What's New for 2007
The 2007 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano replaces the 575M Maranello. Blessed with a retuned version of the Enzo's V12, the lighter, faster and more agile 599 Fiorano is also comfortable enough to use as a daily driver.
The challenge put to the engineering team on the 2007 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano was lofty: Surpass the performance of the legendary Ferrari F40 while simultaneously providing the refined, daily driver livability of the outgoing 575M Maranello. Getting a man to the moon might have been an easier task.
Somehow, Ferrari has been able to pull it off. As with the 575, the new 599 GTB Fiorano has a V12 engine positioned ahead of the passenger compartment. With styling penned by Pininfarina, the 599 resembles the 612 Scaglietti in front but then goes its own way with its rising haunches, flying-buttress roof pillars and assortment of air intakes and extractors. Underneath, the 599 shares the new architecture that Ferrari uses on the 612 Scaglietti, meaning light yet strong all-aluminum space frame construction. Extra effort went into weight optimization, with the 599's mass being centralized for better handling responsiveness.
Considering that there's 612 horsepower propelling a relatively svelte 3,722 pounds, the weight to power ratio of the 599 GTB stands at 6.1 pounds per hp. That's a stunning number that soundly bests that of street legal, but cramped and thinly disguised racecars such as the Lotus Exige. Ferrari claims a 3.7-second 0-62-mph (100 km/h) time and, without the need for a gaudy rear wing or blocky front airdam, a top speed in excess of 200 mph. A sophisticated suspension features magnetic dampers that firm up in milliseconds in response to aggressive cornering, yet soften up for relaxed interstate cruising, allowing the 599 GTB to serve up both thrills and comfort when needed.
Of course, none of this comes cheap. Ferrari's asking $320,000, and the company is not only getting it, it's getting enough demand that the waiting list for the car can stretch into the "years" category. And that's if you're already a Ferrari-owning customer. If one simply can't wait that long to blow hundreds of thousands of dollars on a car, there's the Lamborghini Murcielago (which offers the security of all-wheel drive), the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren (but which lists for around $200K more than the 599) or even the 599's sibling, the 612 Scaglietti (which offers four-seat practicality). But the latter consideration hardly comes into play for shoppers in this segment. Ferrari F40 performance from a comfortable V12-powered GT? We know where we'd be spending our lottery winnings.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2007 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano comes solely as a two-seat coupe in one trim level. Standard equipment includes xenon headlights, 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels wearing 245/40 front and 305/35 rear performance tires, an adaptive suspension system, automatic dual-zone climate control, power front seats, a power-adjustable steering wheel and a Bose audio system with a trunk-mounted six-disc CD changer.
Optional features include front/rear park assist, heated front seats, carbon-fiber interior accents, a space-saver spare tire kit, run-flat tires, carbon/ceramic racing brakes and a six-piece fitted leather luggage set. Those seeking further distinction may request special interior and exterior colors.
Powertrains and Performance
A 6.0-liter V12 that produces 612 horsepower and 448 pound-feet of torque powers the 599 Fiorano. That prodigious output is sent to the rear tires via either a traditional six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed "F1" transmission. The F1 is a manual transmission with an automated clutch. Drivers can choose a fully automatic shifting mode or manually select gears via steering-wheel-mounted paddles. Ferrari claims the 599 Fiorano is capable of hitting 60 mph in less than 3.7 seconds and running up to a top speed of around 205 mph.
Antilock disc brakes, stability control and traction control are standard. Side- and side-curtain airbags are not available, as Ferrari claims that the 599 provides excellent protection without needing them.
Interior Design and Special Features
Unlike ultra-performance cars of old, the 2007 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano offers much more than a sparsely finished cockpit with a minimum of luxury features. The well-shaped seats are finished in premium hides, while aluminum accents enrich the ambience. Buyers can even choose a carbon-fiber steering wheel with integrated LEDs that move in lockstep with engine revs. Drivers can adjust the car's many interactive systems (such as stability control, suspension settings and F1-gearbox response) via a knob on the steering wheel called the "manettino" -- Italian for little manager.
In addition to the expected pin-you-to-the-seat thrills, the 599 GTB provides a soundtrack that should please hard-core enthusiasts. The unmistakable shriek of the V12 under hard acceleration changes to a guttural hum at part throttle and nearly disappears at high cruising speeds where wind noise is the only indication of pace. The F1 gearbox provides "blink of an eye" changes that no human could hope to match.
The 599 GTB remains so flat while cornering and so glued to the road that all the usual indicators (body roll, tire squeal, sliding) of a car approaching (or exceeding) its limits are virtually erased. The only method to determine the traction envelope is by gauging neck muscle strain under hard braking and cornering. But despite its track star handling, the 599's steering leaves a bit to be desired -- it's too light at ultra-high speeds, where more heft is reassuring. The ratio also seems a touch slow for an exotic sports car, as tight cornering requires more hand movement than we'd expect.
The semi-active suspension works miracles on nearly any surface, swallowing bumps without drama and imparting a feel of being planted to the road at all times. The adjustable stability control has a "Race" setting that we feel should allow a little more leeway for an advanced driver, though most buyers will never approach those limits that we probed on Ferrari's test track during our experience with the 2007 Ferrari 599 GTB.