Ferrari designed this V12 four-seater to be usable every day. Over the next few months, we plan on doing just that

When your mission is to pick up a Ferrari for extended road testing, it’s hard to resist the impulse to dress up a bit. It’s an extraordinary moment in your motoring life, after all, and you can also bet that everyone you meet on such a mission will be pin-striped.

Ferrari dealer Marcus Uzzell certainly was when I stepped over the threshold of Maranello, his Egham dealership just outside London’s orbital M25, to collect the 13,700-mile Ferrari FF we’ll be running through the summer.

The car looked magnificent, of course, resplendent in the same metallic red Ferrari designed for its 2007 grand prix cars, when a colour adjustment was needed to the livery in order to make the cars extra-red on digital television.

The FF (for Ferrari Four) is the marque’s rule-breaker of recent years, a two-door four-seater with a novel on-demand four-wheel drive system that takes drive to the front wheels directly from the front of the mighty front/mid-mounted V12, but only when the rear wheels have already begun to slip. The car was born out of a perception among Ferrari’s bigwigs that the firm’s cars weren’t being used day to day like those of some competing marques. Indeed, the brochures show FFs forging up snowy hillsides, evidently bearing their owners towards ski chalets. 

This is probably the most sensible Ferrari you can buy, with its roomy cabin and big doors, its snug but useable rear seats and its long-wheelbase chassis built for stability and bristling with sophisticated electronics, plus, when needed, that four-wheel drive system. Our own tests have already shown the combination confers on the FF all the high and low-speed traction a supercar needs, even when powered by a 651bhp 6.3-litre V12 and endowed with huge performance (for the record, 0-62mph in 3.7sec and a top speed of 210mph).

Ferraris and four seats have never had a massive take-up, not least in the UK. When the Ferrari FF was launched in 2011 by company CEO Amedeo Felisa, its production target was given as 800 units a year worldwide, which (given that the UK regularly takes about 10% of total Ferrari volume) indicates that only about half a dozen FFs a month find new owners in the UK. So it’s a rare car.

Still, the thread of our enquiry over the next few months won’t primarily be about the spectacular side of Ferrari driving, ever available though that is. The idea is to take this extraordinary machine and apply it to ordinary motoring situations, to discover what living with a Ferrari V12 is really like. Ferrari’s steady contention is that the car works well in a wide variety of situations, which is why it is allowing a car priced at just over £300,000 a couple of years ago (and able to command about £180,000 today) outof its sight for more than a few days.

The Maranello dealership is located in a recently restored art deco showroom on the Egham bypass, well known to generations of visitors because it was once the lair from which the Colonel Ronnie Hoare, the UK’s legendary Ferrari importer (reputed to have a direct line to Enzo himself) ran his business for several generations.

Nowadays it has all the modern facilities, including a close replica of the famous atelier at Ferrari’s Italian HQ, where buyers can sit for as long as they want, reviewing their new Ferrari’s specifications, options, colours, leathers and trim materials and configuring them on a big screen that can combine them. But in a sense, such facilities are expected by luxury car buyers.

More surprising is the remarkable deal Ferrari offers buyers of secondhand cars through its official dealerships. Choose a nearly new Ferrari and it’ll be covered by the balance of a standard three-year warranty that is extended by a year for free in the UK.

Even outside that, it’ll be covered by a two-year warranty. Beyond that, up to the 12th year of its life, it can be covered by a warranty Ferrari calls New Power Formula. This is run by Ferrari itself and not an insurance company, because its aim is to keep Ferraris on the road, not generate profits for shareholders.

Oh, and just like every Ferrari ever built, your used car qualifies for free roadside assistance, even if it’s covered by neither a new-car warranty nor New Power. The company insists it isn’t trying to suggest that Ferrari ownership is cheap, but it is absolutely passionate about removing perceived risks, and it shows. Eventually, weighed down with information, glossy brochures and some superb illustrations of our car, we drove the red FF away into its new ownership.

First impressions? As good as you’d think. The cabin is roomy, the seats inviting and supportive and the driving position satisfyingly ‘front-engined Ferrari’, with a high, near vertically set wheel, over which you sight down an exotically sculpted bonnet. The V12 barks into life in a way that turns heads, but after you’ve squeezed the right-hand paddle to select a gear, the accurate accelerator allows you to glide smoothly into traffic while conveying the promise of big action when its ample travel is more extravagantly used. Much more on that, very soon.

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Our Verdict

Ferrari FF

The magnificent four-seat, four-wheel drive Ferrari is a hypercar carrier of four unrivaled in ethos or execution

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Comments
39

3 May 2015
I suppose sensible is a relative term and I doubt that there really is such an animal. With depreciation of this model currently running at more than £50,000 per year - or more than £10 for each mile travelled - it is nevertheless a very good way of disposing of unwanted cash. Maybe as a mobile piece of fine art, then this car is a bargain - although with 800 other examples a year available worldwide, it will never be unique. And just how practical can this car be? Would you really want to leave your £300k investment in Tesco's car park, and what would it cost to insure, never mind tax and fuel? This Ferrari may be usable, but would you really want to use it?

