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).