Richard in the Ferrari 550 Maranello
A front-engined manual V12... with a large helping of soul. Richard has a go in the Ferrari 550 Maranello
Posted: 26 Apr 2011
The aluminium body keeps weight down and the transaxle 'box keeps things balanced, but, driving one today, it doesn't shrink around you. Instead, you're always conscious of its size: the 550 feels like a Very Grand Tourer. Which is exactly what it was supposed to be. On a damp road, it can spin its wheels in sixth. Get it wrong, and there will be a very expensive bill waiting. If one of those 12 cylinders decides to come over all Italian and make a fuss, then brace for that same enormous bill. But that only adds to the glamour, the risqué heroism of it. And, in fact, these things are tough and capable of racking up some real miles without ruining their owner. The 550 is not a car for the pub bore. I couldn't give a stuff if it's slower round the Nurburgring than a rusty Saxo. Which it isn't. What it is, is a great big magnificent statement.