Used 2002 Ferrari 575M Coupe
Edmunds' Expert Review
A glorious revival of Ferrari's front-mounted V12 sports car design.
Introduced to the U.S. market in 1997, the 550 Maranello was an instant hit with both the Ferrari faithful and the general American public, due in no small part to its striking appearance. As a replacement for the outgoing 512M (itself an evolution of the '80s icon, mid-engine Testarossa model), the 550 signaled a return to Ferrari's legendary V12/front-engine/two-seat design philosophy that had endeared earlier models, such as the 365 Daytona and 275 GT, to fans of the prancing horse.
With the 550 Maranello, Ferrari had certain goals. Specifically, the company wanted a car that could meet the driving needs of its most demanding customers while simultaneously providing a level of comfort and convenience previously unavailable in a Ferrari.
Named after the town from which all Ferraris originate, the Maranello combines high-tech luxury features with a powerful V12 engine to create the ultimate Gran Turismo automobile. This year, the slight name change signifies more power. With the V12 boosted via an increase of 0.25 liters of capacity, horsepower now peaks at 515, an increase of 30 ponies over last year's 5.5-liter unit. A Bosch Motronic fuel injection system feeds into four-valves-per-cylinder heads, while other engine components, like titanium connecting rods and forged aluminum pistons, contribute to light weight and durability. Performance claims include a 12.25-second quarter-mile and a top speed of 202 mph.
Also new is the availability of the F1-style six-speed gearbox. Previously, this clutchless-manual style of transmission could only be had on the 360 Modena and Spyder. A normal six-speed manual with a clutch and the classic Ferrari gated shifter is the standard gearbox. Both transmissions are incorporated into the rear differential for improved weight distribution.
Riding on a high-tensile steel tube frame, the 575M sports such performance aids as speed-sensitive steering, adjustable suspension (with comfort and sport modes), Brembo four-piston brakes with four-channel ABS, stability control and new 19-inch wheels with Z-rated tires.
Subtle changes to the exterior, such as xenon headlights and revised air intakes mark the 575M. The cockpit was also revamped with new sport seats and an instrument cluster, the latter featuring a huge, center-mounted tachometer to keep tabs on the mighty 12.
But, as stated earlier, performance is only part of the 575M equation. The Maranello pampers with eight-way (five of which are even power!) adjustable seats, a tilting/telescoping steering wheel, bright analog gauge displays and automatic climate control with sun radiation sensors for improved accuracy. Behind the seats is a large shelf with room for golf bags and even leather straps to keep them from scuffing the interior panels during high-G turns. A trunk-mounted CD changer is standard, as are automatically sealing windows for an airtight cabin at triple-digit speeds.
Yes, the 575M Maranello offers performance to impress the yacht club guys and convenience to keep the better half happy. But if the performance aspects of a Ferrari interest you more than luxury accoutrements, keep in mind that a 360 Modena stickers for about one third less than the Maranello while offering comparable performance.
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While we'd recommend anyone buying the Ferrari 575M Maranello be on excellent terms with her limitations as a driver, the truth is that unless you do something deeply stupid, there is virtually no way you can get into trouble driving this car; it's that good.
On the flipside, even the most capable driver will likely never find the 575's limits on public roads. This fabulous and gravely expensive toy is nearly guaranteed to be a better car than you are a driver. That is what the Italian sportscar company was aiming at, and that's where it got, with scant regard for your limitations or anyone else's.
Happily, this does not mean that the car is difficult or risky to drive, the way many great cars of the past have been. No, the 575M Maranello will graciously adapt itself to your abilities and isn't likely to embarrass you.
We learned this during solid sessions on the roads around the small city of Maranello, Italy (from whence the car gets its name), and then later on the test track Ferrari uses to develop, test and set up its F1 cars. Not one of the members of the group of North American journalists (which included some real duffers) managed to put a wheel wrong during the entire event. No gravel was crushed, no grass was abused, no egos were bruised.
That's quite an accomplishment from a car whose speedometer goes past 200 mph and is built to corner and brake at Grand Prix speeds. Any vehicle sold today can easily do 1.5 times this country's maximum posted speed limit, and a lot of them can do 2.0 times the maximum. There are even a few that are good for 2.5 times, but approaching 3.0 times is a very small club indeed, numbering maybe one or two.
