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On test: Ferrari 612 Scaglietti review (2004 onwards model)
Model: Ferrari 612 Scaglietti F1 Bodystyle: CoupeEngine:5.7-litre V12 petrol Transmission:6-Speed F1 paddleshiftDate of test: June 2006
What is it?
Ferrari’s flagship GT car. Following a long lineage of Ferrari four-seaters the 612 Scaglietti is aimed at those drivers wanting all the performance associated with a Ferrari, but with a degree of practicality. Named Scaglietti in reference to Sergio Scaglietti, a coachbuilder responsible for shaping some of Ferrari’s most beautiful cars and an expert in aluminium, the 612 Scaglietti’s body and frame is made of the lightweight, strong metal. Power for this large GT car comes from a front mid-mounted V12 derived from that of the 550/575 Maranello cars, its 5.7-litres producing 532bhp and driving through a six-speed paddle shift transmission.
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Where does it fit?
It sits alongside the new 599 GTB Fiorano in the Ferrari range. Both being V12 cars they’re significantly more expensive than the V8 F430. You’ll need around £175,000 for a standard Scaglietti, but the F1A paddle shift option bumps that up by another £5,000. And then there’s the extensive and expensive options list. Direct competitors are few, the Bentley and Aston Martin offering pseudo four-seaters too, but both at significantly less outlay than the 612. There are a number of Mercedes AMG alternatives, though none have the mystique or are as rare as this big GT Ferrari.
Is it for you?
There are very few customers for this car so it’s more than likely not for you. A combination of its big ticket price and running costs mean it’s the preserve of only the very wealthy. Depreciation is typically heavy on Ferrari’s four-seaters, so you have to be in a position where losing a significant chunk of your initial investment isn’t really a problem. However, if you’re minted and want your Ferrari to be able to carry a couple of kids in the back, or small, supple friends then you’ll like the 612. The styling is a bit of grower - we’re still not sure - but lighter metallics seem to suit it well.
What does it do well?
It makes a lovely noise when pushed, is ludicrously quick when you want it to be – covering the 0-62mph sprint in 4.2 seconds - and will reach 199mph if you’re on a unrestricted road. It’s a capable GT, but it does a tremendous job shrinking its large proportions, being very wieldy when you start to explore its potential. The handling is crisp, the 46/54 front to rear weight distribution making it a very enjoyable and balanced driver’s car. It’s a striking looker, is very rare and comes with all that Ferrari heritage. Light, incisive steering and fantastic brakes allow you to drive it with more commitment that you’d think, the F1 paddleshift transmission working well when worked hard.
What doesn't it do well?
For a GT the optional sat nav is hopeless. It’s fiddly to operate and has no mapping function. Worse still it’s impossible to see with sunglasses on. It’s also heinously expensive and out performed by numerous aftermarket systems. The F1 paddleshift transmission might work well when you’re on it, but around town it’s clunky, the shift in automatic not able to match that of traditional torque-converter autos. Frustratingly, you cannot speed up the shift via the Sport button without also tightening the suspension, meaning you either make jerky progress around town, or are jarred sometimes by firm suspension. There are lots of unnecessary electronic beeps; like when reversing, or to tell you the satellite security tracking has been activated. The styling continues to split opinion, too.
What's it like to live with?
After 1,300 miles and four days it’s surprising just how quickly you become accustomed to having a 612 at your disposal. There’s something pleasing about having such enormous reserves of power on offer. It’s not just good at sustained high speed cruising either, taking it down a challenging road reveals an enormously capable and enjoyable chassis, too. The boot isn’t huge, neither are the rear seats, and you can drive around the sometimes jerky paddleshift gearbox, but I’d have to have the numerous electronic beeps muted as they’re hugely irritating. You’ll want parking sensors though as the 612 is a big car and it’s not easy to judge its extremities.
How green is it?
Ferrari will only sell a handful every year so let’s keep the 612’s emissions and consumption in perspective here. Official combined consumption of 13.6mpg is pretty shocking, as is the 475g/km CO2 emissions. However, on a long motorway run we managed an average of 17.6mpg and could have managed more if we weren’t taking advantage of higher foreign speed limits. Remember too that few buyers will ever do significant mileage in it, meaning its environmental credentials aren’t as bad as they first appear.
Would we buy it?
In all honesty it’s unlikely, and not just because we haven’t the means. It’s difficult to see why you’d opt for the Scaglietti over the 599 GTB, which is even faster, is more focussed to drive and does the long distance thing well too. You’d really have to want those two small rear seats to opt for the Scaglietti over it. However, it’s difficult to comprehend the mindset of the type of people who might buy the Scaglietti, after all it’ll probably sit in a garage alongside plenty of other difficult to justify, hugely expensive machines.
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