Self-appointed guardians of Ferrari’s soul gave the company a right kicking when it launched the California five years ago. Apparently, to build a relatively usable convertible was none of Ferrari’s business. Even though some of its past greats, like the 330 GTS and 250 GT California, were exactly that format. And, actually, the California has been one of the best-selling Ferraris ever.
Now there’s another storm brewing because the new California, the T, has a turbocharged engine. Again, the voices are raised that it’s not what we want from Ferrari, thank you very much. Even though some of the past greats, such as the 288 GTO and F40, also had just that sort of engine.
Hey, be happy people… it’s not like it’s a diesel SUV or anything. But the decision to go turbo always carried a risk, openly acknowledged by Ferrari engineers, that the result would emerge bereft of the blazing-fast throttle response, primal scream and dizzying revs that make the current generation of Ferrari engines so life-enhancing.
If Ferrari knew it was risky, why do it? Fuel consumption. Contrary to myth, Ferrari can’t just lose its thirst and CO2 numbers in the giant bulk of Fiat’s average. For this purpose, it stands independently. But neither is it bound to the same 90g/km target as the mass manufacturers. Ferrari, along with McLaren, Aston and others, gets an exemption as a small manufacturer, but only so long as it shows willing and gets its CO2 onto a clear downward trend. The Cali T has dropped to 250g/km from the old V8’s 299, and they say the real-world consumption will fall in similar ratio. [x]
This is the Ferrari 458 Speciale.
TopGear.com has a first drive.
The magic appearing Jezza!
We’re watching Jeremy’s review of the Ferrari F430 on BBC America right now.
Click through for impressions
The Ferrari FXX was once the fastest car to (illegally) lap our test track. The Ferdinand Ferdinand GT3 RS is the slowest car to lap our test track. So what happens if the two engage in a bit of cross-fertilisation? Well, this… The Fahrradi Farfall FFX.
It may look like Ferrari’s V12, Enzo-based hypercar, but it’s actually a bicycle cocooned with some well-placed tin foil. It’s the idea of Austrian bicyclist, Hannes Langeder, the very man who built the lightest of lightweight GT3 RS that Hammond cycled around our test track.
This one took him a year to build and has notable improvements, such as gullwing doors that flap when the car/bike is being pedaled. Langeder believes that it’s actually possible for the FFX to “lift off slightly from the ground”. Yes, you read that right. This car has the potential to fly.
All of our photos didn’t upload correctly so we’re reposting this. In the meantime, staring longingly at the Lamborghini and McLaren above.
For those of you who love everything from the Prancing Horse, here’s footage of the hardest track-only 599 ever built:
Revealed last December at the Bologna motor show, the 599XX Evo is, naturally, the hardest 599 ever built, and we’ve just got our hands on this video footage of the bewinged monster doing some rather brave laps at the Suzuka circuit. It was there as part of a track session for Ferrari customers - the ‘Ferrari Racing Days’ programme - which saw over 300 owners run their cars, followed by a hot lap demonstration from Mika Salo in the F2008 F1 car. Why brave? Because it’s quite wet.
Like the 599 GTB Fiorano which it replaces, the F12’s undoubted USP is that thumping great V12. A reworked version of the unit that first appeared in the FF, it shares the same 6262cc capacity and 65 degree configuration, but its power output is increased by approximately 80bhp to just over 730bhp (740CV), and it produces 509 torques. In other words, the F12 is the most powerful road-going Ferrari ever. Factor in a dry weight of 1525kg and you can imagine what sort of performance this thing delivers: 0-62mph in 3.1 seconds, 0-124mph in 8.5, and a top speed of 211mph. So, quite fast, then. Fast enough, in fact, to blitz Ferrari’s Fiorano test track in 1min 23 seconds, a time that outpoints even the Enzo supercar to make this the quickest Ferrari road car to lap the famous circuit.
There’s an all-new aluminium spaceframe chassis, which mixes and matches 12 different kinds of alloys to reduce weight and improve structural rigidity by 20 per cent. And despite that front-mounted V12, the F12 has optimum weight distribution, 46/54 front to rear. The centre of gravity has been reduced, and the engine, interior and seats all sit 25mm lower in the chassis. A new rear suspension layout and redesigned rear transaxle also help reduce the F12’s rear volume. It’s a smaller, more muscular car than the 599, a car that could feel a little too big to be comfortably punted down a typical British back-road when you weren’t swanning about in Monaco.
For all of the pretty specs, visit TopGear.com
Note to self: on February 29, 2012, Ferrari will unveil the successor to it’s big grand tourer the Ferrari 599. In order to tease us, it’s released a video… of it’s sound:
All we have at the moment is this teaser video, released with the sole, merciless aim of coaxing us into a fizz with the promise that “a new era of extreme V12 cars dawns”. Messrs Alonso and Massa appear to have stolen the keys to a prototype too, as the two Ferrari hotfoots take it out for a spin.
It’s the successor to the much feted 599 - codenamed F152 - and by definition, will need to produce more than the 660bhp of the FF’s 6.2-litre V12 (the most powerful Ferrari on sale today) and the 670bhp 599 GTO. Think 700bhp, and you’re probably about there.
Expect the GTB’s first appearance at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. In the meantime, you can visit TopGear.com for more info.
Another day, another Ferrari 250 GTO. Today we find news that one of the erstwhile bedroom pin-ups has sold for £20.2 million, thus making it the UK’s most expensive automotive sale.
This particular car, number 5095, is believed to have been sold by British businessman Jon Hunt who bought the car in 2008 for a paltry £15.7m. Jon Hunt, in case you wanted to know, is the man who founded - and then sold - the Foxton’s estate agency.
The new owner will surely delight in that 3.0-litre V12, some 300bhp and a 0-60mph time of around 6.1 seconds and top speed of 174mph. Or somewhere near that, considering the price and rarity of the thing - just 39 GTOs were built between 1962 and 1964, of which two now belong to Chris Evans and Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason.