The Truth About Cars » Ferrari http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 30 Oct 2014 19:41:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Ferrari http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/reviews/ferrari/ FCA Spinning Ferrari Off From Parent Company By 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/fca-spinning-ferrari-parent-company-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/fca-spinning-ferrari-parent-company-2015/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 20:19:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=938057 By this time next year, Ferrari will no longer be a part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, thanks to a plan announced today that will spin the exotic brand off from the rest of the Italo-American automaker. Bloomberg reports FCA will sell 10 percent of its stake to the public, giving the remaining 90 percent to […]

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By this time next year, Ferrari will no longer be a part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, thanks to a plan announced today that will spin the exotic brand off from the rest of the Italo-American automaker.

Bloomberg reports FCA will sell 10 percent of its stake to the public, giving the remaining 90 percent to the automaker’s own shareholders. The shares will be listed in the United States stock market, with Europe possibly receiving some of those shares, as well.

According to Morningstar analyst Richard Hilgert, the split “unlocks the value” in the Ferrari brand, which could be worth as much as $7.4 billion. He adds that the move helps pull Ferrari out of the shadow of FCA, citing “the street’s perception of low profitability to no profitability” regarding the automaker’s market performance.

Speaking of performance, FCA stock climbed to $11.56 Wednesday after opening at $11.31, falling to $10.85 at the closing bell. Ferrari stock, meanwhile, would go for $5.90/share for FCA shareholders.

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Paris 2014: Ferrari 458 Speciale A Unveiled http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/paris-2014-ferrari-458-speciale-unveiled/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/paris-2014-ferrari-458-speciale-unveiled/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 21:30:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=925241 Prefer your Ferrari 458 Speciale to allow the wind to rush through your hair? Then the 458 Speciale A is for you. Behind your head is the same naturally aspirated V8 as the closed-cockpit model, delivering 605 stallions and 398 lb-ft of torque tightly controlled by the Speciale’s SCC traction control system. Over your head […]

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Prefer your Ferrari 458 Speciale to allow the wind to rush through your hair? Then the 458 Speciale A is for you.

Behind your head is the same naturally aspirated V8 as the closed-cockpit model, delivering 605 stallions and 398 lb-ft of torque tightly controlled by the Speciale’s SCC traction control system.

Over your head is an aluminum roof that folds away when not needed, adding only 110 pounds to the total curb weight of 3,310 pounds. Ferrari claims this won’t affect the convertible’s nil to 60 run of 3 seconds, adding the Speciale A is the automaker’s most aero-advanced convertible ever.

Like the Speciale, the Speciale A is track-ready, from the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup2 tires, to the Formula One-inspired gear awaiting the driver inside.

Alas, should you desire this one, only 499 will be assembled. Of course, if you’re on the list, you more than likely already got yours.

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Ferrari’s Annual Output To Increase Under Marchionne http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ferraris-annual-output-increase-marchionne/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ferraris-annual-output-increase-marchionne/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 12:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=911081 With the departure of Luca Cordero di Montezemolo from Ferrari, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne will become the premium brand’s chair next month, with the first order of business being to increase output to satisfy more demand. Bloomberg reports Marchionne will gradually increase annual output from 7,000 to a potential 10,000 units, proclaiming that […]

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With the departure of Luca Cordero di Montezemolo from Ferrari, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne will become the premium brand’s chair next month, with the first order of business being to increase output to satisfy more demand.

Bloomberg reports Marchionne will gradually increase annual output from 7,000 to a potential 10,000 units, proclaiming that by doing so, they would be able to match pace with the desires of Ferrari’s customer base, lest its waiting list grows too long “and people get tired.” For this year, deliveries are expected to rise 5 percent.

On the same day Marchionne becomes Ferrari’s new chair, FCA will begin trading in New York. While Ferrari is linked to the company — and is considered a defining brand for FCA — he says it won’t be a key brand over the long term.

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Porsche Developing Ferrari-Hunter With 600HP Flat-Eight http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/porsche-developing-ferrari-hunter-with-600hp-flat-eight/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/porsche-developing-ferrari-hunter-with-600hp-flat-eight/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 10:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=862113 Feeling outgunned by the Ferrari V8 family, Porsche is working on a suitable hunter that will be armed not with its long-standing flat-six, but with a new flat-eight. Autocar reports the new vehicle — dubbed the 988 within Stuttgart — is part of a new quartet of Porsches in development, including a turbo-four version of […]

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Feeling outgunned by the Ferrari V8 family, Porsche is working on a suitable hunter that will be armed not with its long-standing flat-six, but with a new flat-eight.

Autocar reports the new vehicle — dubbed the 988 within Stuttgart — is part of a new quartet of Porsches in development, including a turbo-four version of the Boxster and Cayman, and an all-new 911. The 988 is expected to arrive in 2017, and may likely take after the 918 in looks with a long rear deck covering the mid-mounted flat-eight; all four new models will be in place by 2019.

Powering the quartet is a new family of boxers, ranging from the aforementioned 2-liter turbo-four — capable of 280 horsepower — to the 988’s 4-liter quad-turbo-eight, delivering 600 horses and ~400 lb-ft of 458 Italia-killing torque in testing.

Underpinning the quartets will be an all-new architecture that will use different backsides depending on the position of the boxer, shared front structures, and three front axles with optional hybrid/electric AWD such as the system powering the 918.

