2014 Ferrari FF Review

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2014 Ferrari FF Overview

Now in its third year of production, the 2014 FF 2-door sport coupe represents a definite change of pace for Ferrari. Well-known for classic street racers like the F40, the Testarossa, the GTO and the GT Berlinetta, Ferrari has made a step toward more functional vehicles lately in an effort to remain relevant in an ever-changing automotive marketplace. When Porsche introduced its 4-door 4-passenger Panamera coupe in 2010, luxury- and performance-oriented automakers took notice. BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi jumped into the ring with the 6 Series Gran Coupe, the CLS-Class and the A7, respectively. Determined not to get left behind, Ferrari introduced the FF "Ferrari Four" in 2012. The FF comes equipped not only with the automaker's new 4RM Prancing Horse 4-wheel-drive (4WD) system, making it the first and only Ferrari delivering power to all 4 wheels, but it also seats 4 passengers and includes a rear tailgate, providing easy access to 15.8 cubic feet of cargo space in the trunk, making it a true grand tourer.

Of course, because it's a Ferrari, it's also incredibly fast. In fact, Ferrari calls the FF the most powerful 4-seater in the world and the most versatile Ferrari ever created. There's little reason to doubt such claims, since the FF makes the 0-to-60 jaunt in just 3.7 seconds and has a top speed of 208 mph. Those are pretty serious numbers by any calculation.

Power for the FF comes from a naturally aspirated direct-injection 6.2-liter V12, which pumps out 651 hp at 8,000 rpm and 504 lb-ft of torque at 6,000 rpm. The engine mates to a 7-speed F1 dual-clutch transmission, which Ferrari says is a first for any of its vehicles. The powerplant features a 25 percent reduction in CO2 emissions, compared to the automaker's previous V12 engines, and includes a start/stop function, which shuts off the engine when idling to conserve fuel. Ferrari puts the V12's fuel economy numbers at 11 mpg city/17 highway.

The FF's unique 4WD system does away with a typical transfer case, which requires a heavy driveshaft. Instead, to reduce weight, Ferrari places the 7-speed transmission over the rear axle, where it sends power to the rear wheels through an integrated electronic differential, or E-Diff, for optimal performance handling in typical driving situations. A second 2-speed transmission up front sends power to the front wheels only when required to improve stability on low-grip surfaces. Using this configuration, the FF sends power to all 4 wheels individually, with driver-selectable E-Diff, F1-Trac and PTU (power transfer unit) dynamic control modes, all integrated into a single CPU. The unique 4WD configuration results in a lower center of gravity and a 50 percent savings in weight when compared to other 4WD systems, according to the automaker. In addition, there's no connection between the front and rear axles, as they're managed by two independent traction and transmission systems.

The FF's shooting-brake-style exterior design remains controversial with some reviewers. Resembling a stubby station wagon, the FF features a long nose out front, a low grille, subtle overhangs, prominent wheel wells and a cabin positioned far back on the body. Some find the cabin and rear end a little too long and bulbous, rather than petite and sporty, but others say the design works and makes for a distinctive profile. Ferrari, for its part, calls the Pininfarina-designed FF sleek, streamlined and sophisticated. Either way, it's certainly a departure for the automaker. The simplistic grille features 2 horizontal and 5 vertical slats, with the automaker's iconic Prancing Horse planted firmly in the center. Long bubble headlights frame the sculpted hood, while lower front air intakes and side air vents provide visual appeal as well as functionality. Air vents beside the rear taillights, as well as a rear diffuser, also help manage airflow and aerodynamics.

The FF's aluminum chassis helps keep weight down, while a sporty stance ensures road-hugging handling. The suspension features double wishbones in the front and a multilink configuration in the rear. In addition, Ferrari equips the FF with its third-generation SCM3 magneto-rheological suspension system, which features electronically controlled magnetic-field dampers at all 4 wheels. The dampers adjust every millisecond to road conditions and driver inputs, instantly modifying torque to each wheel to provide tight, responsive handling as well as ride comfort and stability.

The FF holds the distinction as the first Ferrari to come equipped with third-generation Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes, which are smaller (by 10 percent), lighter and more durable than the previous versions. The performance-oriented braking system also includes Ferrari's Pre-Fill logic system, which activates the calipers when the driver removes his foot from the gas pedal to reduce brake response time and provide improved brake feel and stopping distance. In its standard configuration, the FF rides on 20-inch silver aluminum wheels.

For 2014, Ferrari equips the FF with a number of standard features previously available as options, including cruise control, a rear parking camera, power-adjustable seats, auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors and an automatic tailgate. The sporty cabin seats 4 passengers in body-hugging, well-bolstered seats in a 2+2 arrangement, with long center consoles between the seats in each row. The heated front seats are supportive and provide plenty of legroom and headroom, but testers say the rear seats can be a tight fit for taller adults. The rear seats fold forward individually to expand cargo space, which checks in at 15.8 cubic feet with the rear seats up. That expands to 28.25 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. Numerous other storage spaces throughout the cabin make the FF a versatile vehicle for families, as well as a performance-oriented grand touring vehicle for traveling and vacations.

Yards of leather upholstery, available in a choice of 6 exclusive colors, come standard in the cabin, along with an F1-inspired flat-bottomed sport steering wheel equipped with paddle shifters and controls for audio and cruise. The sporty dash features a number of unique features, including a central Ferrari-yellow instrument gauge, as well as ancillary gauges, aluminum trim and a 6.5-inch central touchscreen. Dual-zone climate control comes standard, with large round front and rear vents for all passengers, including 5 vents on the dash alone. A 9-speaker 640-watt audio system with Bluetooth and 2 USB ports comes standard, while owners can upgrade to a 16-speaker 1,280-watt audio system. Ferrari also includes a voice-activated satellite navigation system with 3D maps. Remote keyless entry also comes standard, while ventilated seats and a rear DVD entertainment system are among the options.

Safety features include electronic stability control (ESC) and a Dynamic Vehicle Control system with Comfort, Sport, Wet and Ice-Snow settings, as well as an ESC-Off setting for drivers who wish to unleash the FF to its fullest potential.

Owners can customize the FF to their heart's content. Ferrari offers 16 standard exterior colors, as well as 6 unique FF exterior colors, including Rosso Maranello, Grigio Abu Dhabi, Blu America, Verde British Racing, Grigio Ferro Met and Bianco Italia. Owners can also choose exterior colors from the 1950s and '60s. Personalized wheels are also available, along with brake calipers in a variety of colors, unique side mirrors, interior headliners and 2-tone leather upholstery.

Updated

Rob has been a contributor to CarGurus since 2007, and an automotive test-driver and writer since the early ’90s. He’s test-driven everything from BMWs and Jags to Bentleys and Saabs, with an occasional Range Rover, Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini thrown in. He also created the annual Car of the Year and Exotic Car of the Year awards for Robb Report magazine. He currently resides in Florida.

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