Weekend with a Ferrari FF

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Not too long ago I spent a weekend together with a Ferrari FF. This is one Ferrari that definitely looks much better in the “metal” than the initial press photos and the silver that this one was finished in suited the lines quite nicely. First impressions from the command seat were very positive. Surveying the world from the driver’s seat is more of a “Master of Industry: type feeling than a 458 “Weekend Racer” impression. Everything is well laid out with all the key controls within easy reach. Weighting on both the paddles “pull” and steering is very good. The front bonnet reminds me a bit of the Daytona where you sit well back in the chassis, much closer to the rear wheels than the front. In fact a lot about the FF is what I would imagine you would have if you created a modern 4 wd 2+2 Daytona. Once the started button was punched, the engine spins immediately up, and after a few minutes to let it all warm up, off we went. Like any new car, the first 20 minutes on the road were an exercise in getting to know each other. Initial the FF is a big car that feels like a big car. Once you begin getting used to the way it moves, it all starts to shrink around you. The engine is outstanding, put your foot down, tug the paddle, and it responses with vigor. Lots and lots of grunt, and it moves the car forward very smartly and effortlessly. Brakes are as impressive as the engine and inspire great confidence. After 30 minutes in the driver’s seat, I am sure this is a Ferrari you could drive every day, everywhere, in all conditions.

On day two with the FF, we put well over 100 miles on the big Ferrari. Started off with a bit of urban driving. Visibility all around is excellent. The FF handled stop and go traffic, low speed crawling, and some impressive inclines, with no drama. The auto feature on the gearbox really turns the FF into an easy car to live with in city traffic. The dual clutch gearbox is so smooth you don’t notice the changes driving around town. The climate control system is simple to set and effective. Set a temperature, hit auto and the system keeps the interior of the car right on it. The steering wheel mounted turn signals do take a while to get used to but once you do, they are easy to use. Putting them on the steering wheel is quite logical and allows you to keep your hands on the wheel.  Back out into the countryside, we found a long loop of nice driving roads. First part of the triangle was very twisty with lots of elevation changes. Road was open enough with decent visibility to run it all in 3rd and 4th gear. You can carry a lot more speed around a corner than what your brain initially tells you. Brakes are better than they probably need to be. Lean on them hard and it’s like hitting a wall. The second part of the triangle was more straight open road, more traffic, but multiple good overtaking spots. In the FF, you almost go hunting for overtaking opportunities. With the big V12, closing on the car in front is easy. Drop a cog, swing out, give it a bit of right foot, and then pull back left a couple of seconds later. Smile.  Overall, the FF is a beautifully engineered car. Build quality is excellent, the four wheel drive system outstanding and unobtrusive. The brakes leave a major positive impression. The chassis is excellent and it simply does not roll or flex. Only minor negative is the steering is a bit to light but it does go right where you point it. As a place to be for a long period of time, the FF ticks all the boxes. Easy to imagine driving from New York to Chicago in a day in the FF.

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