Is it fast?
Oh yes, it is. The front-mid-mounted 6.3-litre V12 isn’t as sharp in its responses as the 4.5-litre V8 in Ferrari’s 458, but despite the sheer volume of metal in the engine it still revs to 8000rpm, pulling like a rocket-powered train through the gears. Expect to see 200mph spin by if you’ve got a runway handy, while 70-140mph is dispatched as fast as your parents’ eco hatchback goes from 70-90.
Is it sexy?
I’ve never tested a car that was so much more beautiful in the metal than it is in pictures. That slight gawky awkwardness in still images fades into memory when you see one up close. The side profile is still love-it-or-hate-it, but the subtle curves around the wheel arches, the optional £11,000 paint job and the bonnet as long as Concorde’s nose are pure automotive porn. It turns heads among the fairer sex, too.
What’s it like to drive?
It’s a big ol’ beast; about the same width as a Range Rover and longer than the Monday lunchtime queue at the Post Office. Combine that with the massive performance potential and you’ve got a potentially tricky animal. It definitely makes parking a bit awkward, but with an auto-tilting near-side door mirror you do at least stand a chance of not kerbing the wheels.
But enough of that low-speed nonsense. The FF shrinks around you as you drive faster, with a dynamic balance and a four-wheel drive system that only kicks in when the rear wheels lose grip. There’s an inherent rightness to the way it stomps across lumpy A-roads and the ride is impressive bearing in mind the 20-inch wheels.
Part of its talent comes courtesy of a special drivetrain that powers the front wheels through a mesh of clutches and a second drive shaft linked to the front of the engine. It allows the engine to be mounted lower, which helps reduce body roll and improves handling stability. Make no mistake: the FF covers ground very, very quickly.
How about the inside?
This car has about £10,000 of upgraded leather trim spread throughout the interior, so you know it’s going to be pretty nice. The four seats are half-buckets and offer genuine long-distance comfort, with loads of adjustment in the driving position and three memory settings so the wife can have her own seat positions memorised. Presumably the dog can choose a setup, too.
Will my mates rate it?
Parking outside your mates’ houses in this will make their weeks. Giving them a full-bore passenger ride through every country road tunnel you can find will be a lifelong memory highlight alongside their wedding days and the births of their first children. The FF is a very special car from the sonorous, characterful engine note to the drivetrain technology working away under the skin, and your mates will love it.
Can I afford it?
Not likely. The basic price tops £230,000, with the average owner finding room for £60,000 in extras. That’s an entire Jaguar F-type just in options. No doubt to some corners of society that’s not really a lot of money and if you’re part of that financial elite then the FF should look like something of a bargain. To the rest of us, buying an FF is about as realistic as Eva Mendes turning up on the doorstep with a bag full of lingerie and an unlimited supply of Mini Eggs.
Show me two used alternatives
Alright, despite the bread van silhouette there are no rear seats in the M Coupe so your practical options are limited. But this low-volume Beemer is an iconic design and a guaranteed future classic. If you don’t need the practicality of a full-blown estate, try this rare little beast with a screaming straight-six for £6500.
This has to be the pick of the bunch from the classifieds. Four seats, 5.5 litres of creamy Ferrari V12 and all the style that you can shake your very pointy stick at make the 550 Maranello the sort of bargain you just can’t say no to. Bearing in mind the FF’s stratospheric asking price you can grab a 550 for an absolutely stunning £38,000.Ferrari FF Review: Stratospherically Expensive, Monumentally Accomplished,