrari 599 GTO

3 years 50 weeks ago

Yes, I'd order mine in yellow as well, I've always had a thing about yellow Ferraris.

Not much of a road test though, there's no mention of cup-holders, prospective buyers need to know these kind of things.

Re: Ferrari 599 GTO

3 years 50 weeks ago

Shame my kidneys aren't worth more or I'd sell both of them for one of these. One thing though, what a boring steering wheel for such a weapons-grade car. The rest of the interior's great, but even the starter button and manettino can't make that wheel look appealing.

Re: Ferrari 599 GTO

3 years 50 weeks ago

I'm sure it's a superb car in very many ways, but the steering wheel IS too boring to look at, the LED shift-up-now thing would drive me nuts, the car is so wide that you can't take it onto your favourite B-roads, as any oncoming traffic would have you scraping your paintwork on the hedgerows, I personally think it's rather ugly. And it's still got no manual gearbox option. What's more, it isn't a true GTO, as neither it nor the 599XX has been taken racing. Can anyone tell me what the S in GTS stands for, or the B in GTB (as in the Daytona)?

Re: Ferrari 599 GTO

3 years 50 weeks ago

Rover P6 3500S wrote:
the car is so wide that you can't take it onto your favourite B-roads, as any oncoming traffic would have you scraping your paintwork on the hedgerows

You don't half talk some gibberish. Yes it's a wide car, but to say you can't take it on B-roads without scraping the hedgerows is just nonsense. Ever read a 599 British road test? It's won many a group test over a variety of B-roads, with journos loving it on British roads. It's wide sure, but perfectly easy to drive for anyone with any driving skill. I've driven massive vans and trucks on B-roads and never thought they were too wide.

As for the GTO name and whether it's right to call it that, well, I appreciate Ferrari's racing heritage and all that, but personally I couldn't care less. It's just some initals. Don't dismiss a car over such pedantry.

Re: Ferrari 599 GTO

3 years 50 weeks ago

Rover P6 3500S wrote:
Can anyone tell me what the S in GTS stands for, or the B in GTB (as in the Daytona)?

B = Berlinetta (coupe)

S = Spyder/Spider

Re: Ferrari 599 GTO

3 years 50 weeks ago

Evo_ermine wrote:

You don't half talk some gibberish. Yes it's a wide car, but to say you can't take it on B-roads without scraping the hedgerows is just nonsense. Ever read a 599 British road test? It's won many a group test over a variety of B-roads, with journos loving it on British roads. It's wide sure, but perfectly easy to drive for anyone with any driving skill. I've driven massive vans and trucks on B-roads and never thought they were too wide.

As for the GTO name and whether it's right to call it that, well, I appreciate Ferrari's racing heritage and all that, but personally I couldn't care less. It's just some initals. Don't dismiss a car over such pedantry

Well said Evo_ermine. Substance over form surely. If I had enough funds I'd justify buying one of these on the engine alone-what an astonishing sound that thing makes!! To describe this car as awesome is an understatement in my opinion.

Re: Ferrari 599 GTO

3 years 50 weeks ago

Evo_ermine wrote:

Rover P6 3500S wrote:
the car is so wide that you can't take it onto your favourite B-roads, as any oncoming traffic would have you scraping your paintwork on the hedgerows

You don't half talk some gibberish. Yes it's a wide car, but to say you can't take it on B-roads without scraping the hedgerows is just nonsense. Ever read a 599 British road test? It's won many a group test over a variety of B-roads, with journos loving it on British roads. It's wide sure, but perfectly easy to drive for anyone with any driving skill. I've driven massive vans and trucks on B-roads and never thought they were too wide.

As for the GTO name and whether it's right to call it that, well, I appreciate Ferrari's racing heritage and all that, but personally I couldn't care less. It's just some initals. Don't dismiss a car over such pedantry.

Put it this way, some of the B-roads round here you'd struggle to get two BMW 3-series' past each other, and many are strictly single track with passing places. I still maintain that the 599 is too wide for a lot of B-roads: certainly, when I think of the many enjoyable miles I've covered on quiet country lanes, the 599 would have been far too wide.

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Our Verdict

The Ferrari 599 offers mind-blowing pace and handling. Quite possibly the best Ferrari of its generation

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