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Ferrari To Reduce CO2 Emissions 20 Percent By 2021 Via Hybrids, Turbos http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/ferrari-to-reduce-co2-emissions-20-percent-by-2021-via-hybrids-turbos/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/ferrari-to-reduce-co2-emissions-20-percent-by-2021-via-hybrids-turbos/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 12:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=852201 Adding a green stripe upon its rosso corsa paint, Ferrari aims to reduce fleet greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent among its offerings by the time the new decade arrives. Automotive News Europe reports the Italians are taking a two-pronged approach in tackling CO2 while maintaining the performance for which the brand is known all […]

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Adding a green stripe upon its rosso corsa paint, Ferrari aims to reduce fleet greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent among its offerings by the time the new decade arrives.

Automotive News Europe reports the Italians are taking a two-pronged approach in tackling CO2 while maintaining the performance for which the brand is known all over. V8-powered models like the new California T (for turbo) will use turbocharging to add power to shrinking engine sizes while knocking out more emissions. The California T’s powertrain delivers 552 horsepower and 250g/km of CO2, a significant improvement over the previous model’s 483 horses and 299g/km from its naturally aspirated V8.

While turbos handle the small stuff, hybridization will be used to boost fuel efficiency and power in V12 models, such as the FF and F12 Berlinetta. The current example — the LaFerrari — nets 963 horsepower and 330g/km of CO2 from its 6.3-liter V12 and 120-kilowatt electric motor combo, besting the Enzo’s 660 horses and 545g/km.

Both approaches are expected to help Ferrari reduce emissions by 2 percent to 3 percent every year, resulting in a 20 percent cumulative reduction by 2021. The automaker already cut CO2 produced by its lineup by 40 percent since 2007, when the average was 435g/km.

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Marchionne’s Grand Vision For FCA Faces Hard Financial Road To Success http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/marchionnes-grand-vision-for-fca-faces-hard-financial-road-to-success/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/marchionnes-grand-vision-for-fca-faces-hard-financial-road-to-success/#comments Thu, 08 May 2014 12:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=817858 Though Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne’s five-year plan announced this week may be ambitious, analysts are raising questions about how the plan will be funded — and how much will be needed — if it is to be successful, let alone live up to Marchionne’s vision. Automotive News Europe reports a large part of […]

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Though Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne’s five-year plan announced this week may be ambitious, analysts are raising questions about how the plan will be funded — and how much will be needed — if it is to be successful, let alone live up to Marchionne’s vision.

Automotive News Europe reports a large part of the problem for the plan, according to Bernstein Research analyst Max Warburton, is debt:

Much as we admire the ambition and think elements are achievable… it is hard to find conviction on the financing of the plan. Fiat is weighed down with huge debt, burdened by financing costs and is only thinly profitable. It’s (sic) cost of capital is huge.

Warburton adds FCA’s grand plan and its potential capital expenditure and R&D appear to be unaffordable and not prudent for investors, stating the company would need “a capital raise” for any part of the plan to pan out.

Aside from its debt, FCA also faces sales challenges from markets that are peaking or slowing down, with the European market being the biggest drag upon the automaker. However, independent analyst Marianne Keller said that with the recovery now taking place in Europe, paired with North American profits and a strong Jeep brand, Marchionne could “pull it off”; Marchionne himself announced during the five-year plan’s unveiling that he was considering a mandatory convertible bond to bring the needed financing for the plan.

Finally, FCA’s Q1 2014 results — a net loss of 319 million euros compared to a net profit of 31 million euros the year before — serve as a sign for both the company and its investors that FCA has more hard road ahead, a view best summed up by Macquarie Group analyst Jens Schattner:

If it was so easy just to launch new products to be successful in this industry, why wouldn’t everybody do exactly the same.

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FCA, Daimler Buy Greenhouse Credits To Meet EPA Emission Limits http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/fca-daimler-buy-greenhouse-credits-to-meet-epa-emission-limits/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/fca-daimler-buy-greenhouse-credits-to-meet-epa-emission-limits/#comments Mon, 28 Apr 2014 11:30:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=811506 The Environmental Protection Agency said Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Chrysler and Ferrari divisions, as well as Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz unit, bought greenhouse gas (GHG) credits to remain in compliance with the agency’s 2025 twin goals of 54.5 mpg and halved greenhouse gas emissions. The Detroit News reports Honda and Tesla sold 90,000 and 35,580 greenhouse credits — […]

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The Environmental Protection Agency said Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Chrysler and Ferrari divisions, as well as Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz unit, bought greenhouse gas (GHG) credits to remain in compliance with the agency’s 2025 twin goals of 54.5 mpg and halved greenhouse gas emissions.

The Detroit News reports Honda and Tesla sold 90,000 and 35,580 greenhouse credits — each one measured in 1 metric ton of emissions, or megagram — to Ferrari and Mercedes respectively for the 2010 model year, while Chrysler bought 500,000 such credits from Nissan for 2011. In addition, Mercedes purchased 250,000 credits from Nissan and 177,941 credits from Tesla for 2012; the EPA does not disclose how much the automakers paid for the compliance credits.

As for what the three divisions are doing to come into compliance with EPA and CAFE standards outside of the credit market, Ferrari — which FCA petitioned the agency to classify as an independent automaker, allowing the brand to enjoy the same conditional exemptions as Aston Martin, Lotus and McLaren due to its low production output — “is working to boost fuel efficiency while improving performance,” while Mercedes is looking into stop-start and other fuel-saving technology. Chrysler, for its part, is experimenting with flex fuels and using turbocharged four-cylinders in some of its offerings.

