The cabin is flooded with the grace of the engine and as the speed increases, the FF becomes even more eager to show us what it’s capable of. For now it’s enough, we gradually ease off the throttle and and stark seeking the Grand Tourer nature of this Ferrari.
Despite being motivated by the largest engine ever fitted to a Ferrari road car, the FF is extremely easy to drive. If you want, the aforementioned soundtrack becomes a mild symphony and the powerplant is more than happy to cruise along under 2,000 rpm in seventh gear.
The double-clutch gearbox makes sure that you get to the top gear smoothly. The same word can be used for the ride, which, apart from being a bit unsettled on rare occasions, is pleasant.
In between these comfortable bits and pieces, the Ferrari FF hides driving thrills that keep you connected throughout the journey - a short outburst of the exhaust or the feeling of road adhesion through the curves. You really don’t need to go fast in order to enjoy the character of this car.
There is one complain though and that concerns the engine braking - the FF is quick to reduce speed whenever you take your foot off the throttle. That’s excellent if you’re in a hurry, but when you use the “Comfort” setting of the Manettino a more fluent movement would’ve been welcome. This and some extra protection against the sun on the side windows.
During our test drive, we were never in a hurry - we didn’t have to get anywhere in a certain time, so we opened the throttle wide for pure pleasure.
The pulling power is overwhelming, as if gears or revs wouldn’t exist and when it comes to gear changes, you’ll be in the next ratio before you know it. As you get close to the 8,000 rpm rev limit, you enter a new dimension of this car and meet its sharp side.
The steering is superior to that in the 458
, as it offers the same excellent feedback but is not all that light anymore. We would’ve liked an even firmer setup in the “Sport” Manettino position though. The FF is very eager to turn in and shows absolutely no respect for the notion of body roll.
The pedal on the left brings one of the best forms of modulation we’ve ever met, not just in the world of carbon ceramic brakes but in general. As for the deceleration power, this is a perfect tool to get you out of many situations.
Thanks to the weight distribution and the four-wheel drive setup, the handling is neutral. This has to be the least understeering car we’ve ever driven. The Ferrari FF may weight almost 4,200 lbs (1,900 kg), but it doesn’t feel like it. Instead, it’s agile and happy to follow all your commands.
When the electronic guardian angels are watching, you don’t get oversteer either, but we headed to a track in order to see what happens when we send them to handle harp singing.
On the circuit, we became friends to the ESC Off position of the Manettino and discovered that the FF does show a tad of initial understeer, followed by a slight reduction in the otherwise amazing speed increase through the corners. If you insist, this Ferrari will turn its rear tires into smoke, but you do end up running a bit wide on certain occasions - the car doesn’t have a particular appetite for this kind of driving and this is because it was set up not to. Time to move on then.
The dunes are flying past at an amazing speed, especially since we’re seeing them mainly through the side windows. Ferrari has a strong presence in the Middle East, so we decided to test the FF’s low grip abilities on sand rather than snow and ice.
With the Manettino set to the ESC Off position, the FF makes an astonishing dancer when grip is low, being quite eager to push its rear end out under heavy throttle. Since the front wheels only receive traction as an aid, the oversteer dominates the game, it’s not a neutral balance. You basically feel you’re in a RWD car that benefits of some front axle help once things start to get dangerously sideways. Thus, you have to apply less throttle than in other AWD performance machines in order to drift.
In poor grip situations like this, the light steering of the FF is perfect and the suspension can cope with the various irregularities in a brilliant way.
As we finish drawing on the sand, we look at the center console and thank the ECU hidden inside of it for the bewildering precision of the handling. On our way back to the road, we place the Manettino in the “Ice-Snow” position - the car doesn’t deviate from its trajectory no matter how hard we push the throttle, offering an impressive peace of mind.
Definitions need updating every once in a while in order to keep up with the times and the FF has just done that for the Grand Tourer segment.Continue reading
Hold on, Mary would like to say something...
To me, the Ferrari FF is just like men - the best looking ones will most certainly bring trouble, but if you don’t place appearances at the top of your priorities, you may just end up meeting a good guy. Yes, this may not be the most handsome Prancing Horse I’ve ever met, but it sure has given me a hell of a good time.
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