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With its free-revving V12 and racecar-like cornering capability, the 2010 Ferrari 599 GTB can match the world's best exotics for performance. Yet it also boasts a luxurious cabin and a reasonably supple ride.
Blazing V12 acceleration; track-ready handling; sumptuous interior; daily-driver ride comfort; getting to say you own a 599.
Dizzying price; disappointing steering feel; antiquated infotainment electronics.
The previously optional carbon-ceramic brakes are now standard for 2010, along with a navigation system, rear parking sensors and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Lusting after the 2010 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano? Join the club. With the 599, you get a V12 sourced from the legendary Enzo, supercar handling that belies the car's size, and styling that'll have the paparazzi abandoning their Kardashian stakeouts. Oh, and it's not only a Ferrari; it's the most expensive Ferrari.
That 612-horsepower V12 takes the 599 to 60 mph in about 3.5 seconds before carrying on to a top speed of 205 mph. While it's doing all that, the V12 is blaring its way to an 8,400 rpm redline with that intoxicating mechanical scream that has become a Ferrari trademark. So it's indeed tremendously fast and sounds incredible -- again, no surprise there.
Handling is superb, especially given the 599's 2-ton weight. Credit for this impressive talent goes to the sophisticated suspension with its active dampers that firm up in milliseconds in response to aggressive cornering, yet ease off for relaxed interstate cruising. Of course, such performance is a bit surprising, as Ferraris have seldom been considered comfortable enough for a good road trip (that's what an Aston Martin is for).
If you want to nitpick, the steering effort is lighter at high speeds than many would prefer. The in-car electronics are also behind the times. Then there's the price. Sure, even if you have enough money to bring home a 599, it's still quite pricey given the many equally thrilling (and cheaper) supercars available for your driving pleasure.
Perhaps the main reason not to buy a Ferrari 599 is that the new Ferrari 458 Italia is a better car in most respects. It's quicker despite its smaller engine, costs less, handles better, has a nicer interior and still offers a comfortable ride. It's also more attractive, in our opinion. Then again, the 458 lacks the 599's V12 cachet.
In this case, it's probably just fine to lust after both.
The 2010 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano is a two-seat coupe available in one trim level. Standard equipment includes 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels shod in performance tires, xenon headlights, an adaptive suspension system with magnetic dampers, carbon-ceramic brakes, rear parking sensors, automatic dual-zone climate control, power seats, leather upholstery and interior trim, a power-adjustable tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a navigation system and an eight-speaker Becker sound system with a CD player.
The optional HGTE package (Handling Gran Turismo Evoluzione) specifies stiffer springs and a beefed-up rear antiroll bar along with revised shock-absorber calibration, a lower ride height, a unique high-performance tire compound, quicker shifts from the F1 automated-clutch manual gearbox, more immediate throttle response and a throatier exhaust note. HGTE also adds unique exterior and interior styling cues.
Other options include different wheel designs, a space-saver spare tire, run-flat tires, front parking sensors, tinted rear windows, a carbon-fiber racing wheel with integrated LED shift lights, fully powered Recaro sport seats, an iPod interface, a six-CD changer and a Bose Hi Fi premium audio system. There are also innumerable exterior paint and leather color choices, and two carbon-fiber interior trim packages.
The 599 GTB Fiorano is powered by a 6.0-liter V12 that sends 612 hp and 448 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels. Ferrari offers a traditional six-speed manual transmission as standard or a six-speed single-clutch automated manual transmission with paddle shifters as an option. Acceleration to 60 mph is said to take 3.5 seconds. Fuel economy (as if you could possibly care) is 11 mpg city/15 mpg highway and 12 mpg combined.
Antilock disc brakes, stability control and traction control are standard. Notably, side and side curtain airbags are not available.
Unlike supercars of old, the 2010 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano offers much more than a cramped cockpit with minimal accoutrements. The well-shaped seats are finished in premium hides, while aluminum accents enrich the ambience. Buyers can choose from a variety of extended leather or faux-suede trims to embellish things further, while those who want a taste of F1 in their road-going Ferrari can even select a carbon-fiber steering wheel with integrated LEDs that move in lockstep with engine revs.
The car's many interactive systems (such as stability control, suspension settings and F1 gearbox response) can be adjusted via a knob on the steering wheel called the manettino -- Italian for "little manager." If you're looking for the latest infotainment electronics features, however, the 599 is a little behind the times. The standard navigation system offers a tiny, antiquated screen and there's no HD or satellite radio available. Still, do you really need 180 commercial-free channels when you have 612 raging horses screaming just a few feet in front of you?
In addition to predictably brutal acceleration -- that's what 612 hp will do for you -- the 2010 Ferrari 599 GTB provides a soundtrack to savor. 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 practically the only indication of pace. The F1 gearbox provides instantaneous gearchanges that no human could hope to match with the standard six-speed manual, but its single-clutch design prevents it from being as tractable in low-speed traffic as the dual-clutch unit found in the Ferrari California and 458 Italia.
In tight corners, the 599 GTB remains composed and poised, without a hint of body roll or squealing tires. It's hard to imagine improvement here, but the HGTE package does sharpen the 599's character a touch. The adaptive suspension damping works miracles on nearly any surface, swallowing bumps without drama while keeping the car planted in all situations.
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