The Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, built to replace the 456 as well as to commemorate the legendary coach builder, saw the rebirth of a more elegant and sophisticated four-seater Ferrari. The new 612 would gracefully carry the spirit of the original four-seater Ferrari, the 250 GTE.
The 612, designed by Ken Okuyama and Frank Stephenson of Pininfarina, would incorporate a number of visual cues from Ferrari’s legendary one-off 375 MM “Rossellini-Bergman” coupe. The slender headlights along with the pressed front fenders and doors elegantly pay homage to the exotic original. It was Okuyama’s and Stephenson’s vision that would ultimately bring the 612 to life.
However, underneath its stylish body lies a technological marvel. The 612 is powered by the 575 Maranello’s 5.7-litre V-12, a jewel of an engine, mating a six-speed F1-style semi-automatic transmission. In an effort to ensure the 612 would be a proper driver’s car, the transmission was placed in the rear, increasing its overall handling dynamics. At a top speed of 199 mph, the 612 Scaglietti not only afforded travel at a high rate of speed, but doing so in supreme comfort.
BACKGROUND AND HISTORY:
The Ferrari 612 Scaglietti was intended to marry understated styling and spectacular performance to a new level. Named in honour of Sergio Scaglietti, Ferrari's seminal coach builder of the 1950's and the "Maestro of Aluminium", the 612 features several styling homages to the coachbuilder's work such as the scalloped sides that are a reference to the 375 MM made especially for Ingrid Bergman.
The 5,748 cc V12 gives its peak 540 HP at 7,250 rpm, but all the way up to this the power and torque delivery is so smooth and effortless it's only the stronger rasping howl from the revised exhaust that tells you the car is really working at it. The car's performance figures are impressive, easily capable of 195 MPH and travels to 60 mph in less than 4.3 seconds while at the same time providing a practical 2+2 alternative to the 575M with which it shared its V12 engine.
The 612 was a marked improvement on its extremely popular predecessor the 456M GT. The 612 is 60kg lighter yet 60% more structurally rigid meaning it is a far better handling car than the 456. The 612 also offers comfortable room for four adults with 139mm more legroom than in the 456. In the boot the car has room for two sets of golf clubs or luggage capacity of 240 litres (45% more than the 456) is certainly class leading.
The Driving Experience
The dimensions is a little bit of a worry to start with, but with a few miles, it soon melts into more manageable proportions. Part of this is due to the excellent visibility and the rest is down to its driving dynamics.
It’s a car that’s built for no-nonsense big-distance driving. Just adjust the seats in the best-finished cabin out there, brim the 108 litre fuel tank and go! Dropping down a couple of gears via the excellent F1 sequential gearbox and flooring the throttle brings tremendous acceleration that’s truly outstanding.
With 540bhp, a top speed of 199mph and 0-62mph in just 4.2 seconds, it’s sporty. Ferrari has done such a good job of the chassis-tuning, steering and 46% front/54% rear weight distribution that will handle city centres as well as winding mountain roads too. Drop down a couple of gears via the steering wheel paddles, press the Sport button and the car is unbelievably fast, and very, very satisfying to drive.
The Single clutch, F1 paddle-shift set-up with massive paddles take some getting used to. To prevent yourself looking like a bobbing dog during upshifts you need to lift off the throttle momentarily, as in a manual, which remind you about the inner workings of a manual gearbox. However, it’s a delight going back down the gears, the electronics blipping the throttle for you with each shift and slotting between cogs as quick as you like during heavy braking.
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