I always found the Ferrari FF (and the GTC4Lusso, for that matter) extremely interesting cars, but I never experienced either. That changed last Sunday.
Photography: Max Lammers Ferrari introduced the FF as the successor to the 612 Scaglietti at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. There were two major differences, namely its four-wheel drive system and its bodywork. The FF was Ferrari’s first production shooting-brake, whereas the 612 was a traditional grand tourer. At the time, the FF was the world’s fastest four-seat car with a top speed of 335 kph (208 mph). The four-wheel drive is an ingenious system which distributes most power to the rear wheels, and it only becomes a true four-wheel drive car in certain situations.
The FerrariOwnersClubNL hosted their annual ‘Lenterit’ and Stradale Vintage Cars invited me to join them on this drive. They picked me up from the train station and we drove off to the starting point in Leusden. I’m a pretty tall guy, and I was given the task of navigating during the drive, so I sat in the front. The sound of the 6.3-L V12 is extremely refined, more so compared to the V12 grand tourers such as the F12berlinetta and 599 GTB. Stradale’s FF is finished in a beautiful Rosso Maranello which must be fully appreciated in direct sunlight. Thanks to the smart four-wheel drive system, the car handles more like a rear-wheel drive. Once you accelerate, the on-board computer regulates the power coming from the engine and distributes it as need between the front and back wheels.
We arrived at the meeting point, where we were accompanied by over 50 other exotic cars, primarily ones with Cavallino badges. To name a few: Challenge Stradale, 599 GTB, 458 Italia, and 348 TB. Enzo’s famous quote came to mind numerious times: “People dream of owning this special vehicle, and for most people it will remain a dream apart from those lucky few.” Everyone was so happy to be there, show their cars and talk about their shared passion.
The perfect Ferrari?
After a delicious sandwich and intro speech from the club’s president, we jumped in our cars to start the drive. Hearing all those 8 and 12-cylinders is much more thrilling than any concert hall I’ve been to. Once underway, we joined a small group of cars on the highway, including an extremely loud Challenge Stradale, but we eventually left the highway for smaller roads. The Ferrari FF is a pretty big car, but because of its ground clearance, you can easily drive onto the bank of a country road to let traffic pass.
We arrived at our next stop, a beach club close to Biddinghuizen. Some more cars joined the group, including a yellow 430 Scuderia and after a cup of coffee, we left for our final destination. I was really surprised by how comfortable the FF was. I expected some level of comfort, but I think I could easily fall asleep during a road trip. Compared to louder Ferraris I’ve spent time in, such as the F430 Spider and F12berlinetta, the FF’s sound-proofing is insanely good. When cruising at 130 kph in seventh gear, the V12 is as quiet as a mouse. We finally arrived at MG Exclusive Car Detailing and everyone parked along the front before heading inside to enjoy some food.
Compared to Ferrari’s range of ‘regular’ models, the FF is in its own category. The car is very usable, comfortable and there’s enough space in the back for – basically – anyone. The possibility of comfortably driving this car to the South of France and back, and then being able to thrash it around a track with a flip of the Manettino switch amazes me. The only downside I found was that the infotainment system is a bit dated, so I can’t wait to get into a GTC4Lusso to see how Ferrari improved it. Thanks to the guys at Stradale Vintage Cars for the seat and to FerrariOwnersClubNL for the hospitality. I truly enjoyed this event!