Spy photographs, rumors and conjecture have swirled around Ferrari's replacement for the 612 Scaglietti. After all, new Ferraris are rare, and new Ferrari flagships are rarer still. Today, Ferrari officially unveiled its newest car online ahead of its public debut in Geneva. Dubbed the FF -- for Ferrari Four -- it's packed with technology worthy of the Prancing Horse, including the company's first-ever all-wheel drive system. It is also the world's most beautiful...hatchback.
This isn't a special racecar, nor a one-off for the Sultan of Brunei. It's an actual production Ferrari, and it may be the first time that practicality has played such an important role in the development of one of Ferrari's road cars. Able to seat four, the FF has more interior room than its predecessor, and a surprisingly large 15.9 cubic feet of cargo space. Fold down the rear seats, and it expands to 28.3 cu ft. The FF will also boast Ferrari's new HELE start-stop system, which will help improve fuel economy, along with a 110 pound-weight reduction compared to the 612.
Fuel economy? Cargo space? If you think that Ferrari has gone soft, don't worry. Practical people moving still takes a back seat to performance. The direct injection 6.3-liter V-12 engine puts out 651 horsepower at a screaming 8,000 rpm, and 504 lb-ft of torque at 6,000 rpm. It's routed through a sequential gearbox to all four wheels. The FF's top speed is 208 mph, and it will move from a standstill to 62 mph in 3.7 seconds.
The four-wheel drive system is Ferrari's first, and it was developed in-house. Called 4RM, Ferrari says it weighs half as much as a conventional all-wheel drive system, but it still maintains the car's "perfect" weight balance, with 53 percent of the mass over the rear wheels. Combined with the magnetorheological shocks and carbon-ceramic Brembo brakes, the FF promises stellar handling regardless of weather or road conditions. A Ferrari you can take skiing? Here it is.
And what an impression you'll make as you drive up to the slopes. The FF is striking, not because of its hatchback shape, but because its hatchback shape looks so good. The front is a sinister grin, reminiscent of the excellent 458 Italia, with its swept back headlights glaring at you menacingly. The side profile is classic Ferrari, with a long, sloping nose blending perfectly into the windshield and roof. Then there's the rear. It's simply striking, at least in the sole rear photograph provided by Ferrari. The classic round taillights integrate with vents cut into the bodywork. The car's body hunkers over the rear wheels without looking heavy. There's even a very cool lower spoiler between the exhaust pipes.
Ferrari has set up a new microsite for the FF, accessible through the main Ferrari website. But before you read the specs or look at the photos, click the "Sounds" tab, turn up your computer's speakers, and prepare to be blown away by the new V-12's full-throated glory.