Showing posts with label Ferrari. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ferrari. Show all posts

Friday, 6 May 2011

First Drive: 2012 Ferrari FF

The last time Ferrari blew absolutely everyone away with wall-to-wall surprises and equally sizzling performance all wrapped into one car was in 2002 with its Enzo. We’re not saying that all things between then and today have been shabby, mind you. And we’re also not saying that the 2012 Ferrari FF does it in marquee-and-fireworks Enzo-style, but the unexpected innovations aboard this gorgeous trailblazing all-weather shooting brake will keep conversation heated for an uncommonly long time. This is Ferrari thinking way outside its box of usual GT forms and, for no other reason than this, we must applaud them.

You’re probably expecting us to drop the “But…” right about now, yanking the carpet away in the damning-with-faint-praise tradition, however, there isn’t one to drop on the parade here. We’ve just reeled off some 150 miles of sheer V12 driving joy in the endlessly challenging Dolomite Mountains of northeastern Italy, and when finished with that, we only wanted more. Admittedly, we could do with a better onboard sat-nav and command center than the Harman Kardon unit, as well as a slightly weightier steering map for warm and dry days, but these are our only moments of quandary when assessing the FF.

FF means “Ferrari Four” and this unashamedly standout model will most likely cost around $300,000 when it hits North American ports in the end of October of this year. That’s cheap. Why keep a $173,200 Porsche Panamera Turbo S, a $39,680 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4×4, a $111,100 Corvette ZR1, and a $21,200 Ford Transit Connect cluttered in your drive, when you can save both money and garage space by snapping up the ingenious and rare all-wheel-drive 651-horsepower Ferrari FF and call it a day? For that matter, why buy a house when you can have all the comfort and room we took advantage of inside the FF? The leather is luscious and an optional Schedoni [pronounced ske-DOH-nee] luggage set outfitted in the same hides runs around $10k.

2012 Ferrari FF

We are not ignorant of the fact that some of those who can afford an FF – together with legions of the less wealthy who aspire to simpler pleasures like a BMW xDrive model or some such thing – have been exuberantly vocal (usually in writing, huddled away in their computer lairs) about what an atrocity the FF is to the Ferrari brand and heritage. We have only one thing to say before we say more things: stick it in your ear. The FF is a genius move from a company that we frankly saw getting itself into a small rut and having an increasingly challenging time selling V12-engined dream cars, no matter how gorgeous they might draw them or how well they were engineered. Thinking of a world without a briskly selling V12 Ferrari makes us break out in a worrying sweat for humanity.

And seeing as there has been a real challenge for anyone selling 12-cylinder cars lately, any new V12 needs to be about a lot more than simply the engine and its power. That said, even the 6.3-liter “F140 EB” V12 sitting front/amidships in the FF possesses a raft of sophisticated improvements. Nuances to the FF’s engine almost make the outgoing 612 Scaglietti’s F133 F 5.7-liter V12 and its 536 horsepower seem historic. The 6.3-liter has more in common with the 611-to-661-hp 6.0-liter V12 in the 599 line. Just add 200-psi direct injection and new “reed” valves in the dry sump to keep oil from seeping back up with the pistons. Voila! 651 hp and 504 pound feet of torque and at least a 15-percent improvement in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

2012 Ferrari FF side view2012 Ferrari FF front view2012 Ferrari FF rear view

Certainly we must talk design and packaging of this latest Ferrari that has succeeded in surprising everybody. First, just like Porsche and others before it, Ferrari found itself at a point where it needed to create something more “practical” – using the term very loosely, of course. Bringing new blood to the brand was necessary. One measure that reassures as we eye the FF before driving it is the 1.4 inches taller that it stands versus the 612 Scaglietti, while at the same time still remaining 1.5 inches squatter than a Panamera Turbo S. In all other key measures, the FF is almost exactly the same size as the Scaglietti, though the aluminum chassis and every aluminum body panel are all new. So, the FF still sits low down enough to be a sleek two-door supercar worthy of the Ferrari badge.

Marking Ferrari leader Luca Cordero di Montezemolo’s words, there will never be a four-door Ferrari and hence, nary an SUV or crossover. So, also along these lines, the four-honest-seat FF should be as close to such genres as the company ever gets.

2012 Ferrari FF grille2012 Ferrari FF side detail2012 Ferrari FF wheel2012 Ferrari FF taillight

How Ferrari designers have established the taller rear section of the greenhouse is a thing of beauty, with rear-seat head- and leg-room that is copious for anyone up to six-feet, two-inches tall. Luggage space in back ranges from 15.9 cubic feet up to 28.3 cubes with the rear seatbacks simply falling forward and laying flat. Bagged skis and golf bags can also be stored by loading through the center section of the rear seats very comfortably. For many car companies, these facts and figures would be far from miraculous, but the FF is a 208-mph Ferrari with a thoroughly heart-wrenching exhaust symphony that sets it miles apart.

Helping the exterior proportions are the surface treatment and detailing of all the lines of the FF’s sexy rear, as well as the standard 20-inch wheels bookending the long 117.7-inch wheelbase. Whereas we’re still not 100-percent convinced by the headlights of the sensational 458 Italia, the LED light design up front on the FF is just right. Does the FF have too large a mouth? That V12 does need to breathe a lot and stay cool, hence the constant Italian smile.

2012 Ferrari FF rear seats2012 Ferrari FF rear cargo area

Sitting in the multi-adjustable driver’s seat within the first class cabin, before us is an impressive steering wheel that’s clearly inspired by the one gripped on occasional Sundays by Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso. By forgoing all traditional stalks, the now larger column-fixed carbon-fiber shift paddles for the new seven-speed F1 DCT automated manual gearbox sit closer to the backside of the wheel, and thus right at our fingertips like never before. Besides the five-mode GT manettino switch and red Engine Start button, a windshield wiper toggle and the “Schumacher” button for softer suspension while in Sport or ESC Off on the manettino, Ferrari has incorporated the turn-signal controls into the 3-o’clock and 9-o’clock positions for thumbs to activate or deactivate. This seems small as far as features go, but it’s a revelation of functionality. There are also the “Look, Mom, I’m racing!” red LEDs that light up left to right at the top of the wheel as the revs build to the 8,000-rpm redline.

