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Ferrari's Indian homecoming

S. Muralidhar | Updated on: Aug 17, 2011
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The onset of the monsoon may be delayed this year, but in the world of luxury automobiles it has been raining super sports cars already. After Maserati and Aston Martin, it is now the turn of Ferrari to finally land on Indian shores.

Nearly three years after its famous Magic India Discovery Drive during which two 612 Scagliettis were driven over 13,000 kilometres across the country, the ‘Prancing Horse' (Ferrari's iconic symbol) officially kicked off its entry into India with the inauguration of the first showroom in New Delhi. The dealership is operated by the Shreyans Group, which is the official Ferrari importer for India. Prices for the Ferrari models start from Rs 2.22 crore (ex-showroom, Delhi).

Every wild dream of Ferrari fans in India can now turn to reality as this super luxury, super performance sports car maker throws open its entire range to aspiring buyers here. Ferrari essentially has about four models in its range currently and it simply classifies them under two broad categories – V8s and V12s. For Ferrari, performance is the bottomline towards which every other parameter is directed. Of course, cutting edge technology and sexy design go hand in hand with very demanding performance that every one of its cars is known for. But, this focus and its long history and tradition of being associated with motorsports reflect in its choice of classification.

Here is a short profile of its four GT models.

Ferrari California

The California is like a new flashy kid in the Ferrari range, in a manner of speaking. This is one Prancing Horse model that wealthy Indians are going to love. A four-seater grand touring (GT) sports car, the California is a two-door hardtop convertible. Designed by Pininfarina, this is a classy looking Ferrari.

But, despite its more rounded, less aggressive looks, the California packs in fantastic performance. Powering it to a top speed of about 310 kmph, is its 4,297cc, front-mid mounted petrol direct injected engine. This 90-degree V8 engine pumps out a peak power of 460 PS at 7,750 rpm.

The California is one of the most aerodynamic Ferraris ever made. It was also one of the first models to feature a front-engined V8 and one of the first to be paired with a 7-speed dual clutch transmission. Its retractable hard top, another first for Ferrari, can be opened or closed in just 14 seconds. In terms of top technologies on employ, the California's dual-clutch transmission eliminates the acceleration gap, enabling it to match the F430 in terms of sheer acceleration, despite being 180 kgs heavier. It also features the F1-TRAC, an optimised traction control system inspired and tested by Formula 1.

Ferrari 458 Italia

For fans of top performance, the 458 Italia will clearly be the choice. Said to be the replacement for the F430, which in turn was the successor to the 360 (remember the Ferrari Modena 360 that was gifted to Sachin Tendulkar by Fiat), the 458 Italia is a mid-rear engined sports car.

The 458 Italia is a perfect amalgam of fantastic Pininfarina design and mind-blowing performance. It is powered by a more daunting 4,499cc, V8 engine. It generates a peak power of 570 PS at 9,000 rpm and a peak torque of 540 Nm at 6,000 rpm. Most of the torque, almost four-fifths of it, is available from as low as 3,300 rpm.

Weight distribution is a balanced 42:58 front to rear. Fully loaded and tanked up the 458 Italia will still be just over 1.5 tonnes of gross weight. Its weight to power ratio is an amazing 2.42 kgs per PS.

One distinctive feature of the 458 Italia's design is the nose that sports small aero-elastic winglets, which generate downforce and as the speed rises, they deform to reduce the section of the radiator intake to cut drag. The 458 Italia's top speed is over 325 kmph, and a 0-100 kmph comes up in under 3.4 seconds.

Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano

Ferraris V12 engines are legendary performers and the 599 GTB (also called 599 GTB Fiorano) derives its name from the 5,999cc V12 engine and the Fiorano circuit, which was used by Ferrari for testing the model.

This Gran Turismo model, said to be the replacement for the 575M Maranello, is Ferrari's flagship two-seater. The 599 GTB Fiorano features a six-litre, 65-degree V12 petrol engine that generates a specific output of 103 PS per litre or a total of 620 PS at 7,600 rpm. The power is achieved without the use of turbo-charging or supercharging. Peak torque is a massive 608 Nm at 5,600 rpm, making it one of the most powerful and most torquey Ferrari engines. The engine is mated to a 6-speed manual or F1 style shifters and top speed is over 330 kmph and the 0-100 run comes up in just 3.7 seconds.

The experimental 599XX and its new road-going version – the 599 GTO – are based on the 599 GTB.

Ferrari FF

The FF is almost meant to indicate a First for Ferrari, with the number of new features that this super sports hatch has. But, the FF stands for Ferrari Four, for the four seats and four-wheel drive features.

First revealed just in January this year, the FF is the first Ferrari to feature what is called a shooting brake hatchback design and four-wheel drive. The FF also sports a 450-litre boot… unthinkable in a Ferrari till now!

The FF replaces the 612 Scaglietti and is rumoured to have been inspired by the emergence of new markets for Ferrari like China and possibly India, and a new breed of buyers too. It is meant for a class of buyers who want to enjoy the feel and performance of a Ferrari with their family too.The FF's engine is a 6,262cc petrol V12 unit that generates a specific output of about 105 PS per litre, a total of 660 PS at 8,000 rpm. Peak torque is also an equally impressive 683 Nm at 6,000 rpm. The FF features, for the first time, Ferrari's patented, light-weight four-wheel drive system called 4RM and a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox. The new four-wheel drive system can be engaged when set to comfort or snow mode enabling it to be driven to its full even in difficult weather conditions.

Top speed is a mind numbing 335 kmph and the FF, though heavier at 1,880 kgs (kerb weight), still manages to do 0-100 kmph in 3.7 seconds.

There is no better way to announce that you have arrived in life than to acquire a Ferrari. Buying a Ferrari is more than buying a sports car… it is an Italian icon, a big meaty piece of automotive culture and history, a sports car nonpareil and a brand like no other all bundled into one.

Published on June 01, 2011
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