The endless quest for perfection ensured that a Ferrari model rarely lingered longer that it took to sell the modest production run. And so it was with the splendid 575M Maranello and its glamorous derivative, the 575M Superamerica. Four years was all it took (just two for the Superamerica) before high-powered wheels turned and delivered a new Ferrari flagship to the Geneva Motor Show in 2006. Enter the 599 GTB Fiorano.
Needless to say, this dashing two-seater berlinetta coupe was styled by Pininfarina, with a little help from Ferrari’s Frank Stephenson, and the new model was lengthily named for its 5.99 litre V12 engine, Gran Turismo Berlinetta form and Ferrari’s Fiorano test track where sporting pedigree was first proven. When wheels turn the world moves onward and hopefully upward and the 599 GTB was definitely in the upwardly mobile category, being the most powerful Ferrari production model ever to prance in the supercar jungle.
Many felt the 599 GTB had a slightly menacing air, despite its sleek curves and beautiful exterior, but this was no mindless brute. A new F1-Trac traction control system made its debut whilst MagnaRide suspension ensured comfort with no loss of handling or cornering prowess. There was a choice between FD1 paddle-change and a six-speed manual gearbox, with any serious driver choosing the latter —the sequential thing zips through the cogs with neck-jerking intensity.
That wasn’t all the reviewers found to carp about: this big car isn’t an ideal ride in traffic. But all are agreed that on the open road (or better still at your friendly neighborhood circuit’s track day) the 599 GTB’s fabulous engineering and race-bred performance make such cares fall away and allow the magic to rule. After all, who ever bought a Ferrari to commute to work through rush-hour streets?
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
5,999 cc DOHC V12
Top speed of 205 mph (330 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 3.7 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
That favourite unveiling location just over the Alps from Northern Italy— the Geneva Motor Show — saw another spectacular new arrival from Maranello in 2009 in the elegant shape of the Ferrari 599XX, a lightweight racing version of the 599 GTB.