Bahrain This Month   Subscribe   ~   Advertise   ~   Contact us   
Galloping Ahead
This sophisticated four-seater aims to redefine the GT sports car concept, offering enough power and comfort to win over even the most discerning driver.

The Director of Communications at Ferrari considers the fervor Ferrari fans possess for the brand to be akin to a ‘religion’. Undoubtedly then, those of you of the Ferrari faith will already be acquainted with the Ferrari FF.

So called as it is a four seater with four-wheel drive, it was first launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2011. My introduction to this particular breed of the prancing horse lay behind the façade of a rather deceptive looking old stone building on the outskirts of Florence, Italy.
The display gave an insight into Ferrari’s Tailor Made programme which began in the 1950s. In keeping with a long-standing tradition at Maranello, this programme enables clients to select their desired materials and colours.

Each of the five cars on display was designed with a specific, bespoke concept. Furthermore, the concepts were built to represent five different regions of the Arabian Gulf; namely, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE.

Bahrain’s individual finish is named Cristallo (Crystal) with details evocative of the cool, transparent lucidity of quartz. The exterior is painted in a subtle silver hue – with a matte surface finish set off by diamond-cut forged wheel rims and a full-length dark glass sunroof. The interior features rich, perforated dark blue leather upholstery while the seat backs, central tunnel and door panels are upholstered in a perforated blue fabric.

The Pietra di Luna (Moonstone) concept was built for Saudi Arabia, Topaz (Topazio) for Kuwait, Pearl (Perla) for Qatar and the UAE FF is painted in a dark blue three-layer finish called Ocean blue.

These stunning creations induce a sensory overload. From their appearance, the aroma of the leather, its buttery soft feel, the lustrous, smoothness of the paintwork, they are truly remarkable. Yes, I confess to being undecided as to which was my favourite.

The Ferrari FF lends itself to a highly personalised approach. Indeed, should you be so inclined, a bespoke golf bag and matching set of suitcases, designed specifically to fit the trunk, are at your disposal.

This year’s models incorporate a number of improvements to the FF’s interior comfort. New rear seats for example, which are even easier to access, thanks to front seats that slide further forwards.

Alas, we had an overnight wait to hear how these magnificent creatures sounded. It was worth the wait. Powered by a 660bhp mid-front-mounted V12, the FF boasts the sound of an extreme sports car. A motorcycle police escort — somewhat delayed whilst the policemen posed for photographs with the FFs! — ensured our cavalcade deftly navigated the early morning throng of ubiquitous Fiats and Lancias. Leaving the city of Florence behind, our trio headed into the countryside.

The Ferrari FF is the company’s first ever four-wheel drive and most powerful four-seater ever, effortlessly combining extreme sports car performance with the versatility and usability of a genuine GT. Weighing 50 per cent less than a conventional four-wheel drive system, it delivers record levels of performance on all terrains and in all conditions via continuous and intelligent predictive torque distribution to all four wheels. This claim was seriously challenged, and superbly upheld, on the leaf strewn, snaking roads of the Tuscan hills in autumnal weather conditions that included, fog, mist, rain and sunshine.

Equally impressive are the FFs performance figures, the 0-100kmph sprint was covered in 3.7 seconds and it has a top speed of 335kmph. The now model is also extremely fuel efficient, consumption stands at just over 15 litres per 100km.

The car possesses crowd-stopping allure. A congregation of locals rapidly ensued during a quick espresso stop in the pretty village of Stia. The arrival of the local policeman was not to disperse this gathering, nor indeed to issue parking tickets; rather, it was to have his picture taken with the gleaming trio! They are Italians after all, and deservedly proud of their countries second largest export industry.

Whilst Enzo Ferraris famously claimed that ‘most things can be said in a few lines’ the sheer exhilarating, experience of driving this machine cannot. The Ferrari FF is an instant classic with head-turning allure, skilfully combining a four-wheel drive with a supreme sports car. If you are not already of the Ferrari faith, Euro Motors, Bahrain’s distributor for Ferrari, will be happy to convert you.