Ferrari FF V12 coupe 2015 review
Ewan Kennedy road tests and reviews the 2015 Ferrari FF.
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June 29, 2015
I suspect very few baby boomers would own up to having a poster of Gary Glitter on their bedroom wall when still in their formative musical years. But if you were a motorhead - lower-case "m" - chances are there was some choice duco up there between the Blondie pin-ups. Wheels you wouldn't be ashamed to admit to admiring now.
If you squirrelled away enough paper-round money it was possible to invest in a Blondie album (note to gen Y readers: music used to come on dinner-plate sized pieces of plastic). Even go to a gig.
But unless your surname was Rinehart you were forced to admire a Ford GTHO Phase III from afar, in the unlikely event you saw one at all.
One car epitomised their brooding futurism like no other: the Lamborghini Countach.
Supercars are now something else
The Countach had a potent V12 behind the cabin but it looked like it ran on antimatter. A Starship Enterprise in a carpark of Tardis. It left an indelible mark on many young minds.
Now some of the boys - and a handful of girls - who admired this sliver of fantasy from under chenille bedspreads are queuing up for Lamborghini's latest: the Huracan. One dealer confided that he couldn't resist asking buyers, and with few exceptions they had one answer: yes, there was a Countach poster above my bed.
Lamborghini has come a long way since the 1970s and the Huracan is a very modern car. Modern in a way the Countach could never be. At its peak, the Countach boasted a 5.2-litre V12 developing 335kW and 500Nm - impressive even by today's standards. If you mean today's standards for, say, a moderately quick Audi.
But supercars are now something else.
The Huracan's vital statistics suggest it could have a vicious streak
The Huracan has a 5.2-litre V10 pumping out 449kW and 560Nm. Despite being larger (in all but width), it weighs less than a Countach and if it came to a drag race would simply leave it at the lights. The quickest Countach could reach 100km/h in 4.9 seconds. A Huracan can do it in 3.2 seconds. Where a Countach was all done at 295km/h, the Huracan can exceed 325km/h.
More than that, though, I've never met anyone who has experienced an old Lambo and said, "That was a doddle to drive at speed. Handles like a dream".
I've never driven one but, if I did, it would be with great trepidation.
The Huracan's vital statistics suggest it could have a vicious streak. Some say it's faster than the brand's flagship V12 supercar, the Aventador, although that's something Lamborghini denies.
I cannot say but it's unquestionably among the fastest cars I've driven. Legal speeds feel like walking pace. Ask it for more - you have only to whisper to the throttle - and it delivers unflappably, unrelentingly. Gear changes are gorgeous whooshes and it cackles politely on overrun.
Turn up the volume and it reveals the engine's full vocal range. There are more than 8000 revs to explore.
Most telling is the way it handles. It settles into a cornering attitude with the subtlest of urges, then bends simply evaporate in its grip and intuitive steering.
Tyres protest long before they give up. Most of the time, there's about as much road noise as you'd expect while squeaks and rattles and odd mechanical clunks - constant companions in supercars from just the previous generation - are (almost) absent. It's civilised. Even visibility is pretty good. And no one sits in a supercar to admire the view.
From the outside it's stunning. It gets thumbs up and smiles, vocal approval. There's something missing, though. There's the obvious absence of scissor doors - a Countach specialty. For that, you must buy large: the Aventador, Lamborghini's V12 $761,500 flagship. But also missing is shock value. The Countach surprises from every angle, no matter how often you stare at it.
With a $20k matte black paint job, the test Huracan has a sinister side. I loved it. But unlike the Countach, it doesn't make you recoil with its daring. Demonic it is not.
Instead there's a flawless quality to the exterior, a perfect rendering of car as drama. That goes for the cabin, too, which has splendid leather and Alcantara expanses that invite you in.
At least that's true right up to the point where you think the plastic bits are just a bit too plasticky, which happens from the moment you grip the pistol-style doorhandles to the second you touch the steering wheel controls. They are brittle in action, inexpensive to touch.
Lamborghini operates under the aegis of Audi in the Volkswagen group, and as with the Gallardo, which the Huracan replaces, there's evidence of parental control. Audi's electronics are everywhere, from the button layout to the annoyingly counterintuitive operation of the main control knob.
Among all this playfulness are some real missteps. The indicator and wiper controls are on the wheel and function motorbike style, but they're poorly positioned and the indicator is impossible to find, let alone use, when the wheel is being turned.
To lower a window, you push a switch up. Surely, this is Ergonomics 101. And the control screen, immediately ahead of the driver where real dials where once housed, can be too small to read easily. Especially when using the satnav.
Some of the bespoke switchgear looks try-hard, such as the over-sculpted row of toggle switches and stop-start button concealed under a hinged red-cover.
The Countach is a punchcard; we've all got smartphones now
These caveats do dilute the car's appeal. A little.
But I can see that as a whole it would appeal. Flick the cover. Press the button. Blast-off! There's a sense of occasion that would to dwarf a moonshot. And on the road, it delivers.
If you want a modern supercar, the Huracan should be mentioned in the same breath as Ferraris and McLarens.
If you want the equivalent of a Countach in design terms, Lamborghini can still provide.
But you're now at a very esoteric level indeed. With cars such as the Reventon or Veneno, which are built in twos or threes and cost as much as Luxembourg.