Along with its motor, the steering is snappy and light, though the FF doesn’t dart or drift about like the mid-engine 458 Italia. It’s heavier and piles more mass on the front axle, yet the FF feels nearly as balanced. Unlike most all-wheel-drive cars, Ferrari doesn’t use a heavy center differential to split the torque front and rear. Instead, the FF uses two separate gearboxes—the main 7-speed gearbox out back, and a secondary 2-speed gearbox driving the front—that work in tandem to provide up to a 20/80 split. In most cases (and at high speeds) the system strictly keeps to rear-wheel-drive.
But in hard corners, you can feel the front wheels pull the FF closer to the curve, as Ferrari’s chassis computers decide the precise amount of traction, braking, and torque transfer from front to back, left to right. This is a two-ton supercar that never reveals its true heft.You simply point and plant it. Raw speed rushes in, and before you realize how badly this could end, a hard stomp on the carbon-ceramic brakes checks you back into legal territory. Among the many data readouts on its dual LCD screens, the FF’s trip computer records the driver’s maximum speed. I’ll plead the ﬁfth on that one.
Again: 651 horsepower and 208 miles per hour. Good God.
Lots of supercars can go this fast. But none drowns out the entire universe like a Ferrari, full throttle, ricocheting off an empty tunnel. It’s why Ferrari can afford to pick and choose its customers. It’s why these customers choose to wait months or even years to get one, while their friends bag Lambos and Porsches in no time. It’s why Ferrari can charge extraterrestrial amounts of money without anyone raising a hair. Nothing gets close to it. Not even sex or the vivid turquoise seas of the Caribbean. Nothing is quite like driving a Ferrari.
Especially when you’re driving a Ferrari with a dog sleeping on the folded back seats. I tell you, hatchbacks rule.
Clifford Atiyeh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.