The Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano borrows its name from the test track where Ferrari tests both its road cars and Formula 1 racers, and it is designed to bring F1 to the streets. It will replace the 575 M Maranello, which made its debut in 1996 as the 550 Maranello.
In the F1 world, 10 years is at least one lifetime, given how quickly technology is updated. So if Ferrari aims to bring its racing prowess to the street, 2006 is a good time for an update — especially as its F1 rival Mercedes-Benz is prowling the street with its SLR McLaren.
The long hood and short rear deck call to mind the 1971 Ferrari 365 GTC4 — called the Daytona by many. With its sweeping curves, air ducts galore and round taillamps, it's likely one would identify the 599 GTB Fiorano as a Ferrari even without the chrome prancing horse on the hood.
It will draw crowds in any parking lot, even without styling that resorts to excessive spoilers, gimmicky doors or other tinsel. It's exotic and looks fast, but it also manages to look composed and sculpted. No body crease, vent or spoiler appears to be tacked on just for the sake of it. It is unfortunate, however, that the headlights bring to mind the narrow, long design that Infiniti has been using for some years.
The 599 GTB Fiorano interior will let drivers believe they're F1 racers if they wish, but they won't feel as if they're strapped into a Spartan racetrack beast. There's tons of leather, with a lot of carbon fiber accents on the seats, doors and dash. The seats have huge bolsters and cutouts for a four-point racing harness, which clearly communicates that this car will go very fast — and hold you firmly while it does so.
What isn't leather or carbon fiber is likely brushed aluminum, so there's a nice mix of materials and textures. Plus, in a nod to tuners, the buyer can choose either a red or yellow background for the central rev counter behind the steering wheel. That steering wheel is loaded with controls, similar to an F1 racecar's wheel. Drivers can choose which setting they want for the vehicle dynamic control system — which incorporates suspension, traction control and gearbox settings. There's an engine-start button and shift paddles behind the wheel.
Ferrari calls the 599 GTB Fiorano a front-mid-engine design, meaning the engine is mounted farther back in the chassis than in a pure front-engine car like the 575 M. Still, the engine is accessed from a front hood. The power plant is a 65-degree V-12 that's 5.99 liters (hence the car's 599 name) that makes 448 pounds-feet of torque at 5,600 rpm. It's limited to a maximum of 8,400 rpm.
The power is routed through a six-speed gearbox. Ferrari says it has worked to make the semiautomatic shifting even faster than before. The shift patterns can be changed to better meet slippery or dry conditions.
Traction and stability control are the highlights here. The F1-Trac system monitors the speed of front and rear wheels, predicts the maximum amount of grip and reacts accordingly. Ferrari claims the system increases acceleration by 20 percent over traditional traction and stability control systems, and the magnetic-fluid suspension is designed to reduce body roll and provide the driver with greater control as well.
A Racing and Track option package, which includes upgraded carbon-ceramic brakes, a four-point racing harness and a cockpit roll bar, is also available.