2008 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano – Chicago Motor Cars Video Test Drive Review with Chris Moran

2008 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano - Chicago Motor Cars Video Test Drive Review with Chris Moran

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A quick ride with Chris Moran in a 2008 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano from Chicago Motor Cars.
Here’s what Car and Driver says about the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano:
“Using your vehicle respecting the environment will be your contribution towards environmental protection,” reads page seven of the Ferrari 599GTB Fiorano’s 198-page owner’s handbook. The manual diligently advises drivers to “avoid sharp and frequent accelerations” and to upshift at “only 2/3rds of the speed permitted for each gear” or, say, a modest 114 mph in fifth.

Even Ferrari’s PR man had to stifle a snigger. Not because of the wounded English, but because most drivers who are worried about their carbon footprint aren’t trying to plug themselves into an Italian two-seater whose 611-hp V-12 has a 10-mpg fuel fetish. That the 599’s production rate of about 800 cars per year is unlikely to affect ocean levels one way or another is not important. Ferrari didn’t get where it is by skimping on details.

Where exactly is Ferrari? At the top of its game, the ultra-A-list car brand with the ultra-A-list lineup emerging from its doors. The House of Enzo built 5658 cars in 2006, up five percent over 2005, and still the celebrities and the admirals of industry—mere captains can’t afford them—willingly bend a knee and submit to two-year queues for a dose. If any Ferrari were worth the white-hot hype, we’d know it after living for a few days with the “cinque-nove-nove,” as Ferrari’s youngest child is called in its native language.

The two things the peasants ask when you roll up in a new Ferrari are how much and how fast. Ferrari lists the 599GTB’s base price at 3,845, plus 00 for the U.S. gas-guzzler tax and 50 for delivery and dealer prep. The Silverstone (a.k.a. metallic gray) example pictured here has a whole Lexus worth of options—,661 of them, on which we’ll elaborate as we go along.

For testing, Ferrari supplied a different 599 than this one, although equipped the same. Minded by a couple of Puma-shod technicians, it reached 60 mph in 3.3 seconds and turned the quarter-mile in 11.2 seconds at 131 mph with the dry-mouthed, clammy-palmed author gripping the wheel. We were unable to record a top speed, owing to a short runway. The skidpad yielded a gripping 0.97-g performance, and the ,550 optional carbon-ceramic brakes screeched to a halt from 70 mph in 148 feet, nine fewer than an Audi R8.

The 599’s mighty acceleration numbers are almost identical to the Enzo’s [C/D, July 2003]. At 3953 pounds, the Fiorano is 691 pounds heavier than the mid-engine, carbon-fiber Enzo and, by the factory’s accounting, has 39 fewer horsepower. Ferrari conservatively claims 3.7 seconds for the 599’s 62-mph mark. So, the 599 shouldn’t be this fast, but it certifiably was. Ferrari explains that the Enzo uses five-year-old technology and that the company has trimmed shift times of its F1 transmission (now called F1-SuperFast) down to 100 milliseconds and improved the electronic differential and subsequent traction. Indeed, the 599 doesn’t launch with any wheelspin, just a head-snapping slingshot that after four runs produced blistering numbers but furrowed the technicians’ brows with concern for the clutch. After that, it was parked.

It’s hard to be subtle in a Ferrari, but this slate-gray 599 comes close. The 599’s basic shape, a forward-sloping wedge with big hips packing big rubber and a low, fast-moving slip of a roofline, is a sort of Corvette-meets-Supra profile that is both audacious and fairly familiar. Pininfarina’s body design makes heat waves of testosterone, but rendered in a dark hue, some of the visual radiance, the grilles and slots and ducts—11 in all—gel to background, even with the 43 “SF” (Scuderia Ferrari) fender badges standing proud.

Stick a single index finger under the triangular latch to open the door. The 599 immediately whizzes and whirs with the sound of solenoids and electric motors and digital brains warming up. The car never stops making electrical noises, and it sings at you from a full jingle sheet of beeps and chimes. Don’t forget the key— ding! Don’t get out with the paddle-shift six-speed transmission in neutral— beep! beep beep! Don’t move off without checking your General Dynamics stock—

Jeremy talk about the Ferrari 599 GTO

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