Luckily, we were directed to many a tunnel with perfect acoustics during our drive day, and this obligated us to downshift even when not really necessary, and there were a few occasions when we couldn’t help but pull both paddles to find neutral so that we could then just blip the throttle like rabble rousers. And what a sound from the FF’s four burnished tips! The throttle is so responsive that we could blip out entire songs as we coasted briskly through the heart of many a mountain. There’s nothing anywhere more emotionally evocative as a carefully tuned Ferrari V12 singing in a tunnel.

2012 Ferrari FF interior2012 Ferrari FF interior2012 Ferrari FF gauges2012 Ferrari FF suspension settings

And it’s not just all sound and fury with no substance. The 651 horses and 504 lb-ft of torque work together with all that sweet tech on board to move this 4,147-pound Ferrari as though it weighs about half a ton less than it does. Despite all of the changes, the FF weighs just 13 pounds more than the 612 Scaglietti. Given its added power and torque, acceleration to 62 mph is quoted officially at 3.7 seconds versus the Scaglietti’s 4.0 seconds. We’ll take odds right now on a digitally timed 3.3 seconds to 60 mph as soon as Ferrari lets us do that. Four adults and their bags – moving very quickly.

The Dolomites are a perfect testing area for dynamics and engine characteristics. The A-Number-1 innovation on the FF is the two-ratio gearbox mounted in front of the V12 linked directly to the crankshaft, looking a bit like the motor hung on the front of a Morgan 3-Wheeler when it’s naked. These two ratios in front are what give the FF its lightweight all-wheel drive only when needed. Think about it: Do 99 percent of all-wheel-drive vehicles need to be all-wheel-drive at all times? No, they do not. How often do you need four-wheel drive in gears 5 through 7? Just about never.

2012 Ferrari FF engine

This system is labeled “4RM” – “4 Ruote Motrici” meaning “four driven wheels” – and it is a Maranello in-house patented approach that we know others will be using in the future. First off, it is mechanically much simpler than a traditional all-wheel-drive setup, it weighs half as much and the reactions are silk smooth. There is no center differential needed and no additional shaft is required to pass from the rear axle back up to the front axle. You do not talk of a torque split here. Rather, the seven-speed F1 DCT and E-Diff torque vectoring on the rear axle still run most of the show and they are built to manage up to five times the torque of the front axle. The mechanism on the front of the crankshaft is referred to as a PTU, for power take-off unit or power transfer unit. Take your pick.

Wet clutch packs on the rear transaxle and the front PTU are synchronized by the FF’s sophisticated ECU to make sure all four wheels are doing everything they can at all times to give you the dynamic advantage under all driving conditions. The PTU has one gear that acts on the front wheels while the F1 gearbox is engaged in either first or second gear in back. The PTU’s second gear is used with the F1’s third and fourth gears. There is more slip programmed into the PTU in first or third gear, while less slippage happens when in second or fourth. This variation is to simply maintain proper wheel speeds between front and back at all times while in these more sensitive first four gears. The PTU’s first taller gear is good up to around 60 mph, while the longer-legged second gear can engage up to 125 mph or so before rendering the car a traditional full-time rear-wheel-drive Ferrari fast-lane funfest from fifth through seventh gears.

2012 Ferrari FF driving

We drove plenty of sundrenched dry mountain roads with a plethora of hairpins that would suck the wind out of and overtax the weight-shift characteristics of almost all other cars we know that can compete. We flew over graveled sections of road, hammered the third-generation Brembo CCM ceramic brakes ad infinitum and played a lot with the third-generation Delphi magnetorheological dampers via the manettino switch and Schumacher button. The throttle to the new direct-injected V12 motor knew no rest and the responses were precise. Overtaking a constant flow of delivery trucks and people driving slowly into the mountains for the weekend became an afterthought as the FF’s mid-range enthusiasm imposed itself.

Shifts from the Getrag-Ferrari F1 DCT gearbox are emotional moments, and happen exactly as we hoped they would while staying in Sport mode practically all day long. In full Auto mode with the manettino set at Comfort, this DCT is far more livable than the former Graziano single-clutch race-oriented boxes. Do not let yourself be fooled, though, it’s still manically satisfying to slap the carbon-fiber paddles up and down the scale. The FF’s downshift throttle blips are the stuff of legend.

2012 Ferrari FF driving2012 Ferrari FF driving

In those myriad curves – ascending, descending, flat, and all in abundance – the all-season 20-inch Pirelli P Zero tires – 245/35 ZR20 (95Y) front, 295/35 ZR20 (105Y) rear – were made to look infallible thanks to the 4RM system conducting all negotiations between the PTU in front, E-Diff with F1 DCT in back, and the agile F1 Trac rear axle torque control. Launch Control comes on all FFs and it can be used in all five settings of the manettino this time around. On the dry, just stand on the brake with the left foot, press the Launch button and insert first gear, floor the throttle, which holds at 3500 rpm, and let go of the brake. The F1 tranny then takes over and automates all the shifts at the 8,000-rpm power peak. Sadly, all our testers this day wouldn’t let us try out the LC party – something about cars possibly flying off the narrow mountain roads in unskilled hands and whatnot. We’ll just need to hit the closed track later, we suppose.

The FF also proves itself a capable snow-goer on optional 20-inch Pirelli Sottozero tires. We really see the entire 4RM suite of features at work here and the controlled oversteer drifts are just weird since we’ve never been encouraged to behave this way in a Ferrari. On our testers, there was a Traction Index interface to the left side of the driver’s display that was as addictive to watch as the green graphics in any slow-moving Japanese tree-hugger car. This digital display showed the traction values jogging between the four wheels in real time as we scooted over ice and snow, or over wet or dry pavement. It was fascinating stuff that a Ferrari spokesperson confided will not be offered on production models. Pity, because it was amazing to play with – especially when kicking out tail in empty hairpin sections.

