I have driven many powerful cars. The recipe is usually quite similar: low ride height, wide wheel base, light, with good aerodynamics and a low center of gravity. This time though, I was given a car which definitely packs a punch but is a little different. It is not light and definitely not small. And even with some rather interesting engineering, the center of gravity is on the high side. So, what is this thing? They called it the Ferrari FF, the first Ferrari to have 4-wheel drive. It has four seats and a massive boot. Not only that, but the engine sits at the front and the rear can only be referred to as a hatchback. This is definitely not your regular Ferrari.
I’ve been claiming for a long time that the term SUV is totally inaccurate. Sports utility vehicle? Really? The reported top speed of a Nissan Qashqai is said to be between 113 and 124mph. The reason for the ambiguity is that no one has reached it. Anyone who’s ever tried has died of old age long before then. Even the SUVs with larger engines tend to be more like 60s American muscle cars – they’re fast in a straight line but couldn’t deal with a corner to save them from the scrap yard. Of course, there are exceptions (most Cayennes and the new GLC 63 for example). The release of the Lamborghini Urus, and Maserati’s efforts with the Levante are making me feel more comfortable with the whole thing. Nonetheless, I feel as though the FF could actually be the real sports utility vehicle.
Inside the car, you will find a lot of leather, a lot – which I like. You’re also greeted with the Ferrari steering wheel, which looks good and has a nice feel to it. It is apparent, however, that it was designed by an F1 driver who naturally assumed that you would never need to use your indicators while turning and that high beams are for morons. The seats are comfortable and there’s actually space in the center console for a couple bottles of water and your telephone. Something that is clearly missing with many other cars in this class (yes, I’m looking at you Lamborghini). This is a good thing, because you will be needing your phone a lot since the very Italian multimedia system is utterly useless. All in all though, the interior is a wonderful place to be and I felt right at home from the very first minutes.
From the outside, despite being quite adventurous with the styling, there is no way to mistake this for anything but a Ferrari. The pulled back headlights that give you a hint of a 458 and the rear twin circular lights from the 599 GTB Fiorano are gorgeous. In my opinion it looks good from all angles. There’s a lot of controversy about the back. You either love it or hate it. I love it. In general, the huge size of this car does not make it look weird or unbalanced. Pininfarina did a great job on this one. My one complaint is the very orange side blinkers which look like something off an 80s Ford Fiesta.
Assuming we can agree that it looks like a Ferrari despite the fact that it’s the size of a train and has a contentious bottom, the question becomes – does it drive like a Ferrari?
In order to help me with my judging, Ferrari have dropped in a massive naturally aspirated V12 engine which produces and 660 horsepower and noise that could warn an entire village in the event of a nuclear attack. All this power is then transferred to all 4 wheels, which really kick you in your back as there is no skidding around when you floor it from a standstill. Ferrari also thought about stopping this gigantic car and equipped it with third generation carbon ceramic brakes, which definitely do the job.
Surprisingly the massive size of the car, and a bonnet which can be used as a soccer field, did not make me uncomfortable. Nor did it stop me from making wild accelerations from the second minute I drove the car. Without hesitation I flicked the car mode switch to sport, which popped my revs up, tightened the steering and turned off parts of the traction control. With all the magic set up I made my way to a mountain road. There was noise, speed, some sideways action and a charming smell of clutch, exhaust and burnt tires – an awesome idea for a petrolhead’s cologne.
To be short and on point (I did ramble a bit), this car is seriously fast, it feels good to drive, and it attracts attention. What else could you want from an SUV? But is it really a supercar? I would say that it’s errs on the safe side. Sometimes I wanted a bit more noise, a bit more power and a little bit more danger and craziness.