Unlike most Ferrari models, past and present, the 456M GT is a 2+2 berlinetta coupe, which means it has a snug two-place rear seat in addition to the customary front buckets. As the company puts it, this is the evolution of a very popular concept amongst Ferrari clients who want a real Ferrari with the practicality of rear seats for two additional passengers. In contrast to the mid-engine 360 Modena, Ferraris least costly model that is equipped with a V-8 behind the seats, the 456M GT has a V-12 engine mounted up front. The list price for the 456M GT is $226,975, while the automatic-transmission GTA goes for $232,170. That makes the 456M Ferraris most expensive model in the U.S. market at least until the 550 Barchetta goes on sale in spring 2001.
Ferrari sold about 4,000 cars worldwide during 2000, the companys eighth year of increased sales. More than 1,000 went to North America, with California accounting for 22 percent of sales. Plans for 2001 are identical, with no more than 4,000 cars expected to go out the door.
Berlinetta translates to little sedan, which is the Italian way of describing what Americans call a two-door coupe. Like other Ferrari models, the 456M GT was styled by Pininfarina, a legendary Italian design studio thats been responsible for many illustrious models in the companys history.
About a foot longer than the 360 Modena, the 456M GT measures 187 inches overall. Body lines are softer than those of other Ferrari models, coupled with a cross-hatch grille and large bodyside scallops. The cars classic look is accentuated by its long-hood and short-deck profile. Body panels are constructed of aluminum, the chassis is made of steel, and the hood is carbon fiber.
Ferrari fans are accustomed to sitting in snug buckets, held securely and ready to enjoy a spirited driving experience even if that experience happens to take place on a crowded urban expressway. Gaining access to the backseat is made easier because the front passenger seat automatically slides forward when its backrest is tilted. But dont expect an abundance of space back there.
Under the Hood
With 442 horsepower, the 5.5-liter V-12 is the same size as but less powerful than the engine installed in the 550 Maranello. A six-speed manual in the GT model or an optional five-speed automatic for the GTA are the only two transmissions available. The automatic transmission was developed specifically for the 456M.