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Paging Dr. Ferraristein: Wrecked exotic goes up for salvage auction in Connecticut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/paging-dr-ferraristein-wrecked-exotic-goes-up-for-salvage-auction-in-connecticut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/paging-dr-ferraristein-wrecked-exotic-goes-up-for-salvage-auction-in-connecticut/#comments Wed, 16 Oct 2013 10:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=625129 It’s amazing what having a ton of cash can buy you these days. For example, if you have a tween daughter with big dreams to be on stage singing about her favorite Asian foods, up to $4,000 can buy her a music video featuring a clown in a panda costume, plus the music and lyrics. That […]

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It’s amazing what having a ton of cash can buy you these days. For example, if you have a tween daughter with big dreams to be on stage singing about her favorite Asian foods, up to $4,000 can buy her a music video featuring a clown in a panda costume, plus the music and lyrics.

That said, why allow your daughter to become the next big viral sensation (for all the wrong reasons), when for the right price, you can buy a wrecked 1995 Ferrari F50?

Yahoo Autos managing editor Justin Hyde brings us this tale of such a broken beast, and this one has a lot going for it. The F50, currently residing in an insurance salvage yard somewhere in Hartford, Conn., sold for nearly $530,000 in 2002, received a heart transplant in the form of a new 4.7-liter V12, was one of 56 copies made for the United States (out of 349 overall), and was the last one screwed together, as well as being one of two to be painted black.

And as with any new exotic car purchase, the then-owner felt the need for speed, as demonstrated in Exhibit A:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Alas, the party came to a screeching halt (with a tree, at 50 mph) for this Ferrari, meriting a salvage title upon examination; the driver came away with only a headache, which became a migraine the moment he learned just how much money he just lost. However, his loss could be your gain if the price is right, sitting at over $110,000 as of this writing with no sign yet of the bids meeting the (potentially high) seller reserve. And if you’re in the area on the 29th at 10 a.m. (and have brought a trailer), you can also bid in the salvage yard’s live auction, just in time to play Dr. Ferraristein come Halloween.

Of course, for half that amount, you could always bet on Blurple.

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2012 Fiat 500 Abarth Versus 2012 Ferrari FF http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/fiat-abarth-ferrari-ff/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/fiat-abarth-ferrari-ff/#comments Sat, 01 Sep 2012 13:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=458559   A few months back, Bertel decreed that TTAC would have no more duplicate reviews. If we wanted to test a car that had already been reviewed, we’d better have a dramatically different take on it. I had a FIAT 500 Abarth for the week. Jack and Alex had already covered it on track and off. I thought […]

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A few months back, Bertel decreed that TTAC would have no more duplicate reviews. If we wanted to test a car that had already been reviewed, we’d better have a dramatically different take on it. I had a FIAT 500 Abarth for the week. Jack and Alex had already covered it on track and off. I thought someone had a comparison with the MINI Cooper S on the way. What else could I possibly compare the Abarth to that would make sense? It’s not like there are any other high-performance Italian hatchbacks offered in North America…

You’re a single guy (not me) with an appointment to keep (sadly, me) when you happen across a supermodel. You have only a few minutes to spare, but you’ll never forgive yourself if you don’t chance a pass, and she’s going to reject you anyway. Except Jeff Cauley is a top-notch dealer with enough of a sense of humor to agree to an “Italian hatchback comparison test.” So here we have all of the insight I could glean from a quickie with “this is crazy, this is crazy, this is crazy” looping inside my skull.

There are some differences between the FIAT 500 Abarth and the Ferrari FF. We’ll cover those. But the similarities are uncanny. For $1,590, you can grace the fenders of your FF with “Scuderia Ferrari” shields. These are yellow topped with the Italian tricolor.

The Abarth’s fenders include shields as standard equipment. They’re smaller in size, with a scorpion rather than a horse (startled by a scorpion?) displayed sable, but the colors are the same.

A 2+2 two-door hatchback configuration distinguishes both cars from alternatives. The rear seats might barely fit adults, but they’ll do in a pinch, and should serve well with smaller humans. The FF has a considerable edge in cargo volume with the rear seat up (15.9 cubic feet vs. 9.5), but it goes away when the seat is folded (28.3 vs. 26.5).

Matching fitted luggage isn’t available from the FIAT factory at any price, much less $9,967, but there are other ways to contain your empties.

The leather inside the FF is of very high quality, and covers nearly every surface. Nearly every creature comfort is either standard or (in some unexpected cases) optional. Cruise control adds $1,067, a parking camera $3,463, and a dual-screen rear seat entertainment system $5,298. The nav system is as easy to use as that in a Chrysler, perhaps because it’s the same unit. The reconfigurable LCD instruments effectively convey a huge amount of information. (Hopefully they prove as durable as they are functional.) But you can find equally opulent cabins in cars that cost half as much.

Similarly, the Abarth’s decidedly less organic interior materials resemble those in cars that cost roughly half as much (though the red-stitched and upholstered instrument binnacle is a nice touch). Unlike in the Ferrari, cruise control is standard. Nav is provided by a portable unit that plugs into a hole atop the dash, but at least it only adds $400. As with the FF, you’re mostly paying for performance hardware.

What sort of hardware? The FF is powered by a normally-aspirated 6.3-liter engine that produces 660 horsepower (PS) at its 8,000 rpm redline. Torque peaks at a similarly lofty 6,000 rpm, but there’s plenty to be found just off idle, courtesy of the Vette-like displacement. Not that you’ll want to keep revs low. The V12’s tenor wail, more like that of a sport bike than any non-Italian car, is pistonhead nirvana, with never a note out of place. No manual transmission is offered, perhaps because none would be nearly as quick nor as smooth as the rear-mounted seven-speed automated dual-clutch unit. An ingenious all-wheel-drive system is standard. Instead of a transfer case, it employs a two-speed automatic transmission connected to a clutch pack for each wheel to grab power as needed (to maintain stability and traction) from the front of the engine. Is it quick? Of course it’s quick, so quick that you can barely scratch the powertrain’s potential at semi-legal speeds on public roads. In track testing, sixty arrives in about 3.5 seconds. This said, there’s more of a sensation of speed than in some other extremely powerful cars, where you arrive at 60 with little memory of the trip.

