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Ferrari 612 Scaglietti--Video Test Drive with Chris Moran 2012
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A beautiful Ferrari 612 Scaglietti presented by Chris Moran. This gorgeous Ferrari is furnished by our friends at D&M Motorsports.
Twelve cylinders. Twelve. To the less-than-knowledgeable automotive enthusiast, that's how many V's this car has and it's twelve V's are derived from the monumental Enzo Ferrari. Yes, it's a V12 engine. In this humble man's opinion, anything with a 12-cylinder motor qualifies as exotic. Combined with the ultra-exclusivity of the 612 Scaglietti, this car is truly is Ferrari's everyday supercar.
Let's go all the way back to the 12-cylinder Ferrari Testarossa. Launched in 1985, the Testarossa was a wildly designed, anything-but-conventional modern-day supercar. While Ferrari had been making great cars in the mid 80's, they never quite had the wow factor of the poster-worthy Lamborghini Countach.
In the rear of the Testarossa sat the 4.9 liter Flat-12 engine. What's a flat-12? Sometimes called a "boxer", the pistons basically fire at each other on a 180 degree flat angle, hence the name "flat". The benefit is a lower center of gravity than a conventional v-style layout, aiding the handling in the process.
The Testarossa ushered in a successful flagship model for Ferrari. With nearly 10,000 produced over it's 10 year run, it captured much of the marketplace in which it helped define. In 1992, Ferrari revised the Testarossa to become the 512 TR. Largely unchanged, there were minor refinements to the driveline and appearance, and a boost in power from 381 to 421 horsepower. In 1995, the F512 M was created to commemorate the last year of the Testarossa. With a new front-engined replacement on the way, they made only 500 of the F512 M. This car is indeed a rare collectible.
When the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti arrived on the scene, the first adjectives to describe the appearance were not very kind. It seemed somewhat bulbous in appearance, It's soft lines dampened its aggressive edge A very large car by Ferrari's standards, it's a real 2+2 configuration, with the front-engined V12 following the tradition of it's predecessor. Just to illustrate, the 612 Scaglietti is within 6 inches of the current CL550's length and has a four inch wider berth. That's no small car.
Under the hood is a 5.8 liter V12, in this car it's mated to the 6-speed F1 manual. While single-clutch sequential transmission are pretty much a thing of the past, the Ferrari F1 setup always amazes me at how smooth and transparent it is. I had chance to experience the newest F1 "Superfast" in the F430 Scuderia. That's the best a single clutch with ever get. It's a two-pedal setup that is still a true manual transmission. You have a computer that manages the clutch, depending on the vehicle settings and driver inputs. To drive as a manual, you engage the right paddle located on the steering wheel to upshift, the left paddle to downshift. If you don't feel like shifting, press the "AUTO" button prominently displayed on the console. The computer will manage the shifting for you, so you can drive it as you would any other automatic sedan. Don't get me wrong, this setup will never be able to duplicate the silky-smoothness of a torque-converter in a traditional automatic, but it does a great job trying.
Taking those virtues into account, add the most important ingredient, the 5.8 Liter 48-valve V12 engine. It's rated at 540 horsepower, making abundant torque in the low revs. This engine just wants to be run to it's redline all day long, as if it's not happy unless you are purposefully trying to spend the night in jail.
Overall, I expected to be impressed with this car, and quite truthfully, I was very surprised. This car had the incredible performance I expected, but what was so remarkable is how you could forget that it's a Ferrari. Let me explain: If you're stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic through your daily commute, your heated seat and quiet cabin may lead you to forget that you are in something so prestigious and exclusive. But take a 270 degree on-ramp near the limits of adhesion and this car will both scare and satisfy you. Selectable on the steering wheel mounted "Manettino", the "Race" mode lowers the babysitting prowess of the traction control, while the stability control carefully tunes in to the car's movements in relation to driver input. This allows everyday guys like me to feel like Michael Schumacher, when in reality, I'm not. Seriously.
The 12-cylinder experience is like no other. The smoothest combustion engines with the longest legs, they have a distinct appetite for premium petrol and make great noises. If you take care of them, they will take care of you. To absorb the complete experience of a redline shift in one of these cars is an experience like no other. It's something any gearhead should have a chance to enjoy at least once in their lives. When I get one for myself, I'll be giving free rides.
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