2012 Ferrari FF driving in snow

It’s in exactly those tail-swishing dynamic sections of road where the FF equation all comes together. In our preferred Sport manettino position, feeling the forward PTU help pull us through and out of all hard curves while still letting the rear end swing around was akin to ballet. The FF profits from a typical 47/53 percent fore/aft Ferrari weight distribution and there was no perceivable understeer through whatever curves we were barreling into and screaming out of. It was also here, on dry pavement, that we wanted the feedback of a slightly heavier wheel, just as we’ve come to love on all other Ferrari models – especially the 458 Italia. In the slick stuff on winter tires, this lightness is ideal, but we were looking for it to tighten up a touch on warm, dry asphalt.

Funnily enough, a Ferrari guardian angel/spokesperson (who came to aide us after our left front Michelin Super Sport summer tire found a nail) handed us his backup FF and said in passing, “Try the steering feel on this car.” Later, after having driven this other FF all the way back to base camp, someone informed us that the steering map had been increased by ten percent for this pre-production car as an experiment. It was just the ticket and we hope that this calibration at least gets offered as an option somehow.

2012 Ferrari FF rear 3/4 view

Other than all that, what can we say? Those out there who are so caught out by the non-traditional nature of this amazing Ferrari GT variation are only going to cheat themselves. Maranello has absolutely done it to a tee with the FF. In a sense, the FF is one of those beautiful moments where a company has answered a question that nobody was asking, only for us to drive it and smack our foreheads for not having thought of something like it sooner. It takes all of the racing lore Ferrari puts into each car it builds and adds every single bit of correct versatility that we’d add were we in charge.

The FF’s first year of production is already sold out and annual volume is planned at around 800 units, though Ferrari intends to stay open to making more if and when more are needed. European left-hand-drive FF deliveries start the end of May, worldwide right-hand-drive units ship in July, and North America gets federalized FFs into buyers’ hands in late October.

Just in time for the early snows.

[Source: autoblog]

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Porsche planning Ferrari 458 challenger?

Porsche would like to double its current sales volume, and to do that, the automaker will need to expand its lineup. The Cajun crossover and 918 are still a year or three away, and we’re always hearing talk of a sub-Boxster roadster or even a baby Panamera being in the cards. But what about a new coupe to take on Maranello’s finest?

Autocar claims that such a supercar could be on the way, and it would go toe-to-toe with the Ferrari 458 Italia. The British mag reports that Porsche boss Mathias Muller would like the company to produce another mid-engine offering, adding “we’re thinking above the 911 but below the 918 Spyder.” Muller also says that Porsche already has some designs that still need further development, and that a business case still needs to be made.

If such a Porsche were to find its way to production, it would need plenty of lightweight materials. And since Audi now shares a family tree with Porsche, the new supercar could share the R8’s aluminum space frame chassis. If that doesn’t work, a heavily-modified (and larger) 911 platform would probably do the trick, too.

At any rate, such a super-Porsche appears to be a long way from a production green light, much less a showroom floor. Still, it’s nice to dream, and we don’t mind waking up to a world with one more Porsche from which to choose.

[Source: Autocar | Image: Michael Harley/AOL]

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

SEMA 2010: HRE Wheels homers with the Oakley Design 458 and a Gumpert Apollo

HRE had a trio of cars parked in its booth, one of them being a Ferrari 458 Italia tuned by British aftermarket house Oakely Design. The car was showed off for the first time in June, and in white, and Oakley said it would build just five. The production was upped to the seven, and this one here comes in a hue red rich enough to make Sleeping Beauty want to take another bite.

The carbon fiber lip up front boosts downforce by more than 50 pounds, and the sliver of a rear spoiler adds about 48 more pounds of aero downforce to the rear axle at 150 miles per hour. A carbon fiber roof panel, mirror housings and 20-inch HRE wheels complete the coupe's Jenny Craig makeover, with the rims subtracting 11 pounds at each corner. Performance mods tune the car to 632 horsepower, and a reflashed ECU is meant to make the most of it. Oakley's work is said to reduce the 0-62 mph time to three seconds and top speed is a lofty 208 mph.

Just in front of that was a Gumpert Apollo, rarely seen on the big-rim circuit, wearing a set of single-lug-nut HRE's, and a Porsche GT3 RS with some fire-engine red multi-spokes.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Ferrari crafts a dozen 599 HGTE specials for China

Ferrari 599 HGTE China Limited Edition
It wasn't so long ago that the idea of seeing an exotic Italian sportscar in mainland China was as much an anathema as a Chinese car in America. But the times, as one Mr. Dylan sang, they are a-changin.' Today, China is one of Ferrari's most important markets, where the red Prancing Horse shares the streets with the Red Dragon. To mark that relationship, Ferrari has announced a special edition exclusively for the Chinese market.

Based on the 599 GTB Fiorano with the company's new Handling GTE package, the China Limited Edition has been updated with special touches designed by Chinese artist Lu Hao: the starter button glows jade green, the tachometer features ancient Chinese characters instead of the usual numerals, and the luggage is emblazoned with a map of the Silk Road taken by the famous Italian explorer Marco Polo. The Rosso Fuoco paintjob with the gray roof mimics the 599XX, and only a dozen examples will be made – with over a billion people in the market, we're betting they'll be snapped up fast.

[Source: Ferrari]

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Montezemolo reportedly confirms Ferrari 458 Spider

Ferrari 458 Spider

Ever since the introduction of the 348 Spider back in 1993 and on through the 355 Spider, 360 Spider and F430 Spider – to say nothing of the targa variants that came before – Ferrari has always produced droptop versions of its mid-engine V8 supercars. So it should come as no great surprise that Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has reportedly confirmed the development of a roadster version of the new 458 Italia.

