The pranc­ing horse is on course for the four-wheeldrive mar­ket, says Mark Hinch­liffe

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

IT’S A Fer­rari, but not as we know it. Famed for its two-seater, rear­wheel-drive su­per­cars, the Ital­ian man­u­fac­turer has re­vealed its first four-wheel drive, the four-seater Fer­rari FF.

The lat­est ad­di­tion to the Maranello pranc­ing horse fleet is also a hatch­back or ‘‘shoot­ing brake’’, but un­like any nor­mal hatch­back.

Its 6262cc di­rect-in­jec­tion V12 en­gine delivers 485kW of power that slings the red mis­sile from stand­still to 100km/h in 3.7 sec­onds and a max­i­mum speed of 335km/h.

But the main point of dif­fer­ence in the ‘‘Fer­rari Four’’ is the ad­di­tion of four-wheel drive for the first time, which puts it in closer com­pe­ti­tion with all-wheel-drive Lam­borgh­i­nis.

Fer­rari’s patented 4RM four-wheeldrive sys­tem is claimed to weigh half as much as other sys­tems to pro­vide a bal­anced weight dis­tri­bu­tion of 53 per cent over the rear axle.

While no de­tails have yet been re­leased of how the drive sys­tem works, it is be­lieved Fer­rari favours a part-time sys­tem.

It is in­te­grated with the car’s elec­tronic dy­namic con­trol sys­tems and there’s the lat­est ver­sion of Fer­rari’s mag­netic sus­pen­sion damp­ing sys­tem and Brembo car­bon-ce­ramic brakes.

Cars­guide has pub­lished spy pho­tos from Carparazzi of the car heav­ily dis­guised but look­ing frumpy in the rear end. With the cov­ers re­moved, it ap­pears Ital­ian de­sign house Pin­in­fa­rina has pro­duced a sleek su­per­car that looks like an aero­dy­namic ver­sion of the 1970s Jensen In­ter­cep­tor.

It has gen­er­ous space for four pas­sen­gers and 450 litres of lug­gage.

With the rear seats down, lug­gage space in­creases to 800 litres.

The new four-seater gran turismo style puts it in di­rect com­pe­ti­tion with the emer­gence over the past few years of other four-steer GTs such as the Porsche Panam­era and As­ton Rapide.

The FF will make its of­fi­cial de­but at the Geneva Mo­tor Show in March and ar­rive in Aus­tralia early next year. Im­porter Ateco says it will re­place the 612 Scagli­etti in its four­car line-up.

The cur­rent Scagli­etti sells here for $698,000, but the FF’s drive sys­tem is ex­pected to boost that price.

It would join Fer­rari’s cur­rent Aus­tralian line-up of Cal­i­for­nia Con­vert­ible ($459,650), 458 Italia ($526,950) and 599 Fio­rano ($677,250).

Fer­rari is en­joy­ing record sales in the US and China. In Aus­tralia it sold 126 cars last year, up 21.2 per cent, which is dou­ble the mar­ket trend.

Ateco spokesman Ed­ward Rowe says the FF will ap­peal to ‘‘peo­ple who want a Fer­rari that is able to be used across a broad range of uses’’.

‘‘The idea of this car is it’s fully ca­pa­ble of go­ing to a high-speed per­for­mance day and then take you and your fam­ily and skis in the car down to the snow for a ski week­end,’’ he says.

‘‘ This il­lus­trates the enor­mous breadth and abil­ity of this car.’’

Rowe says Ateco al­ready has ‘‘dou­ble fig­ures’’ of cus­tomers ‘‘putting their hand up’’ for the FF.

Fired up: Fer­rari FF delivers 485kW of power and goes from stand­still to 100km/h in 3.7 sec­onds.

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