You are here

Ferrari 599: This Is Your Life

  1. Rewind six years. Remember where you were when you first saw a photo of a Ferrari 599? Like us, as you added the words ‘big’, ‘front-engined’ and ‘Ferrari’ together, we’re sure you muttered under your breath “Daytona…”

    Sure, Ferrari had hung V12s out in front of the driver since the Daytona. There was the uber-cool 412, and 456 two-plus-two cruisers, and the altogether more lairy 550 two-plus-nobody-else, but the meaty 12-cylinder cars since the Daytona had all been mid-engined. Think of the breathtaking 512, and the recently-cool-again Testarossa.

    But none had matched the Daytona for sheer muscle. Oh, we love the way Ferrari hooks up its F1 and road car programmes. Nobody does it better. But the sheer romance of a big, front engine GT takes some beating. Old school class.

  2. So yes, we got very worked up about the 599, and made it one of our cars of the year in 2006. Tom Ford got a tear in his eye as he wrote: “…on a French Autoroute, with the steering wheel’s shift LEDs showing the way to the 8400rpm redline and the speedo needle gathering a similar momentum, it all fuses together, all that history, everything you’ve ever seen, heard or read about Ferrari’s 60 years.”

    Six years on and the 599 has evolved. This week, as pictures of its replacement started to circulate on-line (on places like Twitter that had yet to be invented in 2006), the 599 appeared in what might be its ultimate iteration, the XX Evoluzione, complete with an F1-style Drag Reduction System.

    Time, we thought, to bring out the Big Red Book. Ferrari 599, This is Your Life…

  3. 599 GTB Fiorano

    The 599 GTB Fiorano, to give it its full name, took at bow at the end of February 2006 at the Geneva show and took everyone’s breath away. It wasn’t just the looks - designed by Frank Stephenson before he left to join McLaren - it was the promise of that V12 engine, derived from the Enzo. Six-litres, 620bhp. The most potent road Ferrari engine ever at the time. And it would only get more powerful…

  4. 599 HGTE

    That’s ‘Handling Gran Turismo Evoluzione’ to you. It’s Ferrari’s smart way of making a car better without alienating existing customers: the pack is available as an option and a retrofit. Although the name must be ironic: this was all about handling, not touring. It fitted tougher and shorter springs, stiffer anti-roll bars, new tyres on new rims and a general sense of the car hitting 11 when you turned the manettino to ten.

  5. 599 GTO

    The car that was famously too much for Jeremy. We all know the GTO story, so it was ballsy for Ferrari to dust off its most famous badge for the fastest road going 599 yet (and if Fiorano lap times are any measure, still the fastest road-going Ferrari). Taking technology from the 599 XX, the V12 was uprated to 670bhp and nearly 100kg of weight was lost. Electronically it could confuse Alonso, so no wonder Jezza struggled. 60mph in less than 3.4secs and 208mph maximum.

  6. 599 SA Aperta

    With the 670bhp engine from the GTO, the SA Aperta, launched last year, was engineered as a tribute to Sergio and Andrea Pininfarina, the son and grandson of the founder of the Turin Carrozzeria Battista ‘Pinin’ Farina. Only 80 were made (although if the Pope or Michael Schumacher - for a long time effectively the same thing in Italy - wanted one, we’re sure Ferrari would make another). The only official open top 599, it features a hood you’d only be bothered to put up if it was raining really hard. TG’s Tom Ford really liked this one.

  7. 599 P540 Superfast Aperta

    Remember the Enzo-based P4/5 special built by American Industrialist James Glickenhaus, and the 430-based P4/5 racer it sired? Well here’s another in the same ilk, but officially from Ferrari. A one-off, it’s designed to show that with enough money, Ferrari will take personalization way beyond matching the floor mats to your favourite tie. The lucky boy this time is another Yank, Edward Walson. His dad invented cable TV. Which might explain the design inspiration. A short 1968 film called Toby Dammit. Seen it? Us neither.

  8. 599 Superamerica 45

    Ah yes. We’d like to emphasise that the Walson car on the previous page was the first car in Ferrari’s official one-off programme, unlike the Glickenhaus cars which were designed in conjunction with Pininfarina (and are not allowed to wear a Ferrari badge). This is the second official one, commissioned for, yup, you’re ahead of us, a rich American. This guy’s a New York real estate broker called Peter Kalikow who’s been buying cars for 45 years. Hence the name. Like an SA Aperta, only with the revolving roof of a 575M Superamerica.

  9. 599 XX

    ‘XX’ is Ferrari speak for very special indeed. Limited numbers, unlimited technology. Oh, and you can’t drive an XX car on the road. In fact you can’t drive it at all unless you have access to a Ferrari technician or Ferrari technology. XX is a development programme open only to 29 of Maranello’s most hard-core customers. For just over £1.1million you get a car, two years worth of test-days three times a year where you’ll be invited to download your thoughts to engineers and, maybe best of all, a set of official ‘Ferrari Test Driver’ flameproofs.

  10. 599 XX 'Evo'

    Just as they did with the first XX car, the Enzo based FXX, Ferrari has just announced an Evoluzione package. In the case of the 599, it’s mostly aero and comes in the form of a rear wing Drag Reduction System, although the six-litre V12 gets another 30bhp, taking it to 740bhp. Remember the humble 599GTB Fiorano at the start of this story? Its 620bhp was a record output for a Ferrari back then. The opening and closing wing will cost you another £185,000, but it does buy you another two years worth of track time. No new-design overalls though…

  11. 599 HY-KERS

    As if to prove there’s nothing on one of its F1 cars it can’t make work on a road car, Ferrari showed this green concept at the Geneva Motor show in 2010. It works a bit like a Prius, with a 107bhp electric engine getting in between the largely unchanged V12 (yeah, that’s how [ital] this car is…) and the new gearbox, which is taken from the 458. Unfortunately for Ferrari, Porsche surprised the world at the same show with the 918, which took the idea of a green supercar to another level.

What do you think?

This service is provided by Disqus and is subject to their privacy policy and terms of use. Please read Top Gear’s code of conduct (link below) before posting.

Promoted content