Like its predecessors, the 458 Spider will likely feature a conventional folding soft-top, and you can expect it'll be one of the lightest and quickest to deploy and retract in the business. Still, there was some speculation that Maranello would forgo building a 458 Spider altogether, leaving its sun-worshipping, V8-lovin' clientele to be tended to by the California. But while the affable marquis has been off on some statements in the past, we'll take this one at wind-in-your-face value. Expect the 458 Spider to appear in a couple of years.

[Source: Quattroroute via Euocarblog]

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Ferrari California the latest object of Hamann's tuning affections

Hamann Ferrari California
Hamann Ferrari California
Hamann Ferrari California

Like their ever-tuning counterparts Edo Competition, Hamann Motorsport have got their hands on a 2010 Ferrari California and are working on an aftermarket program for the folding hardtop sportscar. Among the performance parts on the way are new exhaust system and a revised engine management program that the company says yields a 20% gain in horsepower from the 4.3-liter V8.

Until then, California owners can opt for Hamann's aerodynamic kit that makes extensive use of carbon fiber. The complete kit consists of a new hood, front spoiler, side skirts, a three-part rear diffuser, and a small rear wing. Other available components include Hamann's lightweight forged wheels and a range of interior accessories.

[Source: Hamann Motorsport]


Refining super sports cars is more than just business for the company HAMANN Motorsport. Their passion for detail, for something special and unique is the main incentive for extraordinary modifications. The latest stroke of genius once again confirms this. The HAMANN interpretation of the Ferrari California with its exclusive and extensive refining programme does not only make the hearts of real Ferrari fans beat faster.

Most of all, the car body kit proves that HAMANN does not only focus on changing the visual appearance. Apart from design elements such as a bonnet made of carbon fibre, specific modifications at the front, sides and back boost the aerodynamics. Thereby, the front spoiler reduces the lifting forces of the California which significantly improves the handling and agility. Moreover, the unobtrusive side skirt set calms the airflow between both axles. And moreover, a back spoiler increases the contact pressure. Here, the HAMANN engineers agreed on a small wing profile which considerably enhances the car body design. As the combination with the perfectly integrated and three-part rear diffuser renders enough grip for the road. Mainly on country roads with many curves, the HAMANN aerodynamics kit unravels its power and generates pure driving pleasure.

The extra agility and handling gives room for more performance. Also here, HAMANN-Motorsport contributes its know-how. An adjustment for the motor management is in preparation and a sport exhaust system will also be especially engineered for this sports car. This combination will advance the performance of the serial 4.3 litre V8 engine with 460 hp by up 20 percent.

Another technical highlight in the offered tuning programme is the multi-part HAMANN aluminium wheel called EDITION RACE. The black varnished rim star and the titanium bolting of the high-gloss polished rim flange emphasise the racing character. As the wheel is produced in forged technology, it is extremely light. This reduces the unsprung masses which noticeably improves both the acceleration and the braking response. The recommended wheel-tyre combination measures 9.0Jx21 inches with 245/30ZR21 tyres for the front and 12.5Jx21 rims with wheels measuring 345/25ZR21 are fitted at the back. The wheel-tyre combination is perfectly enhanced by the suspension which is used in order to lower the sports car.

Also in the interior, HAMANN has a lot to offer to its customers. In addition to the serially offered interior, HAMANN Motorsport offers an extensive programme, ranging from personalised floor mats to a perfectly finished complete leather interior.

For more information about the widespread HAMANN tuning programme, please visit the web site .

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Frankfurt 2009: Ferrari 458 Italia

Ferrari 458 Italia
Ferrari 458 Italia
Ferrari 458 Italia

Here in the velvet-roped-off Autoblog section of the Frankfurt Motor Show press room, opinions are split over the styling of the new Ferrari 458 Italia. While some of us are enamored of the supercar's svelte shape, others....well let's just say they're more fond of Ferraris of yore. But whatever your take on the design, there's no doubting that this is a seminal debut for the Maranello marque, for whom the new 458 is the first completely new production mid-engine car in a decade.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Officially Official: Fiat confirms Abarth 695 "Tributo Ferrari" for Frankfurt debut

Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari

Still waiting for that baby Ferrari to come along? This may be as close as you'll get. Confirming earlier reports, Fiat's Abarth and Ferrari subsidiaries have gotten together to collaborate on a special 500 to honor Maranello. We first heard about a special Ferrari edition 500 last year when we were in Italy test driving the new Alfa MiTo. But while the previous 500 created for Ferrari was used solely as a courtesy car for Ferrari owners bringing in their cars for service, this new Frankfurt-bound special edition will actually be available for purchase by the general public.

Called the 695 Tributo Ferrari, the special Cinquecento packs a 1.4-liter 16-valve turbo four tuned by Abarth and Ferrari engineers to produce over 180 horsepower, snorting through a variable exhaust system and mated to a paddle-shift automated manual transmission. 17-inch rims crowd the little wheel wells, mounted to a sport-tuned suspension and packing 284mm Brembo brake discs.

The most attention-getting detail, of course, is the paint scheme, decked out in Scuderia Red with Racing Grey stripes to mimick the outgoing 430 Scuderia. All we've got on the interior so far is that Jaeger has been commissioned to make the special instruments and Sabelt provides the bucket seats (probably similar to the ones we reported on recently).

This isn't the first time the Prancing Horse and the Scorpion marques have come together, Fiat pointing to the 1953 Ferrari 166/250 MM Abarth for reference. And whether this proves to be more of a marketing ploy or a serious set of wheels remains to be seen, but it's got to be better than the Michael Schumacher edition Fiat Stilo from a few years ago. For our part, we wouldn't mind pitting this against the upcoming Toyota iQ-based Aston Martin Cygnet to determine who'll be king of the exotic-branded superminis


The Abarth 695 "Tributo Ferrari"

The Abarth 695 "Tributo Ferrari" makes its world debut at Frankfurt. This new performance version of the Abarth 500 confirms the link between Abarth and Ferrari based on shared values that include a passion for performance, a racing soul, attention to detail and Italian style.

