Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ferrari ff

Ferrari ff
We’re always impressed when a manufacturer can keep a secret. And Ferrari’s managed to keep a big one—the FF, a car we’ve seen disguised in spy photos for the past year and assumed was a new version of the 2+2 612 Scaglietti. Thankfully, FF does not stand for “front-engine, front-wheel drive.” Rather, it stands for “four seats, four-wheel drive.”

The new FF is powered by a 6.3-liter direct injected V-12 that sends about 650 bhp (at 8000 rpm) to all four wheels via Ferrari’s 4RM all-wheel-drive technology. More intriguing, this is the first production Ferrari with a Pininfarina-designed 3-door body style. Although the ugly black cladding of the prototype hid a station wagon/shooting brake design, the FF is more of a conventional hatch with 15.9 cu ft of storage space. With rear seats folded flat, that expands to 28.3 cu ft. Is the new FF the most practical Ferrari ever? Maybe.
Back in 1988, an aluminum-intensive prototype Ferrari, the 408, featured all-wheel drive; it was actually the Road & Track cover car from our December 1988 issue. It’s uncanny how similar it was in style to the Acura NSX, the aluminum supercar that came out a year later. For whatever reason, the only bit of technology that seemed to carry forward from the 408 prototype was its aluminum structure—that was until now at least.
In typical Ferrari fashion, the FF will include technology gleaned from its other models. It will feature the latest carbon ceramic brakes, magnetorheological dampers, a dual-clutch transmission and the HELE (high emotion-low emission) start-stop technology borrowed from the California. There’s no talk of a hybrid FF, but we expect this Ferrari technology—first unveiled at Geneva last year—to appear soon. HELE has elements of it—its smart electronics focus on fuel conservation by economically managing electric motors and pumps that drive various systems such as the air conditioning, steering assist, fans and pumps. It’s similar to what’s employed with today’s microhybrids. Ferrari claims a 23 percent reduction in emissions during urban driving, which sounds a bit optimistic.

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