For all of their performance and panache, Ferraris have rarely incorporated much in the way of practicality. But with all-wheel-drive, space for four full-size adults and a versatile hatchback bodystyle, the FF represents something new for the prancing horse brand: an all-weather, family-friendly sports car.
This is no ordinary family machine, of course: the FF packs a 6.3-liter V12 that produces 651 horsepower at 8,000 rpm and 504 lb-ft. of torque at 6,000 rpm. Mounted entirely aft of the front axle for optimal weight distribution, the motor teams with a rear-mounted seven-speed dual-clutch automated-manual gearbox that provides smooth yet lightning-fast shifts. Top speed is 208 mph, and Ferrari says that the FF can sprint to 62 mph from a dead stop in just 3.7 seconds.
Power is sent to the rear wheels in normal driving situations, but in certain circumstances up to 20 percent of output can be sent to the front wheels via a unique second gearbox mounted in front of the engine. It features two forward gears: the first cog covers the seven-speed gearbox's first two ratios, while the second covers gears three and four (the front wheels aren't powered above fourth-gear speeds).
This innovative system is significantly lighter than a traditional all-wheel-drive setup while still providing the same traction boost for foul-weather and full-throttle acceleration situations. It can also apportion power from side to side as needed to provide neutral handling dynamics.
Helping to keep things green, the automaker's HELE start/stop system makes an appearance. Fuel consumption is rated at 11/17 city/highway mpg and emissions are curbed at 360 g/km - impressive figures for a Ferrari.
Though the oversized front grille, elongated headlights and wagon-like roofline might take some getting used to, the FF's every-day usability is unrivaled amid exotic performance machines. It features enough space for four six-footers to sit in comfort, and there's a relatively large 16 cubic feet of cargo room. Fold down the rear seats, and that number expands to 28 cubes.
The driver faces a large yellow tachometer and a three-spoke steering wheel that is littered with buttons and controls. To free up space for the large paddle shifters, Ferrari did away with conventional stalks and moved the turn signal, windshield wiper and high-beam headlight controls to the tiller. Another head-scratching touch is a Garmin navigation system that is also found throughout Chrysler's lineup (!). However, the cabin does feature suitably exquisite material quality and refinement.
As with all Ferraris, the FF can be customized with a wide array of features, including different leather upholsteries, color schemes and trim options.
The Ferrari FF is truly unique its in approach given the space it competes within, and given Ferrari owners' strong brand loyalty, cross-shopping will likely be scarce - but don't be surprised to hear of the Porsche Panamera or Aston Martin Rapide in the same sentence.