Abarth and Ferrari are two great names that have contributed, with conviction and dedication, to the legend of Italian racing that is known around the world. The legendary men behind both marques followed very similar careers: first drivers, then tuners and finally heads of companies that command genuine respect in the world of motor racing. These extraordinary men were associated in the past: in 1953, for example, a unique Ferrari-Abarth was born, the Ferrari 166/250 MM Abarth. The car raced in various international trophies including the legendary Mille Miglia. The tie between the two companies has been reinforced above all by the exhaust systems designed by Abarth specifically for the cars built at Maranello: numerous exhaust systems have been made for various Ferrari models, some of which have won World Championship titles.

The two brands have recently renewed their collaboration. The first result of this was the supply of a limited and numbered series of Abarth 500's to Ferrari's European dealers in recent months for use as "courtesy cars".

Now, attention turns to the new Abarth 695 "Tributo Ferrari", an exclusive vehicle that not only enables Abarth to extend its range by entering into the luxury sports car market, but also offers Ferrari customers a small but exciting small car for all their mobility needs, including practical urban mobility.

The new Abarth 695 "Tributo Ferrari" is distinguished by a number of stylistic changes, but more importantly by substantial modifications developed by Abarth and Ferrari engineers. The engine, for a start, is a 1.4 Turbo T-Jet 16v, tuned to develop over 180 HP. This is combined with an MTA (Manual Transmission Automated) electromechanical gearbox with race-inspired paddle gearshift that makes full use of the engine's performance by reducing gearshift times.

To improve acceleration, the car is fitted with performance tyres on 17'' alloy wheels featuring a design inspired by Ferrari wheels. The suspension and braking systems have also been strengthened to cope with the extra power: 284 mm multi-section discs with fixed four-piston calipers, both by Brembo, and special shock absorbers let you enjoy performance in total safety.

And of course there is a "Record Monza" variable back-pressure "dual mode" exhaust, designed to improve engine performance and deliver an inspiring sound over 3,000 rpm.

On the outside, the car is finished in Scuderia Red, with carbon fibre door mirrors and with details like the wheels and rear air intakes in Racing Grey. This new Abarth is equipped with Xenon headlights with dipped and main beam functions for improved light emission and excellent efficiency under all weather conditions. Made by Magneti Marelli Automotive Lighting, these elements deliver three times the light intensity and duration of standard halogen lamp headlights.
The interiors are also personalised and demonstrate the attention to detail and the sporting style that are common to both brands. "Abarth Corsa by Sabelt" seats are fitted and finished in black leather with a shell and seat base in carbon fibre. These seats offer a perfect blend of racing characteristics – light weight (10 kg less than the standard seat) and the ability hold the body steady against lateral and longitudinal forces, thanks to body support elements filled with crush-resistant foam – with the ergonomics and comfort of road seats.

The black leather steering wheel is characterised by red leather inserts and a tricolour hub on which the MTA gearshift paddles are mounted, while the instrument panel is specially made by Jaeger, and inspired by typical Ferrari instrumentation. Attention to detail has gone into the floor too: the foot wells are covered entirely in non-slip aluminium and the racing pedals are personalised with the Scorpion logo. The interior is embellished with other details too, like special kick plates and a plate bearing the vehicle series number.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Novitec Rosso launches 660 HP Stage 3 kit for Ferrari 599 GTB

Novitec Rosso Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano Stage 3

Everything in moderation. Not exactly the kind of message you'd expect from a firm like Novitec Rosso. The Dutch tuning house made its reputation taking some of the most powerful road rockets known to man and tuning them even further. In the case of the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano – widely acclaimed as one of the best driver's cars on the road – Novitec released a modified version packing twin superchargers for an astounding 808 horsepower last November. But in light of that being perhaps a bit too much machine for even Novitec's speed-crazed clientele, the tuner has now released a somewhat more reserved package for the V12 super-GT.

By tuning the engine management and fitting a new exhaust system, Novitec has squeezed an extra forty horses out of the Prancing Stallion for a total output of 660 horsepower. The exhaust has quad 90mm tips protruding from the rear diffuser and their pitch is controllable from the steering wheel-mounted Manettino switch. The adjustable suspension can be raised from inside the cockpit to clear curbs, and Novitec has fitted three-piece modular wheels – 20 inches up front and 21 in the rear. There's a full custom lighting kit, plus plenty of bespoke options for the interior.

As you can see, Novitec also offers a full range of aerodynamic enhancements, including a new lip spoiler up front, new wing around back and custom rocker panels along the sides, all available either color-keyed or in varnished carbon fiber

[Source: Novitec Rosso]


New from NOVITEC ROSSO for the Ferrari 599 GTB:
An Extra 40 hp, Striking Design and Exclusive Accessories

The Ferrari 599 GTB is the focus of the latest new product developments from NOVITEC ROSSO, the worldwide leader in customizing the great cars from Maranello. The new developments include a performance kit that increases power output of the V12 engine by 40 hp / 29.4 kW, a striking and aerodynamically efficient design program and numerous exclusive accessories.

In addition to the familiar twin compressor engines with up to 808 hp / 594 kW NOVITEC ROSSO now also offers classic engine tuning for the six-liter twelve-cylinder four-valve engine. The Performance Stage 3, starting at 10,490 Euros, increases power output from standard 620 hp / 456.3 kW to 660 hp / 485.7 kW without any alterations to the engine's inner workings.

The conversion consists of new engine electronics and a complete NOVITEC ROSSO stainless-steel high-performance exhaust system. The new engine management system comprises new mapping for ignition and injection as well as increase in maximum engine speed to 8,550 rpm.