Does the thought of clutches that must continuously slip to do their job scare you? Or perhaps your environmental sensibilities cannot tolerate EPA ratings of 11 city and 17 highway? Then the 28/34 500 might be more your thing. For the Abarth, FIAT turbocharges the 500’s 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine to yield 160 horsepower at 5,500 rpm. Unless you forget to hit the sport button, in which case the engine peaks around 135 horsepower, the throttle lags, and the car feels unworthy of its fancy badges. So be sure to hit the button to the right of the red-stitched, flat-bottomed steering wheel each time you start the car.

Even with the sport button pushed, there’s little torque below 3,000 rpm even after the turbo spools up. The Abarth’s song isn’t remotely as refined as the FF’s, such that “song” seems an ill-chosen term, but what it lacks in quality it strives to make up for in quantity. Some will find its boom, snap, and crackle overly raucous, but for me the Abarth’s drone is reasonably low when cruising and its exhaust doesn’t bark loudly on deceleration the way the Dodge Neon SRT4’s (tuned by some of the same folks) did. The five-speed’s shifter is mounted oddly high, its shift feel is slightly sloppy, and the clutch vaguely grabs at the very top of its long travel. Despite this iffy execution, a conventional manual remains the best partner for the Abarth’s engine. A good thing, as no automated option is offered. The front wheels are driven all the time, the rears never. As in the Ferrari, the engine’s testa is dressed in rossa.

For a mere $1,445 you can get the FF’s massive calipers (which squeeze 15.7-inch rotors) in red.

The Abarth has red calipers as a standard feature (perhaps because less paint is needed). Its smaller brakes are charged with retarding far less curb weight, 2,512 vs. 4,145 pounds.

Both cars have reasonably raked windshields and so no need for extra-deep instrument panels. But here the similarity of their driving positions ends. To achieve a 47/53 weight distribution, Ferrari mounted the FF’s long engine entirely behind the front axle, yielding a very long hood. For less obvious reasons, the FF also happens to be very wide. Consequently, while the FF might feel lighter than it is, it doesn’t feel smaller than it is. Instead, it feels at least as large as a Panamera, and similar in overall character. The tape measure reports similar dimensions (193.2 x 76.9 x 54.3 inches vs. 195.6 x 76.0 x 55.8). The FF has less length abaft the driver but more inches ahead, and you sit a little lower behind a taller instrument panel and longer hood. But, compared to the driving position in one of the science fiction experiments from Lamborghini, the FF’s is downright practical.

The Abarth’s driving position occupies the opposite extreme. You sit so high that the car feels tippy even though, once the firm suspension takes a set, it’s not. Seat adjustments are far more limited than in the Ferrari, and unless you’re in the left tail of the bell curve you won’t be using the one for height. There’s far less hood ahead of you, and you don’t see the little there is. Excellent for forward visibility, not so good for sporting character.

During my test drive, where the FF’s suspension remained well within its capabilities, the car felt every bit as balanced as one with a 47/53 weight distribution should. The throttle can be used to nudge the rear end around, and the FF feels more lively than the typical all-wheel-drive car, perhaps because in balls-short-of-the-wall dry road driving the front wheels are declutched. The FF’s steering is light yet fairly communicative and shockingly quick (perhaps even too quick for such a large car). Compared to a Porsche Panamera, it takes longer (and longer than I had) to become acclimated behind the control-festooned wheel of the FF. The Porsche, while also feeling like a super-sized sports car, is a more intuitive car to drive quickly. But even in casual driving the FF engages. Once everything is tweaked to taste (a mind-boggling number of adjustments are available, but unlike in the FIAT the settings appear to be retained when the car is turned off) and the Ferrari becomes familiar it would no doubt be the more satisfying car to drive.

Simply due to its could-hardly-be-more-different dimensions, proportions, and weight distribution (64/36), the Abarth handles much differently. Contrary to some other reports, understeer isn’t excessive, but you’ll never forget that the FIAT is a tall, nose-heavy, front-wheel-drive car. Despite its much more compact dimensions and lesser weight (1,600 vs. 1,950 pounds) over narrower front tires (205/40ZR17 vs. 245/35ZR20), the Abarth’s steering is less communicative and lacks the quickness I expect in a tiny hatchback. No surprise given its much shorter wheelbase (90.6 vs. 117.7 inches), higher center of gravity, and far less sophisticated suspension, the Abarth also doesn’t ride nearly as smoothly as the Ferrari. The FF might also have the Panamera beat in this last aspect.

The FIAT 500 Abarth starts at $22,700. The 17-inch wheels add one grand. Leather adds another. A convenience package, nav, and red mirrors plus stripes (a box I’d uncheck) bumped the tested car’s price to $26,200. On the one hand, this seems a little steep given the car’s size, performance potential, and amenities. Another thousand will get you a roomier, much more capable and considerably more enjoyable MazdaSpeed3. On the other hand, the Abarth’s price is well under one-tenth of the Ferrari’s. The FF is theoretically available for just $298,750. But options added over $60,000 to the car I drove, and over $100,000 to another in the showroom. Air freight (not included in the sub-300 price) added $5,000 to a car that had been shipped to Michigan, $9,000 to one that had originally deplaned in Arizona. It’s not clear if the gas guzzler tax is included in the base price or buried in a substantial “other options” figure (both cars included far more items than could fit on the window sticker).

