Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano
Predecessor: 575M Maranello
front-engined flagship model started life in 1968 in the form of
365GTB/4 Daytona. Today it is still regarded by many as the definitive
Ferrari front-engined GT, thanks to an exotic design, ground-breaking
performance (174mph and 0-60mph in 5.4sec) and good handling. The
Daytona was superseded by the
mid-engined Berlinetta Boxer in the mid-70s and then Testarossa in the
mid-80s. Nevertheless, the mid-engined supercars sold by exotic image
rather than real talents, as their rearward weight bias and high center
of gravity (engine mounted onto the transmission) actually deteriorated
In 1996, the flagship line returned to front-engined. 550 Maranello and
its modified version 575M improved greatly on handling, cabin comfort and user
friendliness. In the next 10 years they sold 5700 cars. But that was
still less than the 8500 units Testarossa series recorded in its 11
years life. What happened?
Undoubtedly, the Maranello had its own
weaknesses. First of all, it did not look very beautiful - a deadly sin
for Ferrari. Secondly, its V12 engine was too civilized, playing only
the sound of silence. Thirdly, it was neither powerful nor light enough
to produce super performance justifying its top position in
Ferrari's production model lineup. It was repeatedly embarrassed by the
cheaper V8 line, 360 Modena and F430. The reputation was so bad that
people started believing front-engined could not make the best Ferrari.
a misconception, of course. In fact, front-engined grand tourer was
always the format preferred by Enzo Ferrari himself. He approved
mid-engined layout only for race cars and the small-engined Dino
because he believed the combination of powerful V12 and mid-engined
could result in poor balance, oversteer hence disasters to his
customers. (If not forced by Lamborghini Countach, he would not have
approved the flawed BB)
Today, Maranello's engineers also believe front-engined layout can make
the best Ferrari road car, beating even the high standard set by F430.
If they succeed, they will have a car matching the classic status of
Daytona. Yes, this car is 599GTB Fiorano.
New Born King
Although not as ground-breaking as Daytona, 599GTB is a much
better looking car than 550 / 575M. It was designed by Pininfarina
studio under the guidance of Ferrari design boss Frank Stephenson. The
design theme follows 612 Scaglietti, but added more tension and
aggression. The profile is an integration of sharp nose, flowing belt
line and muscular shoulders. It brings back the emotion lost in 550 /
of the design are the "flying buttresses" C-pillars which stand freely
away from the rear glass. They not only look
special but also improve aerodynamic downforce, as they draw airflow
towards the tiny tail spoiler. Cd is just 0.336, remarkable
for a car generating 190kg downforce at very high speed. Credits must
go to the big diffusers.
Enter the cabin through the
conventionally hinged doors, you will find plenty of space, even more
than in 575M. Likewise, the big, 320-litre boot can swallow a weekend's
luggage or a couple of golf clubs. Space and visibility is no longer a
thing you need to sacrifice in Ferrari. More worrying is the visual
quality – is the carbon-fiber deco as good looking as leather and
aluminum? is the analogue-LCD hybrid instrument panel as delicious as
conventional one? and what about the Formula 1 / PlayStation-like
multi-functional steering wheel? Like all recent Ferraris, this cabin
lost the visual attractiveness of traditional Ferrari cabins. We miss
the days when all Ferraris featured wooden steering wheel, chromed
gauges and metal spherical gear knob.
the beauty of 599GTB is not from design, but from its engineering. Base
on a shortened version of the 612's aluminum space frame chassis and a
detuned version of the Enzo V12, you get the idea how it works… look at
these figures first: 620 horsepower, or 105 horses more than its
predecessor; Kerb weight 1690 kilograms, 40 kilos lighter. Its
power-to-weight ratio will beat a Lamborghini Murcielago LP640.
Now the performance figures: 205mph-plus, zero to 62mph in 3.7 seconds,
0-124 mph in 11.0 seconds. Now it is comfortably faster than F430 and
the new 911 Turbo, and should give the Lamborghini flagship a lot of
hard time. However, the most mind-blowing fact is that it is now faster
than the mighty F40 (that 478 horsepower, 1100kg carbon-fiber road
racer). Ferrari said it laps Fiorano 5 seconds quicker !