The NOVITEC ROSSO sport exhaust system features four tailpipes with diameters of 90 millimeters and is available in two different versions. In addition to a conventional version there is also a system with controllable exhaust flap. Using the little 'Manettino' switch on the steering wheel, the driver can change the exhaust note from sporty subdued to bona fide racing sound.

After the conversion throttle response of the V12 engine is even crisper with further improved driving performance. The higher redline speed increases top speed by five km/h to 335 km/h.

For even faster and more precise shifting of the six speeds of the 599 GTB's F1-Superfast transmission NOVITEC ROSSO offers longer carbon-fiber shift paddles.

Even better looks and better aerodynamic efficiency: These are the attributes of the NOVITEC ROSSO body components, which received their finishing touches in the wind tunnel. The front spoiler lip for the production bumper gives the 599 GTB an even more aggressive expression and reduces lift on the front axle. For a perfect aerodynamic balance the rear of the car is upgraded by NOVITEC ROSSO with a new rear wing and diffuser.

New rocker panels with large air dams give the coupe a more muscular stance.

All NOVITEC ROSSO aerodynamic components are also available in clear-coated carbon fiber.

Further innovative NOVITEC ROSSO exterior accessories are black taillights, side markers and auxiliary brake light as well as the new LED rear fog lights.

Three-piece NOVITEC ROSSO NF3 wheels are important components in the spectacular appearance of the customized 599 GTB. They are available in a number of different color combinations. The double-spoke wheels exceed the size of the production wheels by one inch on front and rear axle, and are fitted with Pirelli high-performance tires. The front axle features size 9Jx20 wheels with size 275/30 ZR 20 tires. On the rear axle size 12.5Jx21 wheels with tires in size 355/25 ZR 21 make full use of the available space under the wheel arches.

The NOVITEC ROSSO sport suspension allows both ride height and damper rates to be set according to each customer's individual preferences. But that's not all: By pushing a button in the cockpit the front of the car can be raised by 40 millimeters to safely navigate parking-garage ramps or speed bumps. Upon reaching a speed of 80 km/h the front of the car automatically reverts to its original position.

NOVITEC ROSSO offers a multitude of individual options for the interior of the two-seater sports car. The product lineup includes a leather/carbon-fiber sport steering wheel with flattened bottom for easier entering and exiting of the vehicle, aluminum foot pedals and foot rest. Additional customization requests can be fulfilled with custom-altered seats tailored to the individual owner and with leather and Alcantara interiors perfect down to the last detail.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Ferrari 458 Italia: Maranello releases more details

Ferrari 458 Italia
Ferrari 458 Italia
Ferrari 458 Italia

The Frankfurt Motor Show is fast approaching, but rather than hit the brakes as they would for an approaching corner, Ferrari is pulling out all the stops. In gearing up to unveil their new 458 Italia at the show next month, Ferrari is giving us a little more each week. We've already seen the first batch of shots, downloaded the ringtone and heard the company's brand and technical directors talk about the car; now Maranello has released an additional video of Paolo Pininfarina of the eponymous design studio talk about the car's styling, and with it released a new batch of interior, motion and studio shots.

Always eager to adopt lessons learned on the grand prix circuit into its road cars, Ferrari has further centralized the controls onto the Italia's steering wheel. What we'd usually find on column-mounted control stocks has apparently all been moved to the steering wheel's fascia, including the turn indicators, headlamps and windscreen wipers – in addition to the chassis setting switch and ignition button, while redundant stereo controls move to the back of the wheel ahead of the even larger shift paddles.

There's also a new Vehicle Dynamic Assistance system to monitor operating temperatures and tolerances of the engine, gearbox, brakes and tires and alerts the driver to whether the car is warming up, overheated or ready to go. Check out the images in the gallery below and read all about it in the press release after the jump – which is where you'll also find the video interview. Oh, and don't forget to stay tuned for the next segment, as Ferrari says it will include an interview with Michael Schumacher!

[Source: Ferrari]


More news on the Ferrari 458 Italia on new photos and interview now on the site in the run-up to the Frankfurt Show

Maranello, 27 August 2009 – In the run-up to the official unveiling of the Ferrari 458 Italia at the Frankfurt Motor Show on the 15th of September, enthusiasts can find out more about the car on There they will find the first photographs of the 458 Italia's interior and of the steering wheel and instrument binnacle which represent a significant step forward in the concept of the ergonomic interface between driver and car.

In fact the main commands are now grouped on the steering wheel, the secondary commands are handily set in two satellite pods either side of the dash and there are now comprehensive instrument displays on the panel ahead of the driver. These solutions represent an important safety aspect, enabling the driver to concentrate fully on driving. Similarly this layout ensures maximum control of the car in highperformance driving, an uncompromising approach that derives directly from Ferrari's F1 experience.

Working closely with the Ferrari Styling Centre, the engineers have thus reinterpreted the positioning of the major commands to provide a truly driver-oriented cockpit. All steering-column mounted stalks have been eliminated, with the indicators, full beam, flash and windscreen wiper functions now being activated by buttons on the steering wheel boss. The button to select the shock absorber setting is now positioned next to the 'Engine start' button where it falls readily to hand. Behind the wheel are a number of secondary functions, such as the stereo, while the gearbox paddles are now longer making shifts even easier from any steering angle.

The right-hand satellite pod on the dash incorporates controls for the infotainment, the Bluetooth connection, sat-nav, digital speedo and rear parking camera. Clustered on the left-hand satellite pod instead are the optional cruise control, buttons for choosing the video setting of the left-hand dash TFT screen and the on-board computer interface. The latter controls the trip computer, the Vehicle Dynamic Assistance and the display of the car's set-up.

The Vehicle Dynamic Assistance monitors the operating parameters of the most important areas of the car - engine/gearbox, tyres and brakes. The VDA is enabled in the following manettino settings – Race, CT off and CST off – and provides visual confirmation of the status of each component based on an algorithm from parameters reading lateral and longitudinal acceleration, revs and speed. This enables the driver to assess the ideal operating conditions for the car. There are three status settings: WARM-UP (operating temperature too low), GO (ideal operating conditions) and OVER (one or more components are no longer at their optimum level and need cooling).