So, which Italian hatchback is the best one for you? The FF is an exercise in what happens when cost isn’t much of an object and the sheet starts clean. You fit a highly-tuned, naturally-aspirated V12 for seamless power, mount it far back for balance, pair it with an automated manual for quick responses, and employ all-wheel-drive on an as-needed basis for traction. The apparently unavoidable downsides of all this optimization are size, weight, and cost. Enough money fixes the last, and the second isn’t terribly evident, but the first doesn’t ever go away. The FF is very much the ultimate expression (until its replacement arrives) of the GT concept. For similar performance in a smaller car, you’re going to have to give up some cylinders, the rear seat, a lot of luggage capacity, or all of the above.

Perhaps you want a tidier hatchback that can be more fully exploited on public roads at legal speeds. Or your budget simply doesn’t extend north of $300,000. But you also want Italian style complete with red highlights everywhere the Ferrari has them and tricolor fender badges. Then the Abarth is the obvious choice.

Cauley Ferrari in West Bloomfield, MI, provided the FF. For those with smaller budgets, Cauley also operates a used car dealership with its heart in the right place—you’ll find no boring cars on the lot. They can be reached at 866-353-8629.

FIAT provided the 500 Abarth with insurance and a tank of gas.

Michael Karesh operates truedelta.com, a provider of car reliability and pricing information.

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Review: Ferrari F355 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/06/review-ferrari-f355/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/06/review-ferrari-f355/#comments Fri, 05 Jun 2009 11:09:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=317945

Forget, for a moment, that we are behind the wheel of a Ferrari, and possibly the best mid-engined road Ferrari in history at that. Forget the scenery, which is beautiful, and the road, which is slick with rain and therefore rather difficult to forget. Forget the speed, which is, frankly excessive, and forget the Mustang ahead of you, swelling in your windshield at a that’s-no-moon-it’s-a-space-station pace. Take a moment and listen.

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Forget, for a moment, that we are behind the wheel of a Ferrari, and possibly the best mid-engined road Ferrari in history at that. Forget the scenery, which is beautiful, and the road, which is slick with rain and therefore rather difficult to forget. Forget the speed, which is, frankly, excessive, and forget the Mustang ahead of you, swelling in your windshield at a that’s-no-moon-it’s-a-space-station pace. Take a moment and listen.

The sound directly behind you is a flat-crank, forty-valve, titanium-connecting-rod vee-eight spinning at over eight thousand revolutions per minute. It’s not a traditional V8 musclecar sound. Instead, you hear a doubled four-cylinder, overdubbed like an Eighties Iron Maiden record to the left and right. It isn’t smooth, and it isn’t melodious, but it is absolutely compelling. There is nothing else like it.

Other cars offer the look, the performance, even the prestige, but none offer the sound. You’re at redline now. Open your senses, let it all come rushing back—the unfettered thrill of operating this peerless car, on this day, at full throttle—and select fifth gear. Gone.

Performance Rentals Incorporated, based in New York and providing service as far as Boston and Washington, D.C., offers seven different fascinating vehicles for daily or weekly rental, including a 750-horsepower supercharged third-gen Viper which they bill as “The fastest car available for rent in North America.” Compared to that Viper, this Ferrari is merely quick, but against unmodified modern cars the decade-old F355 can still hold its own.

The quoted thirteen-seconds-flat quarter-mile time feels easily achievable in this particular example, and the engine revs with a light-flywheel willingness almost unknown in emissions-compliant automobiles. Compared to my Porsche 993, which hails from the same era, the Ferrari pulls with less authority from low revs but easily outpaces the Super Beetle once the tach swings past the “50” mark.

Inside, it’s a thin-pillar retro delight. The metal-gated shifter performs just as one would expect, adding a solid “clank” to each throw, while the steering and brakes are new-car tight and responsive. Visibility is surprisingly good, far better than what one would find in a Corvette or Viper. The fruits of Luca di Montezemolo’s famous dictate to “make this an everyday Ferrari” are evident everywhere, from the easy-to-understand climate controls to the superb amount of shoulder room.

While the F355 traces its stylistic roots to Pininfarina’s 308GTS, the driving position and view from the cockpit are actually far closer to what one would find in the Bertone 308GT4. There, as here, one has a slight sense of sitting at the very forward end of the car, perched over the front wheels and quite close to the road rushing by beneath. It’s the complete antithesis of a front-engined Ferrari and one quickly understands why individual tifosi are rarely fans of both the Dino descendants and Daytona successors.

Most car enthusiasts who have never driven a Ferrari in real life imagine the driving experience provided by the mid-engined Fezzas to be Corvetteish, but the reality is best expressed by the fact that the driver of an F355 cannot stick his left leg straight out without kicking the left front wheelwell. By comparison, a Boxster feels positively cab-backwards.

The majority of the F-car rentals in this country are either tired old 360 Modenas or hyper-expensive F430s, but PRI chose the F355 in keeping with their philosophy of offering “performance-tuned drivers’ cars.” A perforated “Challenge” rear grille hints at the upgraded suspension, brakes, and retuned engine mapping. Every bushing in the suspension is up to spec, every bit of interior trim is freshened to new-car standards, and a reasonably complete, iPod-compatible sound system has been installed.

