Sup Maranello Buddy

Whilst a child, I longingly gazed at posters aplenty, walls lovingly adorned and Athena shops worshipped. Italian has always been the motoring Mecca of the world. Luke warm receptions aside, I’m grinning like a school kid who’s just woken up to find his entire street snowed in on a day he has cross country running. I’m now the proud owner of a stunning Ferrari.
[Rolf Harris]Can you guess what it is yet?[/Rolf Harris]

Anyway, here are some first impressions.

It’s been raining for 2 days solid which has really annoyed me, so driving with this car with anything more than 50% throttle and you just get insane wheelspin. On the motorway, I floored it at 100MPH in 4th gear, traction control light went crazy. I guess it’s good as it gives me time to get acustomed to the car. It’s a brute of a car with planet pulling power. This thing has it’s own gravitational field. It’s not the fastest thing I’ve driven, but it certainly gives you the sense of immense power.

In this weather, anything up to 4th gear, forget it. ASR light goes crazy, just wants to let go. Otherwise, it’s progressive power but does hit a little boost at 4-5k rpm. Low RPM limit, but this V12 is a torque car. Stick it in any gear and there’s no grumbling, regardless of speed.

Ride is exceptional. Relatively firm suspension but soaks up all but the worst pot holes (nothing like the RS, but we’re talking chalk and cheese). Handling is sublime – absolutely no body roll, but without the harshness that normally accompanies zero pitch cars. Going around corners is fantastic, very direct and an attitude that defies its 1.8 tonne weight – needs to be experienced to be believed.

I found the 575 a bit pointy on the nose when accelerating. It would point to the sky under hard acceleration which put me right off. The 550 doesn’t do this to the same extent, but you can’t stop that massive bonnet with hidden V12 from moving a little.

Steering is light, but a little on the vague side. In comparison to the RS (which has IMHO the most incredibly focused and communicative steering I’ve ever experienced), it’s responsive and accurate, but not as intricate.

Jury’s out on the Tubi. It sounds loud but doesn’t have enough vocal characteristic. It’s plenty on the volume front, but I prefer quality of the decibel, not quantity. Best part about them is starting the engine. That high pitched starter motor is chased by an incredible explosion from the exhaust. It’s shamefully OTT in its announcement, but satisfyingly reasuring. [Edit – I’m starting to like it! =)]

Looks wise, it hits the spot – truly is a stunner in my opinion and that’s from any angle. I find myself getting out of the car and circling it round and around.

Will take some better photos soon!