Road-legal version of the 599XX is Ferrari's fastest road car yet

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.

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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

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RednBlue 17 August 2010

Re: Ferrari 599 GTO

@McKeith: The 458 Italia, according to Autocar, is best in class. Way better than competitors. Amongst which, of course, there is not the McLaren. For a very simple reason: it's not on sale yet. It's going to be probably a very very good contender for the 458, but you can't mention it as a competitor. Regarding the Dukes, I'm sorry but I bet a tenna that the fastest bike you've ever ridden is a Vespa 50 or something similar. Read less magazines, ride more bikes. Possibly in a track. Then come back, so we can discuss properly.

RednBlue 17 August 2010

Re: Ferrari 599 GTO

If you buy an Ultima, the very moment you get out of the dealer your car is worth roughly 50% of what you paid, if you're lucky enough to find a buyer for your kit car. If you are lucky and rich enough to buy a 599 GTO, the moment you get out of Maranello driving your new "overpriced" Ferrari, that car is worth much, much more of what you just paid. That's market, and we love market, don't we?

Lesia44 8 May 2010

Re: Ferrari 599 GTO

Rover P6 3500S wrote:

Lesia44 wrote:
McKeith wrote:
the ducati is shockingly outclassed by its competitors.
Out of interest, what would you put up against something like the 599GTO or the new 458 Italia?

458 Italia - McLaren MP4-12C and Lamborghini Gallardo Balboni would be the obvious ones. 911 GT3 as well?

599GTO - hmm. McLaren-Mercedes SLR, but that's gone out of production. Merc SLS Black Edition (not out yet, but basically a road-going version of the SLS GT3 racer is on the way). Aston Martin One-77 is another obvious competitor. It's also rumoured that Jaguar are preparing an ultra-hardcore version of the XKR, with over 600bhp... again, based on the racing version of the XK (which already produces over 500bhp without the supercharger). I think that the BMW M6 and Aston DBS are not fast enough to merit comparison to the GTO: one car, however, that is certainly not is the Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1, which, while nowhere near as sophisticated as a 599GTO, is pretty much as fast, and costs only $100,000, or whatever that is in real money these days... a few grand more could have the ZR-1 producing 700bhp, and that 6.2 litre V8 can, with enough money thrown at it, produce over 1500bhp... and the Corvette really does handle, too, so don't spout the old myth about American cars being fast in a straight line and falling apart at the mere sight of a corner. Also, I think it's fair to compare the 599GTO to the Lexus LF-A... now, we just need Nismo to come out with a roadgoing version of its V8-powered Nissan Skyline GT-R racer... and what about the Bentley Continental Supersports? Sure, it's 40 or so bhp down on the Fezza, but that engine has a lot more left in it, and I think that aftermarket tuners will already take it up to about 670bhp...

The question was "what bike" not "what car".