Every year we hear how smaller turbocharged V8 engines will make the V12 obsolete. Ferrari’s F12berlinetta represents the state of the art for naturally aspirated twelve-cylinder power, but its predecessor was just as refined.
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From 2006 to 2012, the 599 GTB Fiorano carried the flag as Ferrari’s premier Grand Turismo. As such, it launched with the same 5.9-liter V12 found in the Enzo. The graceful lines of the body were too low for such a tall engine, so the intake and oil pan were revised in order to fit under the hood. Power was initially rated at 612 hp and 448 lb-ft. Maximum power was achieved at 7,600 rpm and torque maxed out at 5,600.
Since these peaks are relatively far apart in terms of engine speed, an innovative transmission was needed. Borrowing technologies from their F1 cars, a new single clutch six-speed automatic was dubbed the “F1-SuperFast.” Shift times of 100 milliseconds set a new industry standard, and are still faster than most contemporary dual-clutch boxes. If you prefer to shift your own gears, the 599 GTB was the last V12 Ferrari to offer a traditional manual transmission.
Only a handful of manual-equipped 599’s made their way to the US, and I had an opportunity to drive one at the 2014 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. The clutch pedal was not overly stiff, but the lightweight flywheel makes for a tricky launch. The gated shifter rewards you with the proper metallic responses, but the long gates require the precision of a surgeon to select the correct gear.
The team at Pininfarina was given the task of making aerodynamics subservient to the driver. Each element of the innovative design has a purpose. Large brake cooling vents keep the front end planted, and flying buttresses flank the quarter glass to generate rear downforce. Even the carefully sculpted mirrors are farther away than previous models in order to abate cockpit turbulence with the windows down.
For the ultimate track-only version, they raised the rev-limiter to 9,000 rpm to make 720 hp. The 599XX debuted in 2009, and is not street legal. Many of the body panels were fashioned from race-weight carbon fiber, and many luxuries were deleted in the name of performance. The public demanded a street-legal version, which became the 2011 599 GTO.
The motoring world was shocked at the performance when it lapped the Fiorano test circuit one second faster than the Enzo. Just 599 were built, with only approximately 125 making to the US. The fastest street legal Ferrari to date is also among the most sought after. Not simply an engine upgrade, the brakes are carbon ceramic and the transmission shift times were reduced to a blistering 60 ms. While the 599XX had 720 hp, to meet emissions requirements, power was dialed back to a modest 670 hp. This allowed 62 mph to arrive in only 3.35 seconds. To celebrate the long history of Ferrari and the Pininfarina families, the 599 SA Aperta was a convertible using the GTO’s powertrain. Only 80 cars were built.
If you need more information, Ferrari has detailed pages on each model on their Past Models pages. Do your research and make sure all services are up to date, as neglect can be a costly oversight. As its numbers were limited at its introduction, our dealers have an exclusive selection of 2011 599 GTOs for sale. Find your perfect fit, and stay tuned to Autofluence for more future classics to look for.
2011 Ferrari GTO
North Miami Beach, Florida
2011 Ferrari GTO
Newport Beach, California
2011 Ferrari GTO
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