In the 599GTB, I have a feeling that various technologies have finally
matured. The first one is the front-engined chassis. 550 / 575
Maranello showed that a front-engined machine could deliver fabulous
handling, but it had not optimized the layout yet. People still
preferred mid-engined layout for supercars because of superior
rear-wheel traction (as more weight acted on the rear wheels) and
responsive steering (as less weight over the front wheels). However, in
the 599GTB Ferrari achieved a
front-rear weight distribution of 47:53 (while 575M was 50:50). This
was implemented by pushing the front axle forward and mounting the
gearbox at the rear axle. The figure is almost optimum for the best
handling, with traction, balance and security considered. If the
engineers could shift more weight towards the rear, I guess they would
still prefer the current setting.
from balance, the Scaglietti's all-aluminum body and chassis also
benefits dynamics, for it is lighter yet stiffer. Its lightweight
bodyshell and small diameter twin-plate clutch help achieving a center
of gravity 20mm lower than 575M. As before, it rides on classic
unequal-length double-wishbone suspensions. What's new is the
introduction of Delphi's magnetorheological adaptive damping (similar
to Chevrolet Corvette's Magnetic Ride Control, also by Delphi). It can
infinitely alter damping stiffness by applying current to the
magnetorheological medium. Braking is provided by either conventional
cast-iron discs or Brembo carbon ceramic discs.
Another technology finally getting
matured is the F1-Superfast gearbox. In automatic mode where it used to
be jerky, now it shifts reasonably smooth. However, the most impressive
is how fast it makes gearshifts in manual mode: only 100ms, versus
150ms in F430 and 250ms in 575M. It makes full-blown acceleration
almost uninterrupted. Very exciting !
As for the V12 engine, we have little surprise. It shares the same 65˚
engine block, 6.0-litre capacity and 11.2:1 compression with Enzo's
660hp unit, as is the fully variable valve timing. But it employs a
fixed intake system and steel connecting rods instead of titanium ones.
Strangely, the engine is capable to spin to 8400rpm, 200rpm higher than
Enzo. It produces 620 horsepower at 7600 rpm, 448 lbft of torque at
5600 rpm. From 3500rpm ninety percent of the maximum torque is
available, so this engine is super powerful yet tractable.
On the Road
moment you start the engine, you will realize this is one of the few
future classics you could encounter in your life. Like all the best
Ferraris, it has a wonderful V12 engine which loves to rev, to sing and
to deliver output in a linear, easy-going manner. Unlike Maranello, the
599 engine produces a marvelous soundtrack whose volume and urgency
progress linearly according to rev.
With 620 horsepower on call from a flexible engine, acceleration is by
all means sensational. We have no reason to doubt Ferrari's performance
claim, especially in the presence of the effective launch control and
the super-fast gearbox. In fact, its performance is clearly beyond the
reach of F430, and closer to the level of Enzo. It will eat Mercedes
SL65 AMG for breakfast. It won't fear McLaren SLR either.
The ride is firm but composed, thanks to the adaptive damping. However,
most impressive is handling. Read this: it has better handling than
F430 ! it has a body control superior than the mid-engined Ferrari. It
corners flatly, thanks to the great chassis balance and long wheelbase.
It steers so responsively and eagerly as if there were no mass at the
nose. It has bags of grip and powerful braking (although brake pedal
lacks initial bite). The steering occurs to be too light at first
acquaintance but is actually full of feedback.
Whatever mid-engined supercars can do, so can the 599GTB. At the same
time, it offers the confidence-inspiring driving manner and the
packaging advantage (cabin space, luggage room and visibility)
unavailable in mid-engined supercars. It can be a daily car driven to
work. It can be a cross-continental express. It can be exploited on any
kinds of roads. Its talent is far broader than Murcielago, Enzo,
Carrera GT, SLR, Zonda, Veyron, Koenigsegg... Yes, Enzo Ferrari was
right. The best Ferrari should be V12-powered and front-engined. If he
see this from heaven, he would be proud of 599GTB.
above report was last updated on 16 Jun 2006. All Rights Reserved.
|Designed for homologation or not, 599
GTO is a worthy successor to the original GTO.