Along with the photos now on-line, the Ferrari site also includes an exclusive videointerview with Paolo Pininfarina, Chairman of Pininfarina S.p.A., who provides indepth insight into the 458 Italia's design philosophy and exterior styling. The next release on will include an analysis of the car's performance characteristics with an interview with seven-times F1 World Champion Michael Schumacher.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Officially Official: Schumacher not coming back after all - driving is a pain in the neck

Schumacher not coming back after all - driving is a pain in the neck

Ferrari was in with a bang, now it looks like the scarlet racers will be out with soggy whimpers: Michael Schumacher has canceled his F1 return due to lingering pain in his neck from a motorcycle accident earlier this year.

Schumacher has been testing in Ferrari's 2007 car at the company's private track in Mugello. After the first test, though, he found that the mere strain of driving aggravated the injuries from a crash he suffered in February while motorcycle testing at a track in Spain. At the time, although he went to the hospital, it was thought that everything was fine. Eventually fractures in his neck were discovered, and that is what is causing the problem now.

After laying its hopes on the 7-time world champion, Ferrari now chooses among its reserve drivers to pilot one of their cars in Valencia in 48 hours: Marc Gene or Luca Badoer – Gene's last F1 race drive was the 2004 British Grand Prix, while Badoer hasn't turned an F1 wheel on race day since 1999, at the European Grand Prix. This morning Ferrari head Luca di Montezemolo chose 38-year-old Badoer for the role.

[Source: F1 Live | racing-f1 ]

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Ferrari 458 Italia Spyder rendered

Ferrari 458 Italia Spyder

Now that the Ferrari 458 Italia has been let loose to glare at the world, it is only a matter of time before it's followed by a 458 Italia Spyder sibling. While we wait for Ferrari to provide us images of that car, computer rendering artist Jon Sibal has gone ahead and created his version of the newest droptop stallion.

It will be interesting to see how Ferrari intends to fit all of that roof into the severely tapering rear end. If they can keep it looking like the car above, then they'll have worked magic on this car twice.

[Source: Jon Sibal via Sub5Zero]

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Schumacher to return to Ferrari F1 for remainder of season

Michael Schumacher

Yesterday's rumors have been confirmed: Michael Schumacher will take Felipe Massa's place for the remainder of the 2009 Formula One season.

A Ferrari spokesperson said Schumi's return hinges on the seven-time F1 champion's ability to pass the FIA's physical (we doubt that'll be a problem) and he'll be back in full-force on August 23 at the European Grand Prix in Valencia.

Schumacher has been under the employ of Ferrari as an advisor to the team since his retirement in 2006, and although Massa is reportedly well on his way to recovering after sustaining a serious head injury at last weekend's race, Schumacher will take his place for the remaining seven races of the 2009 season.

[Source: BBC Sport]

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Officially Official: Ferrari 458 Italia announced!

Ferrari 458 Italia
Ferrari 458 Italia
Ferrari 458 Italia
Ferrari 458 Italia
Ferrari 458 Italia

After months of speculation and spy shots, Maranello has finally revealed the mid-engined V8 replacement for the Ferrari F430. The all-new Ferrari 458 Italia won't be shown in public until September's Frankfurt Motor Show, but the official details were released early this morning. A new direct-injected 4.5-liter V8 ups the ante underhood, pumping out 562 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque. The redline? A screaming 9,000 rpm. Eighty percent of the F458 Italia's torque is now available at a low 3,250 rpm, thanks in all likelihood to the new engine's 12.5:1 compression ratio.

As with last year's California, the Ferrari 458 gets a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox that directs power to the rear axle. Much has been done to reduce internal friction within the new V8, in addition aerodynamic drag improvements. As a result, the Ferrari 458 Italia's gas mileage improves to a combined 17.1 mpg (US) on the EU test cycle. As this is a Ferrari, talk of fuel consumption really does seem somewhat pointless, anyway. No mention of incorporating any type of KERS hybrid system has been made thus far. The KERS idea, you'll remember, had taken several spins around the rumormill over the last year or so; maybe that'll materialize at a later date.

Like its predecessor, the Ferrari 458 Italia's aluminum structure helps keep weight under control -- it tips the scales at just 3,042 pounds dry. So, we know you're wondering: How quick is it? Based on specs at least, this new coupe does't disappoint. Acceleration to 100 km/h (62 mph) takes just 3.4 seconds, and this will be the first volume production Ferrari V8 to top the 200 mph barrier, with a top whack of 202 mph. Is it still too early to head to the airport for our flight to Frankfurt in September?

[Source: Ferrari]

ITALIA - Ferrari's innovative new V8

The 458 Italia is the latest incarnation of the mid-rear engined berlinetta and will be unveiled at the next Frankfurt Motor Show

Maranello, July 28th 2009 – While it's true that every Ferrari is innovative by definition, it's equally true that in the course of the Prancing Horse's history, certain cars have marked a genuine departure from the current range. This is very much the case with the Ferrari 458 Italia, which is a massive leap forward from the company's previous mid-rear engined sports cars.

The new model is a synthesis of style, creative flair, passion and cutting-edge technology, characteristics for which Italy as a nation is well-known. For this reason Ferrari chose to add the name of its homeland to the traditional figure representing the displacement and number of cylinders.

The Ferrari 458 Italia is a completely new car from every point of view: engine, design, aerodynamics, handling, instrumentation and ergonomics, just to name a few.

A two-seater berlinetta, the Ferrari 458 Italia, as is now traditional for all Ferrari's road-going cars, benefits hugely from the company's Formula 1 experience. This is particularly evident in the speed and precision with which the car responds to driver inputs and in the attention focused on reducing internal friction in the engine for lower fuel consumption than the F430, despite the fact that both overall displacement and power have increased. However, Ferrari's track experience makes its presence felt in the 458 Italia not only in terms of pure technological transfer but also on a more emotional level, because of the strong emphasis on creating an almost symbiotic relationship between driver and car. The 458 Italia features an innovative driving environment with a new kind of steering wheel and dashboard that is the direct result of racing practice. Once again input from Michael Schumacher - who was involved from the very start of the 458 Italia project - played an invaluable part.