3 May 2015
LP in Brighton wrote:

I suppose sensible is a relative term and I doubt that there really is such an animal. With depreciation of this model currently running at more than £50,000 per year - or more than £10 for each mile travelled - it is nevertheless a very good way of disposing of unwanted cash. Maybe as a mobile piece of fine art, then this car is a bargain - although with 800 other examples a year available worldwide, it will never be unique. And just how practical can this car be? Would you really want to leave your £300k investment in Tesco's car park, and what would it cost to insure, never mind tax and fuel? This Ferrari may be usable, but would you really want to use it?

Jesus are you for real?? Do you think that anyone paying upwards of 300K for a car is suddenly going to be skint when they have to pay an initial 1K for tax then £500 a year there after?? And I doubt that they could ever afford the £130 to fill it up could they, it's just not possible is it? Do you not realize that there are plenty of people who have a lot more money than you and aren't scared of using high value cars like these as to them the fear of leaving them anywhere or the running costs involved just doesn't exist??

3 May 2015
gigglebug wrote:
LP in Brighton wrote:

I suppose sensible is a relative term and I doubt that there really is such an animal. With depreciation of this model currently running at more than £50,000 per year - or more than £10 for each mile travelled - it is nevertheless a very good way of disposing of unwanted cash. Maybe as a mobile piece of fine art, then this car is a bargain - although with 800 other examples a year available worldwide, it will never be unique. And just how practical can this car be? Would you really want to leave your £300k investment in Tesco's car park, and what would it cost to insure, never mind tax and fuel? This Ferrari may be usable, but would you really want to use it?

Jesus are you for real?? Do you think that anyone paying upwards of 300K for a car is suddenly going to be skint when they have to pay an initial 1K for tax then £500 a year there after?? And I doubt that they could ever afford the £130 to fill it up could they, it's just not possible is it? Do you not realize that there are plenty of people who have a lot more money than you and aren't scared of using high value cars like these as to them the fear of leaving them anywhere or the running costs involved just doesn't exist??

LP Brighton
Your answering your own question,if you have the cash,who gives a stuff what anyone else thinks,so it losing a tenner a Day,£130 fill twice three times a week,these figures don't matter,what matters is the big fat ear to ear grin you'll have on your Face enjoying that Rib crushing G' force,the gorgeous sound of the Engine,sitting in sumptuous comfortable sports seats,if i had the chance,or indeed anyone else for that matter,wouldn't you of doing this/

Peter Cavellini.

3 May 2015
800 a year worldwide, UK takes 10% of normal Ferraris. 6 FFs a month sold = 12x6=72. So about on target then for 10%.... Not sure why you make it sound a failure in the UK?

 

 

 

3 May 2015
I really do think this car is brilliant and I applaud Ferrari for trying to erase the stigma that their cars are somehow better off sitting in a garage under cover. But even if I was a multi millionaire, which I can assure you I'm not, I still wouldn't choose an FF as my every day, year round driver. For one thing, there are only two doors, which really kills the practicality for anyone who has children. Furthermore there are too many other options for performance four wheel drive luxury machines...Maserati Ghibli/QP, Jaguar XF, BMW 5 series, Audi RS6, Merc E class AMG (now available with all wheel drive), Porsche Panamera, Cadillac CTS. And that list doesn't even mention Japanese makes. I'm sorry but there is no way I would drive an FF with that list of selection. I'd have a Jag XF for everyday use and have a 458 or F12 sitting in the garage for when I was in the mood to have my hair blown off.

3 May 2015
...It is an awesome car and it's amazing for what it is and can do, which is certainly no doubt appealing to multimillionaires. But like you said, there's such a flood of alternative options as well as combinations of cars you can get for the price of one Ferrari FF that the latter's case completely falls apart. Because you can still get one of the "lesser" Ferraris (massive quotation marks there) like the California and 458 which are already very good and capable, alongside an estate car which would still be nice and fast anyway. Then again, there's loads of people that have more money than sense or logic...

3 May 2015
AHYL88 wrote:

...It is an awesome car and it's amazing for what it is and can do, which is certainly no doubt appealing to multimillionaires. But like you said, there's such a flood of alternative options as well as combinations of cars you can get for the price of one Ferrari FF that the latter's case completely falls apart. Because you can still get one of the "lesser" Ferraris (massive quotation marks there) like the California and 458 which are already very good and capable, alongside an estate car which would still be nice and fast anyway. Then again, there's loads of people that have more money than sense or logic...

You and gillmanjr are still talking like people who have to rationalise every financial decision you make like 99% of the rest of us do. Can't you understand that there are those who don't have to worry if you could buy X, Y and Z cars for the same amount of money as they could buy them all at the same time if they wanted to. You automatically assume that they have no sense or logic just because they can afford to spend a lot more on a car than you can. Did you ever consider the fact that they might have worked really hard to be in the position that they were able to say "Do you know what, I really like that car and I'm going to buy it. I've earned it and can afford it"? If I could afford to do so I'd be exactly the same and sample the cars I was genuinely interested in without worrying about hypothetical variations or just plain stupid things like the cost of tax and insurance.

3 May 2015
gigglebug wrote:

You and gillmanjr are still talking like people who have to rationalise every financial decision you make like 99% of the rest of us do. Can't you understand that there are those who don't have to worry if you could buy X, Y and Z cars for the same amount of money as they could buy them all at the same time if they wanted to. You automatically assume that they have no sense or logic just because they can afford to spend a lot more on a car than you can. Did you ever consider the fact that they might have worked really hard to be in the position that they were able to say "Do you know what, I really like that car and I'm going to buy it. I've earned it and can afford it"? If I could afford to do so I'd be exactly the same and sample the cars I was genuinely interested in without worrying about hypothetical variations or just plain stupid things like the cost of tax and insurance.

Millionaires don't become that way by being stupid with their money. Ferrari is pushing this car as a practical, everyday driver. It is MY OPINION that it doesn't fit that role very well. It is a niche car and obviously people are going to buy them, after all it still has a 650 HP Ferrari V12 in it. But even if I was a trillionaire I wouldn't buy a car unless I thought I would use it for something, even if that something was taking it to the track once a year, and I'm just not sure I could find a use for the FF.

4 May 2015
gillmanjr wrote:
gigglebug wrote:

You and gillmanjr are still talking like people who have to rationalise every financial decision you make like 99% of the rest of us do. Can't you understand that there are those who don't have to worry if you could buy X, Y and Z cars for the same amount of money as they could buy them all at the same time if they wanted to. You automatically assume that they have no sense or logic just because they can afford to spend a lot more on a car than you can. Did you ever consider the fact that they might have worked really hard to be in the position that they were able to say "Do you know what, I really like that car and I'm going to buy it. I've earned it and can afford it"? If I could afford to do so I'd be exactly the same and sample the cars I was genuinely interested in without worrying about hypothetical variations or just plain stupid things like the cost of tax and insurance.

Millionaires don't become that way by being stupid with their money. Ferrari is pushing this car as a practical, everyday driver. It is MY OPINION that it doesn't fit that role very well. It is a niche car and obviously people are going to buy them, after all it still has a 650 HP Ferrari V12 in it. But even if I was a trillionaire I wouldn't buy a car unless I thought I would use it for something, even if that something was taking it to the track once a year, and I'm just not sure I could find a use for the FF.

I've no problem with anyone not liking a particular car I just don't always understand some of their reasoning for doing so. Explain two things; Firstly what makes you think that the FF can't be a practical everyday car. It seats 4 in comfort which is more than most people will ever use regularly and it has a large enough boot for the majority of everyday circumstances, hell even the rear seats fold flat if more space is needed. It has very good traction making it as/if not more usable in differing driving conditions than any of the other road cars you mentioned and it would make you feel special every single journey even at very normal everyday speeds. The only thing I can think of that might reduce it's everyday usability is the fact that it's a very large motorcar but none the ones you mentioned are compact. Secondly what makes it a niche model compared to any other coupe on the market?

PS: If I were in the position I would also be trying a Quattroporte, an S class with a massive engine, a 612 and an M6 Gran Coupe among others just in case you were thinking that I'm some sort of Ferrari fan boy

4 May 2015
gigglebug wrote:

I've no problem with anyone not liking a particular car I just don't always understand some of their reasoning for doing so. Explain two things; Firstly what makes you think that the FF can't be a practical everyday car. It seats 4 in comfort which is more than most people will ever use regularly and it has a large enough boot for the majority of everyday circumstances, hell even the rear seats fold flat if more space is needed. It has very good traction making it as/if not more usable in differing driving conditions than any of the other road cars you mentioned and it would make you feel special every single journey even at very normal everyday speeds. The only thing I can think of that might reduce it's everyday usability is the fact that it's a very large motorcar but none the ones you mentioned are compact. Secondly what makes it a niche model compared to any other coupe on the market?

PS: If I were in the position I would also be trying a Quattroporte, an S class with a massive engine, a 612 and an M6 Gran Coupe among others just in case you were thinking that I'm some sort of Ferrari fan boy

You obviously don't have children or you wouldn't be asking me why the FF isn't practical as an everyday car, and I already mentioned it in my first post. TWO DOORS. If you had kids I wouldn't have to explain to you why two doors doesn't work.

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