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So how is Ferrari going to replace the 599?

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As you’ll know, we’re pretty smitten with the Ferrari FF. Now, if a big four-seat GT car can go like that, imagine what happens when Ferrari pours its expertise into a flat-out V12 two-seater. And adds a load of fairy dust from the 599 GTO and the 458.

Yup, welcome to 2012’s replacement for the 599. Known internally by the codename F152. They should dream up something faster-sounding as the showroom name. On the other hand they didn’t for the FF. (FF? What sort of name for a supercar is that? Might as well have called it the Paperclip.)

The original plan was for the F152 to be a facelifted, up-powered 599. But the FF has turned out so well, this idea wouldn’t stand up any longer. Instead, the F152 will have very few bits carried over from the 599, and more from the FF.

Only compared with the FF it’ll be rear-drive, lighter in weight, and even more insanely powerful. Woo and indeed hoo.

The screaming V12 engine is based on the GTO’s. We suggested 700bhp to a very senior engineer and he didn’t shy away from it. With direct injection and a rev limit of 8500, it’ll scream like the screamiest banshee, and still save fuel over the 599.

Performance also improves because weight drops. The aluminium frame is similar to the one in the FF, though with a shorter wheelbase. Some carbonfibre will be used for external panels, to shave even more off.

Want plush in your hypercar? Ferrari ought to be able oblige. The 599 has a double-wishbone back suspension, but the 458, California and FF use a multi-link setup that stretches wider the possibilities. They can make a car as sharp-steering as a 599 but with more comfort (as they did on the FF), or one with as much comfort as a 599 but considerably better handling (as they intend to for the F152).

Other goodies new to the two-seat V12 include include the manettino-controlled e-diff and twin-clutch gearbox. The Manettino position will also alter MR damping programme, gearshift strategy and time, traction and stability systems, e-diff stability, throttle map and the magically anti-social bypass exhaust valve.

By the way, if you want an all-carbon Ferrari to match your Lambo and McLaren-owning mates, you have to pay more, and get the ‘new Enzo’ that’s also due out in 2012. Ferrari is committed to aluminum for its main ranges. For a start it has spent gazillions on a factory to make aluminium cars.

And Ferrari engineers deny aluminium is second-class. Technical Director Roberto Fedeli says it’s like the aircraft industry: Boeing is going for carbon but Airbus is sticking largely with metals. So the F152’s frame will be aluminium. But not just aluminium: it’ll be, you know, Marks and Spencer’s aluminium. Some 20 different alloys will be used to get ideal local qualities of weight, energy absorption, stiffness, panel finish and joint strength.

But what’s it look like? At the moment, a protoype is running round covered in taped-on padding and black bin bags. But you can be sure it’ll use some of the fancy vortex aero trickery of the GTO. And if it’s anything like the 458, it won’t be any kind of munter…

TopGear meets the Ferrari 599 GTO

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