To be fair, I don’t know if it works, because I didn’t bother to turn it on, and you wouldn’t, either.

The F355 is probably the “best” modern Ferrari in the same way that the Porsche 993 is the “best” modern Porsche. In both cases, technology, usability, and character combine to provide a driving experience which feels suitably flavorful without the annoyances of Bosch K-Jetronic or bias-ply tires.

There’s enough performance on tap here to thrill (or kill) you three times over, it’s so good-looking that it’s virtually impossible to walk away without an oh-so-stereotypical backwards glance, and there’s no SUPER-DSC-ATTESSA-HICAS to save the untalented from their own shortcomings. Really, this is the Ferrari you want to drive, should you drive just one.

PRI’s daily rate for the F355 is just slightly under a thousand dollars a day. I can think of a few other ways for a gearhead to spend that kind of money, from a one-day class at the Mid-Ohio school to a set of Hoosier R6 tires for one’s track car, but the moment the Ferrari’s tach shows eight grand, you’ll forget there were any other choices.

[Performance Rentals Incorporated provided the vehicle tested, insurance and gas]

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Review: 2010 Ferrari California http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2008/10/review-2010-ferrari-california-spider/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2008/10/review-2010-ferrari-california-spider/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2008 01:07:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=118281

The California is a bit like my first girlfriend: pretty from the front, but a little frumpy at the rear, especially in the wrong clothes (sorry Sarah). This is Ferrari's softer side. Huh? How can you mess with the classic GT recipe? Sorry Ferrari but the California is the best definition of Ugly Betty with four wheels. If you were hoping for a Dino successor, then you'll be disappointed. This is a fresh GT with a new clientele in mind.

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The California is a bit like my first girlfriend: pretty from the front, but a little frumpy at the rear, especially in the wrong clothes (sorry Sarah). This is Ferrari’s softer side. Huh? How can you mess with the classic GT recipe? Sorry Ferrari but the California is the best definition of Ugly Betty with four wheels. If you were hoping for a Dino successor, then you’ll be disappointed. This is a fresh GT with a new clientele in mind.

Hoping for a warm welcome party, my blue press car just didn’t look right under the brilliant Sicilian sunshine– even though I skipped the offer of a blood-red California, which I thought would dispel the miss-matched lines and kindergarten crayon-like sketches. Like the 612 Scaglietti, the latest front-engined Ferrari has no Maranello designer-DNA-flair whatsoever. Sure, the front is OK, but the rear looks like a F430 that’s been backed into a brick wall. And then we have the Lexus cosmetic card trick: fake exhaust tail pipes. The horrendous back door abomination was designed to incorporate the folding metal roof. With every supercar manufacturer fitting an origami roof to just about anything that moves, the boys in Italy wanted to target more conservative customers (namely female, but you didn’t hear me say that).

The buggy seats behind the front chairs are useless for any human larger than Verne Troyer. And? They are perfectly suitable for those owners who wish to fold them to accommodate your tailored Ferrari luggage or McLaren golf bags. While it’s all very Ferrari inside, there are two small issues that need addressing. First, the heater control pane is ridiculously small. I know owners live in salubrious climates, but really. Second, the aluminium covered centre console looks like a particularly uncomfortable sex toy. The sexy, red Start button and Manettino switch (Ferrari’s traction and stability control), return us to the world of more traditional sexual orientation. Both controls must tweaked and caressed like a lover’s nipple to get the desired effect. Ahem. Moving on…

Facing killjoy CO2 regs, Ferrari had to clean up their act. To satisfy the politicians, Maranello has introduced direct-injection technology to their famous V8. Although positioned over the front axle, the new 4.3-litre flat-plane-crank V8 knocks-out 454bhp and 357 lb feet of gut-busting torque. The Calfornia drop top nails the zero to 62mph sprint in around four seconds and cracks 194mph V-max. Not bad for a car that’s carrying 1735 kg’s.

Whether  you’re nailing your favourite back road or performing a brief overtaking manoeuvre whilst kicking back on the boulevard, the California V8 delivers the same sorts of aural delights enjoyed by F430 drivers. Ferrari’s dialed down the bass and treble, but with the roof stowed, hunting the red-line is equally tempting. The new seven speed twin-clutch transmission swaps gears quicker than the F430 Scuderia, which is like saying an F-22 is a bit quicker than an F-15. Porsche’s PDK may have set the benchmark, but they forgot about Ferrari’s F1 technology. This is Transformers for grown-ups.

The Manettino switch on the steering wheel offers a choice of Comfort, Sport or CST-off mode. Comfort is the default choice with relatively low intervention thresholds; the Sport setting raises the bar and allows for a good degree of tail swapping and tire mashing. The CST mode turns off all of the driving aids and reveals the California’s hidden side: beautiful balance on the limit behaviour.

This is where the buttons ping off your shirt and you start to turn green. The combination of engine, handling and hidden Ferrari DNA bursts out more alarmingly than the alien in John Hurt’s chest. The steering is quick but grip levels are less communicative through the steering wheel. Where the California really shines: its ride. With the optional $6k magnetic dampers, the Fezza delivers sensational body control and accuracy, without destroying ride comfort.

So, where does the new California fit within the Ferrari canon/cannon? At a not inconsiderable $244k, it’s got to fend off a raft of competition, including Lamborghini’s cheaper Gallardo Spyder ($224K). Why have Ugly Betty when you can choose Beyonce Knowles? Because it’s a Ferrari. A Ferrari convertible. And even though it’s a kindler gentler example of the breed, that’s enough.

