Ferrari has long been one of the most successful names in international Formula One racing, with the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano originally conceived as a street-legal racecar that’s built for enthusiastic everyday use. It was named for the company’s test track near its Marinello, Italy factory.
Introduced for the 2008 model year, this ultra-exotic two-passenger coupe is guaranteed to garner attention with its sweepingly rakish styling that pays homage to classic F1 Ferraris with a long hood, short rear deck and functional air dams all around. Inside, passengers are treated to a snug but opulent leather-clad interior with heavily bolstered sports seats and a dashboard that’s trimmed in aluminum and carbon fiber materials.
But speed is the selling point here, and the 599 GTB Fiorano delivers plenty of it with a 6.0-liter V12 engine that generates a scorching 612 horsepower, but with “just” 448 pound-feet of torque. Only the brand’s legendary Enzo’s V12 packed more power. This “mid-mounted” engine resides just behind the front axle to maintain an optimal front-to-rear weight balance, which in turn helps maximize its handling agility.
While a six-speed manual is standard, most buyers will prefer the competition-derived “F1-SuperFast” six-speed automated manual gearbox in the F1A version that can be operated automatically or via steering wheel-mounted paddles. It’s claimed to switch gears in as quick as 100 milliseconds, with the fastest shifts occurring during higher operating speeds.
Ferrari claims the rear-drive 599 GTB Fiorano can rocket its way to 60 mph in just over 3.5 seconds, with a dizzying top speed of 204 mph, which makes it one of the quickest cars in the world.
The Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano rides on 19-inch wheels and tires up front and 20-inch rims and rubber at the rear. Its high-tech suspension borrows technology from what to Ferrari enthusiasts must seem to be an unlikely source, namely General Motors. Specifically the car includes a version of the Magnetic Selective Ride Control system that’s offered in the Chevrolet Corvette and other models. It precisely governs wheel and body motion via “magneto-rheological” fluid in each of the car’s shock absorbers, the viscosity of which (and, in turn, the stiffness of the shock absorbers) is affected by a magnetic current.
The automaker’s sophisticated “Manettino” (it’s Italian for “little lever”) control system is onboard to tailor the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano’s various integrated systems – including the aforementioned transmission and suspension, as well as its advanced F1-Trac stability control system – according to “sport” and “race” set- tings. The former strikes a balance between performance and roadway stability, while the latter goes for broke with maximum acceleration and handling prowess.
An optional HGTE package (it stands for Handling Gran Turismo Evoluzione), ratchets up the base car’s performance a bit. It includes a slightly lower ride height, modified suspension and exhaust systems and more aggressive programming for the engine and transmission software. It also features specific wheels and interior trim items.
For accomplished drivers wealthy enough to indulge themselves in amateur racing pursuits – and are willing to risk the unwelcome (not to mention expensive) proposition of putting the 599 GTB Fiorano into a wall – the automaker offers a Racing and Track option package that includes carbon-ceramic brakes, 20-inch one-piece wheels with run-flat tires, four-point seat harnesses and a cockpit- mounted roll bar.
The 599 GTB Fiorano otherwise comes adequately equipped and affords myriad customization options, but in the classical tradition it eschews gimmicky bells and whistles. For those who like to accessorize, an optional luggage set is designed not only to match the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, but also to fit within the confines of its diminutive trunk.
Granted, houses in some areas of the country sell for less money than it takes to buy a Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, but we doubt there’s much buyer’s remorse among the privileged few who can afford one and are able to fully tap its performance capabilities.
Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano Quick Facts
Engine: 6.0 Liter V12
Horsepower: 612 @ 7,600 rpm
Torque: 448 @ 5,600 rpm
City/Highway: MPG 11/15
Transmission: 6-Spd Manual, 6-Spd Auto Manual
Wheelbase: 108.3 in
Overall Length: 183.7 in
Width: 77.2 in
Height: 52.6 in
Curb Weight: 3,722 lbs
Did You Know?
A variation on the 599 GTB Fiorano, the 599XX, is designed for track use, with its engine tweaked to produce a stirring 720 horsepower, along with other race-ready enhancements. Unfortunately since the 599XX is not street legal, Ferrari felt compelled to offer as much of its inherent goodness as possible for affluent enthusiasts in a limited production – since sold out – 599 GTO model. The automaker says this is its fastest road car ever with 661 horsepower and the ability to reach 60 mph from a standing start in around 3.3 seconds; top speed is said to be 209 mph. The only other two models in Ferrari’s history to receive the GTO designation were the still-desirable 1962 250 GTO and the 1984 288 GTO.