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Overkill, Thy Name Is Ferrari

 
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2010 Ferrari 599 SA Aperta

2010 Ferrari 599 SA Aperta

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Still hot off the critically-acclaimed debuts of the 458 Italia and FF sports cars, Ferrari will now turn its attention to producing a replacement for the 599 Fiorano, its powerhouse front-engined supercar.

The term supercar has evolved by leaps and bounds, just in the last twenty years. We no longer live in the romantic age of the 1991 Bugatti EB110 (553-horsepower V-12), but the domineering 2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport (1,200-horsepower W-16 and a production speed record). Things done changed.

It’s no different at Ferrari. In 1996, the first car I fell head-over-heels in love with, the 550 Maranello, was a bonafide track star at 485 horsepower. Its 2002 replacement, the 575M, upped the ante to 508 bhp, and in 2006 the 599 GTB Fiorano took off like the freakin’ space shuttle to wrangle a whopping 606 bhp from the V12 engine.

For the upcoming replacement to that car, we should expect to see power for the base model car top
more than 700 horsepower to the rear wheels. That’s substantially more than the world-beating 2003 Ferrari Enzo, which seemed downright opulent when it debuted in 2003 with 660 bhp. These days, you may as well just opt for the Camry if that’s the power range you’re looking for.

It’s no secret that modern day cars are getting bigger and heavier (the 599 GTB gained 14 inches over the 550 Maranello wheelbase), and automakers are balancing the scales by Mark McGwire-ing the engines for all their worth. We can expect to see the 599 GTB replacement probably gain a few inches of width, height and wheelbase as well. Of course, we can also expect (judging from the 599 GTO) mind-blowing acceleration and (judging from the 458 Italia) drop-dead gorgeous looks. I also don't mean to single out Ferrari as the only offender here. Lamborghini, Pagani, Mercedesgentlemen, a little subtlety is all I ask!

The technology available to the modern automotive world these days is incredible and I don’t blame automakers for trying to probe the depths of possible power
—especially when magazines are fawning over tenths of a second and Nurburgring track times. And sure, supercars are by their very nature unnecessarily flamboyant. But as much as I wanted to like the 599 GTB when it came out, it only served to remind me of how the 550 Maranello was able to stay graceful and lithe while also packing a hell of a punch.

And I don’t think 700 horsepower and a three-second 0-60 mph time will change that.



But sure, I’ll watch the video one more time.



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