[Ferrari provided the vehicle, insurance, and fuel]

California, here we come. You can checkout any time you like, but you can never leave! Dream of Californication california-image-1 "California ... know how to party" Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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2008 Ferrari F430 Review http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2008/01/2008-ferrari-f430-review/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2008/01/2008-ferrari-f430-review/#comments Mon, 28 Jan 2008 10:46:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/reviews/2008-ferrari-f430-review/ f43005_01.jpgThe days when Ferrari and Lamborghini were the sole, unquestionable, untouchable owners of the “supercar” moniker are gone. The Carrera GT’s clutch may have permanently besmirched Porsche’s “everyday supercar” rep, but the roadster's at least as dramatic as Maranello’s magic mounts. The SLR may be a dour machine driven by a brain-dead debutante, but the scissor-doored McMerc still has supercar written all over it. And those pesky Americans keep doing things to the Corvette that increase its credibility in the field of extreme machines. So is the “entry level” Ferrari F430 becoming a little, uh, pedestrian? 

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f43005_01.jpgThe days when Ferrari and Lamborghini were the sole, unquestionable, untouchable owners of the “supercar” moniker are gone. The Carrera GT’s clutch may have permanently besmirched Porsche’s “everyday supercar” rep, but the roadster's at least as dramatic as Maranello’s magic mounts. The SLR may be a dour machine driven by a brain-dead debutante, but the scissor-doored McMerc still has supercar written all over it. And those pesky Americans keep doing things to the Corvette that increase its credibility in the field of extreme machines. So is the “entry level” Ferrari F430 becoming a little, uh, pedestrian? 

What are you nuts? One look at Ferrari F430 and it tattoos the word “supercar” on your retinas. While taller and hunkier than previous Dino-descended mid-engined mounts, the F430’s Pininfarina-penned lines possesses the kind of purity of line associated with High Renaissance art. Unlike its in-house stable mates and Bologna-born competition, the F430’s mid-engine proportions and curvilinear contours are quintessentially Italian, quintessentially super. 

f43005_inter3.jpgI didn’t need to tell you that. But the F430’s interior is something of a shock, a radical departure from Enzo’s philosophy of selling his customers an engine and throwing the car in for free. It's a sacred place, blessed with first-class materials arranged with minimalist purity. Credit is due to the optional “carbon fiber driving zone” and its F1-inspired tiller. Though silly at first, the little red hash at the twelve o’ clock position provides entirely useful Pavlovian conditioning (for a mere five grand).  

Yes there are elegant details, but the stunning gauges are all, as befits a cockpit that places the pleasure of driving in the premier position. Taken as a whole, the F430’s sumptuous leather-wrapped interior feels like a stripped down racer. The engine-under-glass effect underlines the point. The branded induction system is the automotive equivalent of a brace of elephant guns gleaming in Hemingway’s weapons case: immaculately oiled, ready for action.

f43005_03.jpgFiring-up the F430’s 4.3-liter V8 is like watching the opening scene of a James Bond movie: predictably ridiculous, yet giddy-making in its promise of extreme violence. Engage the F1-style gearbox and you’re away. A. Long. Way. Away. Calling the F430 fast is like calling Miss America determined. Zero to sixty is a sub-four second experience of mammoth, manic intensity; it’s like being shot of a cannon into a black hole. The dual-stage exhaust goes from a martini-soaked Frank Sinatra to a cocaine-crazed Richard Patrick in less time than it takes to crank a stereo knob.

The F360 Modena was a high-revving beast whose blood curdling howls were the mother of adrenal acceleration. The F430 is a different animal entirely, endowed with Corvette-worthy low-end grunt. Those eight little Italian cylinders stump-up 343 ft-lbs of truck-like torque, taking the sauce all the way to 483hp, at a [still] preposterous 8500 rpm. Trundle around town? Si, we do that too. Bend time? That too.

f43005_04.jpgThe Ferrari’s F1 transmission is proof that racing improves the breed. The original system was a herky jerky joke. By now, the paddle shift transmission is as good as if not better than VW’s DSG. The F430’s manumatic engages the clutch with balletic grace– or NHL savagery. The F430 gently whisked me from the daily grind and gawking SUV owners. If Jimi Hendrix was reincarnated as a gearbox, I’d be standing next to his Fire.

That’s because the F430 is a Little Wing on four massive 19” wheels. Thanks to an impeccably tuned suspension, meticulously selected ratios and Satan’s own powerband, the pace is fervid, the progress distraction-free. A little seat time quickly confirms Lamborghini’s German intervention was the wrong move. Without question.

f43005_09_1024.jpgThe Italian F430 is opera to the Gallardo's heavy metal. The Gallardo is a weapon, but the F430 is the pinnacle of pistonhead performance pleasure. Even with rapid steering inputs, the G-forces build gently, effortlessly pushing you against its retro-Daytona seats. The steering feedback is so honest you’d think Simon Cowell is behind the headlights. This Detroit-fettled enthusiast will never forget that wonderful Saturday afternoon; the F430’s effortless rush makes exiting any bend a wake-up call for geographically biased automotive snobs.

Hell, even the Italian's electronic nannies have a unique, Ferrari themed persona. Never isolating and nebulous, the handling interferenza is as customer savvy as a concierge at the Waldorf-Astoria. That said, the F430's [optional] ceramic brakes' linear stopping and progressive punch leaves little need for computerized intervention.

f43005_02_1024.jpgI have never been so hardwired to a machine before; if Ferrari had an online dating service, Match.com would be screwed (so to speak). Yes, there are faster cars. Certainly, there are more luxurious cars. Reliable? Ha! But provided it’s not in the shop, the Ferrari F430 always delights, with its sublime handling, perfect mid-corner power and a roar that echoes in your mind for the rest of your years. 

