Ferrari FF Unveiled

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Do you ever find yourself wishing you could drive your Ferrari off-road, or over an unplowed, snow-covered street?  Or by chance, would you love to leave that sluggish SUV at home during your next local ski trip, and show up to the chairlift in a Prancing Horse?  Granted, these are narrow circumstances that likely match the agenda of a select few, but if these concerns happen to apply to you then Ferrari has just unveiled your perfect car.

Revealed in a calculated press leak that prefaced its upcoming physical debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March, Ferrari’s new FF hit the internet last Friday to typically fervent media buzz.  The FF, which stands for Ferrari Four, is the first car from Maranello to feature the company’s new internally designed and patented all-wheel drive system, dubbed 4RM.  Ferrari claims the proprietary system is 50% lighter than conventional 4-wheel drive architectures, a factor that helps maintain the FF’s near-perfect weight distribution (47% front, 53% rear).  In addition to the new drive system, the FF features a brand new 6,262 cc direct injection V-12, a frontally located motor that develops an explosive 651 horsepower and 503 lb-ft of torque.  Ferrari states these figures will translate to launch times of 3.7 seconds from 0 – 62 mph, as well as a top speed of 208 mph.

Mind you, Ferrari has a rich history of producing so-called grand touring cars, which traditionally offer sporty performance yet are capable of seating four passengers comfortably enough for long range drives.  The current 612 Scaglietti and the 456 GT Maranello of the mid-90s are two of the more recent illustrations of successfully executed Ferrari GT cars.  But a 4-wheel drive automobile that looks as much like a squashed hatchback as a purposeful performer?  That’s a new one for the Prancing Horse, and one that seems to suggest that the sales windfall of Porsche’s Panamera and Audi’s all-wheel drive cars has not gone unnoticed by Maranello’s brain trust.

Though the FF only wears 2-doors and can ostensibly be passed off as the latest installment in the Ferrari GT car lore, the somewhat bulbous rear end is more than reminiscent of recent efforts by Porsche and Aston Martin to blur the lines between zippy two-door sports cars and comfortable family cruisers.  If pictures are to be believed, then the FF is certainly leaner and meaner looking than the Panamera or Rapide (which both have four doors), but it similarly struggles to aesthetically reconcile an aggressive front end with rear cargo capacity, the latter of which clearly influenced its design brief.

No word yet on pricing, but considering that Ferrari’s other volume-produced V-12 car, the 599 GTB, goes for over $310,000 and that the FF offers a host of technological updates, it would be reasonable to anticipate an MSRP in excess of $325,000.  Expect the FF to hit American showrooms sometime in the later part of this year, and despite the car’s curious appearance, be prepared for yet another Ferrari wait list.

Disguised in concealing wraps, an FF test mule (below) navigates snow-covered Scandinavian roads in a challenge of its foul-weather capabilities.  With its rear seats folded down, the car can accommodate storage for skis, allowing for stylish transport to your local chairlift.

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