The Ferrari 458 Italia's Pininfarina design provides further evidence of the complete departure from the past that this new car hails. The Ferrari 458 Italia has a compact, aerodynamic shape, underscoring the concepts of simplicity, efficiency and lightness that inspired the project. As with every Ferrari, the car's styling has been very heavily influenced by the requirements for aerodynamic efficiency, as can be seen from the downforce of 140 kg at 200km/h generated by the new model. The front features a single opening for the front grille and side air intakes, with aerodynamic sections and profiles designed to direct air to the coolant radiators and the new flat underbody. The nose also sports small aeroelastic winglets which generate downforce and, as speed rises, deform to reduce the section of the radiator inlets and cut drag.

The new 4499 cc V8 is the first Ferrari direct injection engine to be mid-rear mounted. It has a very low piston compression height typical of racing engines which contributed to achieving its compression ratio of 12.5:1. Equipped with the traditional flat-plane crankshaft, the engine delivers 570 CV at 9000 rpm and, with an outstanding power output of 127 CV/litre, sets a new benchmark not only for the whole Ferrari range and the history of company, but also for the entire market segment. Maximum torque is 540 Nm at 6000 rpm, over 80 per cent of which is available from 3250 rpm. Specific torque is a record 120 Nm/litre. However, what is truly extraordinary is the amount of torque available while still maintaining high levels of power at low revs.

The car's soundtrack is also typical Ferrari, with an exciting, powerful growl emerging from the engine before it channels through to the exhaust's three rear tailpipes.

The 458 Italia is equipped with the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission which increases performance whilst providing very smooth shifts even at full throttle. The engineers have developed specific, sportier gear ratios to match the power and torque curves of the new V8, guaranteeing high torque even at lower engine speeds and allowing the car to reach its maximum speed in top gear.

This new Ferrari is also a major leap forward when it comes to cutting emissions. Despite the fact that the new engine is significantly more powerful than the V8s that preceded it, the Ferrari 458 Italia produces just 320 g/km of CO2 and fuel consumption is 13.7 l/100 km (combined cycle), the best in the entire segment.

The engineers also focused on weight reduction during the design phase for similar reasons. Consequently, the Ferrari 458 Italia has a dry weight of 1380 kg with a power-to-weight ratio of 2.42 kg/CV. Weight distribution is also optimal with 58 per cent over the rear axle. The result of the engineers' endeavours can be summed up in to two simple statistics which together perfectly encapsulate the Ferrari 458 Italia's exceptional performance: 0-100 km/h acceleration in under 3.4 seconds and a maximum speed in excess of 325 km/h.

For the new chassis, once more in aluminium, Maranello's engineers incorporated various types of advanced alloys along with aerospace industry-derived manufacturing and bonding techniques.

With regard to vehicle dynamics, the Ferrari 458 Italia's suspension features twin wishbones at the front and a multi-link set-up at the rear tuned for maximum roadholding and superlative handling. Along with a more direct steering ratio, the 458 Italia thus offers extremely rapid turn-in and body control whilst maintaining superior ride comfort.

The integration of the E-Diff and F1-Trac (now controlled by the same ECU) and their respective mappings is even greater, resulting in a 32 per cent increase in longitudinal acceleration out of corners compared to previous models. The evolution of the control logic, with even faster and more accurate calculation of levels of grip, ensures even greater roadholding, better handling and ease of control on the limit.

The same ECU also governs the high-performance ABS, providing even more precise control over the logic threshold and greater efficiency. The brakes also feature a prefill function whereby the pistons in the callipers move the pads into contact with the discs on lift off to minimise delay in the brakes being applied. This combined with the ABS has cut the 100-0 km/h braking distance to a mere 32.5 metres.

The Ferrari 458 Italia's interior is another area of the car that exalts its sporty personality. The driver is welcomed by a new layout and a revolutionary ergonomic interface where the main controls are all clustered on the steering wheel.

With the Ferrari 458 Italia, Maranello has brought a highly distinctive new car to its 8-cylinder range. The company now offers two models that share a common, race-derived DNA, both exceptionally sporty and fun to drive in true Ferrari tradition, but aimed at two very different kinds of client. While the Ferrari California was created for owners requiring a more versatile sports car with a practical edge, the 458 Italia is designed for owners for whom the priority is uncompromising on-road performance with occasional track day capability, but who still demand a car that is useable in day-to-day driving like all Ferrari's recent models.

Ferrari 458 Italia – Technical specifications


Length 4527 mm (178.2 in.)

Width 1937 mm (76.3 in.)

Height 1213 mm (47.8 in.)

Wheelbase 2650 mm (104.3 in.)

Dry weight 1380 kg (3042 lbs)*

Weight/power ratio 2,42 kg/CV (7.16 lbs/kW)

Weight distribution fr/r 42%/58%


Type V8 – 90°

Displacement 4499 cc (274.5 cu in.)

Maximum power 570 CV (425 kW)** @ 9000 rpm

Maximum torque 540 Nm (398 lbs/ft) @ 6000 rpm

Specific power output 127 CV/l

Compression ratio 12.5:1


Front 235/35 ZR20 8.5"

Rear 295/35 ZR20 10.5"


Maximum speed >325 km/h (>202 mph)

0-100 km/h

Fuel consumption + emissions

Fuel consumption*** 13.7 l/100 km

Emissions*** 320 g CO2/km


Dual-clutch, 7-speed F1


E-Diff3, F1-Trac, high-performance ABS

* With forged wheels and Racing seats

** Including 5 CV of ram effect

*** Combined cycle (ECE+EUDC)