The Ferrari FF emerged in 2011 and immediately caused a scene; its V12 engine in the front, its 4WD (a first for Ferrari), and the shooting brake styling (2 doors, 4 seats and a hatchback). Definitely not a typical Ferrari, one either loved or hated this unique Ferrari. I loved it from the very beginning, and saw the potential of driving a Ferrari for everyday mundane tasks like grocery shopping, or using it as a supercar on long road trips. Thanks to the generosity of owner Nick Kwan I was able to test the Ferrari FF.
Sitting in Nick’s black FF making my way slowly out of his driveway. Two thoughts had already struck me while driving the 10 meters of his driveway; one, the moment I sat behind the wheel and adjusted the seat I had formed a connection with this car and two, my concern about this being a big car was utterly misplaced. Driving the FF on the highway is smooth. The FF power is delivered so effortlessly that you are aghast when you look down at the speedometer and discover you are travelling in a vigorous manner that is sure to bring you unwanted attention from law enforcement. The rest of my first day with Nick’s FF was spent pootling around Vancouver. The FF handled this with ease, marred only by the rather noisy and irritating proximity sensors constantly going off with nearby traffic and pedestrians. My biggest nitpick with the FF and all new Ferraris is that the signal indicators are on the steering wheel and they are not self-cancelling unless the steering angle is very acute.
Starting the FF involves placing the red Ferrari key in the ignition then using your left thumb to push down on the starter button on the steering wheel. This is followed by the awakening roar of a Ferrari V12. Ferrari keys have come in for a bit of bashing as of late, accused of being cheap plastic. I completely disagree, for me a Ferrari key is special, seeing the black prancing horse surrounded by the Ferrari Red is intoxicating.
I met my photographer Steve and the plan was to head out of Vancouver and drive up the scenic Sea to Sky highway thus giving us a chance to test the performance of the FF against a stunning background of snow-capped mountains. It was a glorious sunny day, perfect supercar weather. Our first opportunity to exercise the FF was on a deserted road adjacent to the Sea to Sky highway. For this exercise I put the FF into manual mode, which gave me control of the 7spd dual clutch gearbox and put the manettino (rotary switch on the steering) into sport mode. The FF accelerated down the lonely road, soaking up the twists and turns, urging me to find more and more speed as it hugged the road. I cannot tell you if the 4wd ever kicked into action as it only works twenty percent of the time. What I do know is that I had a stable and controllable supercar to play with on this snake like road.
The performance of this car is truly worthy of any Ferrari. Unlike others Ferraris, who are easily identifiable as Ferraris, the FF is more understated. Several times at traffic lights I would catch people in other cars looking at the FF trying to figure out what it was, then watch them find the Ferrari badge and realise they had a Ferrari next to them. The one area which gives the FF away as a supercar is the sound. In sport mode the 650horsepower V12 growls deeply and sonorously through your entire body, to those outside it’s an even more visceral experience.
The FF was all the car I had hoped it would be and more. I loved my experience in the FF, it is a car I would most assuredly purchase if I had the $400,000 to buy one. For me, huge horsepower numbers and zero to sixty times are not the measure of the car, rather it is the very personal interaction between myself and the machine and I experienced a deep and richly rewarding connection with the Ferrari FF.