We love the "regular"
599GTB very much. To this date it is still the best driving and most
rounded GT in the world, especially with HGTE handling pack. However,
that doesn't stop the car from improving. Unquestionably, more power
and less weight can only make the 599 even better. This thinking leads
to the birth of 599 GTO.
Ferrari produced two series of GTO before, one was 250 GTO in 1962,
another was 288 GTO in 1984. The
name GTO stands for Gran Turismo
Omologata, which means a grand tourer designed specially for racing
homologation. That was how the first two GTOs were conceived. The same
cannot be said to 599 GTO, which is designed to earn extra profit for
Maranello rather than taking part in motor racing. However, this car
becomes the hottest road-going Ferrari until the replacement of Enzo
arrived. Its £300,000 price sounds not too expensive for a
limited production run of 599 units, especially compared with the
£340,000 first attempt of Toyota supercar, Lexus LF-A.
As expected, the 599 GTO is 50 ponies more powerful yet 85 kilos
lighter than the standard car. This translates to a 14-percent
improvement of power-to-weight ratio, which also beats Lamborghini
Murcielago LP670-4 SV by 5 percent. Its aerodynamics have been tweaked
to increase downforce without deteriorating drag. Its brakes, tires and
suspensions were all enhanced. The result is higher performance, of
course. 0-60 mph acceleration is shortened from 3.65 to 3.3 seconds.
Top speed inches up to 208 mph. Most significant, it is
claimed to lap Fiorano track in 1 min 24 sec, a second quicker than
Enzo and 458 Italia, or two and a half ticks less than the standard 599
||Power-to-weight beats Lamborghini
LP670-4 SV by 5 percent...
Outside, the GTO looks sufficiently
different from the GTB. Its more aggressive aerodynamic kits include
deeper front spoilers and skirts, an additional wing at the front
splitter and larger diffusers at the back. The bonnet has a more
pronounced power bulge and additional ventilation holes. Above all, the
most apparent change is the black greenhouse - it looks like
fabricated in carbon-fiber, but it is actually metal painted in matt
The body shell of GTO is still largely made of aluminum, albeit in
thinner gauge aluminum to trim weight. Other weight saving measures
include thinner glass, lighter aero underbody, lighter
transmission (-8kg), lighter Brembo CCM brakes (3kg lighter than
original CCM brakes), lighter exhaust system (cuts 13kg by using
hydroforming)... The cabin is another battleground of weight killing. A
total of 33 kg is saved by using carbon-fiber-backed racing buckets, by
replacing leather trim with suede and carbon-fiber, and by deleting
carpets. Nevertheless, Ferrari has not changed its role as a grand
tourer. Comfort items like sound insulation, air-conditioning, power
windows and audio system are intact. GTO differs very much from
Scuderia or Porsche RS in this respect.
The standard V12 engine is already a very powerful unit. It delivers as
much as 103 horsepower per liter and is capable to spin to 8400 rpm
redline. So how does Ferrari push its specific output beyond 110 hp per
liter ? On paper, the GTO engine does not seem much different. Its
displacement and compression ratio are unchanged at 5999 cc and 11.2:1
respectively. Its four camshafts are still served with variable cam
phasing. Its intake manifolds are still fixed type. However, open the
bonnet and you will see the red plenums are the same as those found on
the experimental 599XX. In particular, they are interconnected by a
resonance tube at the front end. This serves to enhance cylinder
filling at high rev, explaining why the new V12 could deliver its peak
power at sky-high 8250 rpm instead of the previous 7600 rpm.
||Intake system comes from 599XX
The exhaust system is also simplified from 6-into-2-into-1 to 6-into-1,
reducing back-pressure while making the exhaust note louder, the latter
should silence those criticized the GTB as too civilized. Besides,
Ferrari achieved a 12 percent reduction of internal friction, thanks to
diamond-like carbon coating on tappets and microfinished cam lobes,
among others. Windage in the crankcase is also reduced thanks to
aero-friendly counterweights on crankshaft. As a result, the GTO can
pump out 670 horsepower, overtaking the late Enzo supercar as the
most powerful production Ferrari.
The 6-speed automated manual gearbox in GTO may be the last iteration
of its kind - before dual-clutch gearbox taking over. It improves from
the GTB unit in several ways. Firstly, its gearshift is quickened from
100ms to 60ms, matching that of Scuderia. Secondly, it allows multiple
downshift by holding the shift paddle. Thirdly, its final drive is
shortened by 6 percent to improve responsiveness across the range.