[Thanks to Dr. Robert Scholl for providing the vehicle reviewed]

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Ferrari Enzo Review http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2004/01/ferrari-enzo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2004/01/ferrari-enzo/#comments Sun, 04 Jan 2004 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=181  You expect a Ferrari Enzo to be quick; a "slow supercar" is as much of an oxymoron as a "fast moped". You also expect an Enzo to be temperamental; Ferrari freely admits that post-delivery mechanical malfunctions are an integral part of the development process. But most of all, you expect it to be beautiful. Think of it this way: if the $650k Enzo wasn't beautiful, everyone who saw one would consider its owner a fool.

Benny Caiola Jr. is no fool. Saying that, would you lend your Ferrari Enzo to a stranger? Before you answer, consider this: the New York property developer owns two of them. And an F40, F40LM, F50, 333SP, 512BB, 575M, 456, 355, Dino, four 360s, a Lamborghini Diablo and Murcielago, Pagani Zonda, Porsche GT2 and Aston Martin Vanquish. So even if a visiting journalist somehow carved his place in automotive infamy, Benny wouldn't be taking the bus...

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 You expect a Ferrari Enzo to be quick; a "slow supercar" is as much of an oxymoron as a "fast moped". You also expect an Enzo to be temperamental; Ferrari freely admits that post-delivery mechanical malfunctions are an integral part of the development process. But most of all, you expect it to be beautiful. Think of it this way: if the $650k Enzo wasn't beautiful, everyone who saw one would consider its owner a fool.

Benny Caiola Jr. is no fool. Saying that, would you lend your Ferrari Enzo to a stranger? Before you answer, consider this: the New York property developer owns two of them. And an F40, F40LM, F50, 333SP, 512BB, 575M, 456, 355, Dino, four 360s, a Lamborghini Diablo and Murcielago, Pagani Zonda, Porsche GT2 and Aston Martin Vanquish. So even if a visiting journalist somehow carved his place in automotive infamy, Benny wouldn't be taking the bus…

 Anyway, as I approach Benny's Enzo, I respect the man's taste. With the exception of its round tail lights and the prancing horse emblem embedded in the rear mesh, the Enzo doesn't share a single design cue with its predecessors. Yet it's unmistakably Ferrari. The F1-style nose gets all the press, but it's the Enzo's blend of exquisite details and balanced proportions that creates its brand-specific charisma. To say the end result is aesthetically appealing is like saying Enrico Caruso could carry a tune.

The Enzo's melody starts with a ferocious bark. Ferrari's largest ever V12 (in a passenger car) quickly settles into an idle with so much low frequency bass you'd swear an alien mother ship was hovering overhead. The cockpit's eight steering wheel-mounted buttons, seven rev lights, oversized analogue speedo and tachometer, glowing digital display, traditional column stalks and bat-eared paddle shifts present a formidable challenge to a human operator. Fortunately, the carbon fibre seats provide a comfortable perch from which to sort it all out.

 Even before I leave Benny's drive, I'm surprised by the Enzo's delicate responses. The slightest touch on the left pedal and 15" carbon ceramic brakes threaten to hurl me through the windshield. The smallest input on the wheel and we're headed in a different direction. Clearly, thankfully, the days when driving a Ferrari meant wrestling with recalcitrant mechanicals in the world's fastest sauna ended with the passing of the Enzo's namesake. Ferrari's latest and greatest is a finely balanced precision instrument that doesn't make you pay [anything except money] for the privilege.

In fact, the Enzo proves itself as happy trundling around town as a big-engined Beemer. With 485 ft. lbs. of torque on tap, there's never any question of bunny hopping or hunting for the right gear. Parallel parking is a bitch, and luggage space is restricted to what you can put in your pockets, but the Enzo's user-friendly dynamics at sub-warp speeds make it a viable – if astounding – daily driver. When Benny points at the Hutchinson River Parkway onramp, the look on his face tells me ambling time is over…

 The moment I give the Enzo's go-pedal a shove, the 660hp two-seater surges ahead with all the genetic imperative of a race horse bolting from the starting gate. The thrust is so explosive I struggle to judge my exact role in the proceedings. Instinct tells me to tap her into third gear before the 48-valve engine blows up, and avoid solid objects. Five seconds later, I've managed to calm things down to a subjectively sedate 150mph.

As I get used to driving in hyperspace, the traffic ahead can't get out of my way fast enough – literally. By the time a driver clocks the Enzo's yellow prow in their rear view mirror, I'm already waiting for them to move over. As a result, I'm driving the Enzo in a series of full-bore sprints that bring new meaning to the words "in gear acceleration". While the engine note is nowhere near as loud as an F50's, neither is an F14's. Let's just say what the Enzo's soundtrack lacks in volume it makes up in drama. Perhaps you'd like to know how a Ferrari Enzo handles in the corners. So would I. When I ask Benny to direct me to an appropriately twisty road, he invites me for lunch. Oh well. Suffice it to say, nothing "the Hutch" could throw at the Enzo – off camber bends, broken pavement, lunatic SUV drivers – could disturb the car's sure-footed poise, at speeds that defy both law and logic. It feels light, tight and right.

As we head back to Villa Caiola, I try to make sense of what just happened. I'm elated to have scored major seat time in an Enzo. But more than that, I'm relieved that the supercar lived up to my every expectation. The Ferrari Enzo is both beauty and the beast.

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