The hard truth is that even people who have $216,000 for the base car (5.75-liter V12 and six-speed manual) or $226,000 (for the six-speed F1 automatic) still have to obey the speed limits.
But as long as their friends and, better, their enemies know from stories like this how fabulous the 575M is, they should be satisfied. Owning a Rembrandt is enough for most people, they don't always have to be winning contests with Picasso owners to keep them happy.
It would be a shame, however, if the people who were willing to wait two or more years for one of these cars never took it out for a shakedown. It really is a remarkable and wonderful experience to drive a car this fabulous at a great rate of speed.
It gives you goose bumps to be at the controls of something this accomplished, since its skill somehow transfers to you. It takes a unique car to make you better at a physical skill. You can play golf with Tiger Woods' golf clubs but it's not likely to make you shoot a lower score. Buying a Ferrari 575M Maranello will make you a better driver.
To a degree that surprised many of us, the latest Ferrari is also a singularly accommodating car. Previous models and the typical supercar used to beat their occupants up a little, as if a good portion of discomfort was part of the price you had to pay to be in a fabulous performance machine, but that requirement is gone.
You could easily drive this car from Florida to California and not need therapeutic massages at the end of the trip. It's comfortable, roomy, quiet and well-appointed. Our only comment about the interior involved the tach and speedo gauges. Normally, car companies go to all kinds of lengths to position those gauges so that their respective needles remain above 45 degrees during normal driving. But at regular driving speeds, the 575M's tach and speedo needles are, shall we say, flaccid. It gave one the oddest feeling that you weren't going fast, even though you absolutely were. Perhaps it's a Freudian thing.
Other than that minor quibble, there's precious little negative to say about the 575M. We can report that some of the racing geeks who were with us on the program thought various versions of the F1 transmission weren't that slick, but they could be wrong or the cars could be showing the effects of casual encounters with hot-shoe auto journalists from around the globe. It's not likely you'd notice it in the real world.
What will count in the real world is a 0-to-60 time of around 4 seconds with the F1 transmission while using a special combination of events, including left foot-braking and right foot-revving. This is 0.2 seconds faster than the 550, and is plenty quick in this class of car. This is accomplished through a 48-valve engine developing 515 hp at 7,250 rpm and 440 pound-feet of torque at 5,250 rpm.
The driver can choose between "sporty" and "relaxed" driving styles with the new F1 paddles, with the principal benefits being a quicker gear change coupled with the control of the damping when gears are selected.
Road-holding is improved in the 575M by the use of a new adaptive suspension system that independently controls damping at all four wheels. The system selects what it considers to be the best suspension tune for any condition. Drivers are given two choices: Sport, which is selected for a sportier ride and improved traction, and Comfort, which gives a more comfortable ride and absorbs most road bumps. In addition, electronic traction control can be set between Normal and Sport to curtail the level of electronic "nanny-ness."
The latest tires make less rolling noise and are said to last longer while also performing better in wet conditions. There's also a new optional tire on 19-inch wheels, which is "suitable for more extreme performance with improved lateral and longitudinal grip." The 575M Maranello is now fitted with tire pressure sensors, allowing the tire pressure to be checked while the car is on the move.
If they really want to have a car that no one else has, 575M Maranello buyers can use Carrozzeria Scaglietti to get their own styling and equipment levels that alter the functionality of the vehicle to suit their personal tastes. On this front, there are racing and track options (such as seats with four-point seatbelts), exterior changes and colors, unique treatments of the interior, and a choice of materials and equipment. As with anything wearing a prancing horse, bring money.
While driving the car quickly can remind you of your limitations, owning and driving it in the real world can effectively remind you of your success. Which begs the question: "Can a quarter-million dollar car ever truly be a good deal?" Drive a 575M and you'll know that the answer is yes.
Used 2002 Ferrari 575M Coupe Overview
The Used 2002 Ferrari 575M Coupe is offered in the following styles: Maranello 2dr Coupe (5.8L 12cyl 6M), and Maranello 2dr Coupe (5.8L 12cyl 6AM).
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Should I lease or buy a 2002 Ferrari 575M?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.