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Porsche, BMW, Audi, Lamborghini even … these are the performance brands that have stepped into the four-wheel-drive wagon business, but Ferrari has always been rather more purist.

It just does sports cars. Always has, always will. And assuredly, nothing has changed with the FF large car.

A replacement for the 612 Scaglietti, this big brutish V12 beauty is emphatically a sports car, the maker assures, albeit one that just happens to debut a few design and technical changes that are new for the brand. Specifically, these are all-wheel-drive, a hatchback bum and a big boot. Erm?

Ferrari acknowledges the FF - an acronym for Ferrari Four (four seats and four-wheel drive) - ushers in an entirely new GT sports car concept, at least for them.

Says the brand: “A decisive break with the past, the new car represents not so much an evolution as a true revolution.” I recall Porsche saying something similar when the Cayenne first hit the scene.

Still, if the FF represents a powerful recognition from Maranello of a need to move with the times and also move in new directions, that doesn’t mean it’s going to follow the Germans into the dirt.

Anyone who gets off-seal in an FF will have done so in the course of a big accident, because the patented 4RM setup the car employs is designed entirely for the road.

The enhancing traction that it will lend will be hugely beneficial because this car is set to power down with much greater alacrity than its far-from-slow forebear.

Maximum power of 485kW at 8000rpm and 683Nm at 6000rpm is a big lift up from the 397kW and 588Nm offered by the 612’s 5.8-litre V12 and enough to comfortably make this the most powerful Ferrari roadcar ever.

The big mover clientele will have to hang on tight under full power. The firm claims the FF will accelerate from 0-100kmh in 3.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 330kmh.

Customers won’t have to hang about long to see the beast, either. The car goes on sale immediately after its launch at the Geneva motor show in March and there’s talk the first examples will get to this part of the world either late this year or early next.

Price? Nothing has been said, but bear in mind that the range-topping 612 lists for $670,000 currently.

Meantime, the three pictures released at the weekend are definitely set to generate plenty of comment. In profile particularly, the Pininfarina-penned car looks really powerful and it seems set to be the world’s first hatchback to be assured preferential parking status in Monte Carlo’s casino zone.

Those with a technical bent will be more interested in 4RM. Ferrari claims its exclusive system weighs 50 percent less than a conventional all-wheel-drive and proviodes for “perfect” weight distribution of 47/53 front/rear. 

It is integrated into the vehicle’s electronic dynamic control systems to deliver “record levels of performance on all terrains and in all conditions via continuous and intelligent predictive torque distribution to all four wheels”.

Working in tandem with 4RM is the company’s latest magnetorheological – say THST three times - damping system (SCM3) and the newest carbon-ceramic brake technology from Brembo.

V12s are old-school with Ferrari but this one is all-new, a 6262cc, 65 degree monster with direct-injection.

EU fuel consumption and CO2 emissions fall to 15.4L/100km and 360g/km respectively.
 According to European reports, the model may also be offered with a turbocharged V8 engine, which could eventually be incorporated into a hybrid version.

Like the California and 458, the FF will come with a dual-clutch trans-axle dubbed F1 and with a claimed dry weight of 1790kg – down marginally from the substantial 1849kg of the 612 – Ferrari says the FF delivers a “class-leading” weight-to-power ratio of 2.7kg per hp.

“The result is that owners will be able to enjoy the FF’s prowess over a wide range of uses: city driving, on low grip or snow-covered surfaces and on the track,” says Ferrari.

Other key new dimensions include an overall length of 4907mm, a width of 1953mm and height of just 1379mm.

Ferrari says the FF will comfortable accommodate four people and their luggage thanks to cabin space and cargo capacity (which extends from 450 to 800 litres with the rear seats folded) that is claimed to better any other model in its class, including four-door GTs like the Porsche Panamera, Maserati Quattroporte and Mercedes-Benz CLS.

Six exclusive exterior paint colours will be available, along with an extensive range of customisation options and accessories for the specially treated aniline leather interior.

What this means to you: Time to add another bay to your air conditioned garage complex?

source: nz.sports.yahoo

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