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By Jim Flammang
March 26, 2003
Vehicle Overview Ferrari’s classically styled model is unchanged for the 2003 model year, but that’s partly because the 550 Maranello was transformed into the 575M Maranello late in the 2002 season. The “M” in the model name designates a modified version. The two-passenger coupe now uses a front-mounted 5.75-liter V-12 engine rated at 515 horsepower, whereas the 550 Maranello had a 485-hp, 5.5-liter V-12. In addition to a larger displacement, the new engine operates with higher compression.
The new sequential transmission uses Formula One-type electrohydraulic control, with levers at the back of the steering wheel to change gears. This is the first such installation on a V-12 road car. Drivers can select regular or Sport shifting in automatic or low-grip mode.
Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2002, the new model looks about the same as its predecessor. The new version sports a different interior with wraparound leather-upholstered seats. A Skyhook suspension that is similar to the one employed on current Maserati models is used.
Exterior Like all Ferraris, the 575M Maranello exhibits a classic sports car profile that is centered around its long-hood and short-deck shape. An eggcrate-style grille sits low in the front, and side gills are visible behind the front wheels. Similar design elements have been seen on various models from the Italian sports car maker.
Ferrari says the 575M Maranello has “balanced and sober looks” that will deliver the “status of an instant classic.” Front air intakes get a different shape and size, and a fresh treatment is used for the front spoiler. A restyled headlight cluster uses the xenon high-intensity-discharge system for its low beams.
At 179 inches long overall, the 575M Maranello is 8 inches shorter than the 456M GT/GTA, and its wheelbase is only 98.4 inches. The two-seater sits a little taller than the 456M models, but at just above 50 inches high, it’s still not an easy car to enter or exit. Five-spoke alloy wheels hold 18-inch tires.
Interior Both occupants of the 575M Maranello can luxuriate in wraparound seats that are upholstered in leather. Both the driver and passenger should be able to reach the climate and audio controls with ease because they’re mounted in the center of the dashboard. As expected, storage space is limited, but a cargo shelf behind the seats makes a useful supplement to the car’s 6.5-cubic-foot trunk capacity.
Under the Hood The 515-hp, 5.75-liter V-12 engine is mounted up front. It yields 434 pounds-feet of torque. A new six-speed transmission can be controlled via levers at the back of the steering wheel. At the console, the driver can select either regular or Sport shifting, which affects suspension damping. The driver can also choose automatic or low-grip mode. The 575M Maranello can accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 4.2 seconds and can reach a claimed top speed of 202 mph. The company had called the rear-wheel-drive 550 Maranello “one of the most powerful road-going GT cars Ferrari has ever produced,” but the 575M reaches another step beyond that level.