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Ferrari FF (2011) at 2011 Geneva motor show

Fri, 04 Feb 2011

This, believe it or not, is the new Ferrari FF – it’s the Prancing Horse’s replacement for the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti. FF stands for Ferrari Four, to designate that this new GT features both four seats and Ferrari’s first ever four-wheel drive system.

Why has Ferrari built this car? Like the California it’s designed to be more usable than Ferraris of old, and more appealing to new customers that wouldn’t have otherwise considered a car from the Prancing Horse. Prices have yet to be announced, but you'll need at least £220k if you want a Ferrari FF in your multi-car garage later this year.

Dubbed 4RM, the Ferrari FF features the Italian sports car company’s first ever four-wheel drive system. Few details have so far been released on the patented set-up – which is said to weigh 50% less than a conventional four-wheel drive system – but Ferrari claims it manages ‘continuous and intelligent predictive torque distribution to all four wheels’. The low weight also helps weight distribution, while the advantages of four driven wheels aids traction and acceleration – the Ferrari FF will hit 62mph in 3.7 seconds.

How come? Thank the four-wheel drive system, plus sophisticated electronics, a transaxle dual-clutch gearbox, and the whopping great big direct-injection 6.3-litre V12. The brand new 6262cc engine produces 651bhp at 8000rpm (that’s just 10bhp down on the 599 GTO) and 504lb ft at 6000rpm. Combine with the 1790kg (dry) weight and you get a power-to-weight ratio of 364bhp/tonne. The top speed is 209mph. It'll leave the 540bhp/434lb ft Scaglietti standing.

Click on the play button below to hear the Ferrari FF perform a standing start (exterior)

Click on the play button below to hear the Ferrari FF perform a standing start (interior)

The new Ferrari FF features the company’s HELE (High Emotion, Low Emission) technology, including a stop/start system. Figures of 18.3mpg and 360g/km CO2 aren’t going to please Greenpeace, but they're big improvements on the 612's 13.8mpg and 470g/km.

Despite the big engine in the nose the weight distribution is 47:53 front-rear. Combined with sophisticated electronics, the 4RM four-wheel drive system, the latest Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes, and the most recent iteration of Ferrari’s magnetorheological damping, the FF should be great to drive.

The Ferrari FF is 4907mm long, 1953mm wide and 1374mm tall. There’s no obvious competitor we can think of, but a 612 Scaglietti is 4902/1957/1344mm and Aston Martin’s Rapide is 5019/1929/1360. There are four seats and a 450-litre boot (which expands to 800 litres with the rear seats folded) and Ferrari claims ‘the best cabin space and boot capacity figures in its category, including four-door cars’. The interior is a mix of California and 458; the sat-nav is set in the centre of the dash so the older customers that will buy the FF needn't fiddly with a tiny, offset 458-style screen, but there's also the 458's VDA system to let you know when everything is up to temperature before you thrash the car, and when you've cooked everything.

The Pininfarina-penned lines mix California flanks with a taller interpretation of the 458’s nose (there’s a big V12 hiding under there, remember), and a hatchback rear with Ferrari’s traditional lights and quad exhausts. We could describe it in more detail, but we’ll let you begin the debate about the looks…

By Ben Pulman