Handling is enhanced in various areas. The suspension gets new springs
and stiffer rear anti-roll bar. Ride height is 20mm lower than GTB and
10mm lower than HGTE. Like 458 Italia, it adopts the second
generation magnetorheological adaptive damping, which reacts faster,
has lower internal friction thus deals better with high-frequency small
bumps on the road. Also similar to its smaller brother, its steering
rack is quickened by some 20 percent. The second generation Brembo
brakes are lighter and more consistent at the limit, thanks to the use
of ceramic pad for the first time. The F1-Trac
traction control, VDC stability control, ABS and adaptive damping have
been integrated to work in harmony, enabling
the GTO to flow in the twisty like Scuderia and Italia. However, the
most important of all are probably the specially developed Michelin
tires. The front rubbers have grown considerably from 245/35 to 285/30,
reduce understeer and improve roadholding significantly. The rears have
been widened slightly to 315/35. Unusually, its front tires have lower
profile than the rear ones.
||The slight understeer of the old car
gives way to endless neutrality...
Just as our
technical analysis implies, the GTO is absolutely marvelous to drive.
In fact, its superiority over the standard GTB reminisces how the
original 250GTO compared with 250GT SWB. At low speed, it is no less
obedient as the GTB. The V12 pulls willingly at low rpm. The F1 gearbox
shifts smoothly at Auto mode. The ride is no less comfortable on
Italian country roads. Yet once you change the Manettino switch to Race
mode and floor down the throttle, you will be amazed with its lightning
gearchanges and the accompanying g-force. Thanks to the clever traction
control, there is no wheel spin at all, yet the intervention of
electronics is so seamless that you can hardly notice. Consequently,
the acceleration is so linear and fuss-free that it can easily pass the
ton at an Enzo-beating 6 seconds. Meanwhile, the cockpit is dominated
by the frantic scream of the V12, which is so thrilling that you won't
mind to listen all day.
The chassis dynamics is equally impressive. Compare with HGTE, it grips
harder, it brakes stronger, it steers sharper. The slight understeer of
the old car gives way to endless neutrality - unless you really do
stupid things. Being a front-engined machine, it is not prone to
oversteer either. As a result, the GTO flows through the twisty with
amazing fluency and precision, hence unrivaled confidence. Admittedly,
part of this confidence comes from the seamless intervention of
stability and traction control. Of course, if you want to take full
control, you can switch the Manettino to CST-Off. However, even so the
GTO is still a great handler, because it has the best inherently
balanced chassis on the supercar field.
The biggest achievement of GTO is perhaps its accessible performance.
Many mid-engined supercars, such as Bugatti, Koenigsegg, Zonda or
Lamborghini LP670-4 SV, are too wide and low for exploiting on public
roads. They became more Autobahn express or Nurburgring specials. The
GTO is different. It is relatively compact to drive fast on mountain
roads. It has normal visibility, a natural driving position and proper
creature comfort to be used as an everyday supercar. Simultaneously, it
has the sharp handling and strong performance you would expect for a
tier 1 supercar. This make it a worthy successor to the original GTO,
although it is not exactly designed for racing homologation.
above report was last updated on 21 May 2010. All Rights Reserved.
|Length / width / height
|Other engine features
|0-60 mph (sec)
|0-100 mph (sec)
1960 / 1335 mm
|DOHC 48 valves, DVVT
|620 hp / 7600 rpm
|448 lbft / 5600 rpm
|6-speed automated manual
|1690 kg (dry: 1580 kg)
|205+ (c) / 206* / 208** mph
|3.65 (c) / 3.4* / 3.4** / 3.2*** / 3.3****
|6.8* / 7.0*** / 6.8****
/ 1962 / 1326 mm
|DOHC 48 valves, DVVT
|670 hp / 8250 rpm
|457 lbft / 6500 rpm
|6-speed automated manual
|1605 kg (dry: 1495 kg)
|208+ (c) mph
tested by: *Quattroruote,
**AMS, ***R&T, ****C&D
by Mark Wan @ AutoZine