Ferrari FF has four massive seats, performance screens for passengers
Up until recently there was no Italian translation for 'practical'. Honestly, we tried saying the word once in Maranello and the locals handed us a pizza, the keys to a single-seater F1 car and pointed us in the direction of Ferrari's legendary Fiorano test circuit.
Times are a-changin', though, and the Italians appear to have updated their dictionaries. Ferrari, in particular, looks to have changed its ways by launching the new FF -- a four-wheel-drive hypercar that can accommodate four passengers and a Lidl-load of shopping.
The FF is the replacement for the four-seater Ferrari 612 Scalietti -- the company's previous 'four seater'. Unlike that car, however, there's shedloads of room in the rear. Open the door, flick a switch and the front seats slide forward, beckoning you into one of two amazingly ample rear pews, which offer a tonne of space and enough head room for Gulliver himself.
The boot is -- in a word -- capacious. There's 450 litres of room back there, which is more than a Ford Focus hatchback. Fold the seats forward and this capacity is extended to a whopping 800 litres -- enough to accommodate a week's shopping from Marks & Spencer for a family of eight hungry rugby players.
What's more remarkable is the fact the FF doesn't compromise on equipment or performance. Its 6.2-litre V12 engine throws out 651bhp and more torque than you can legally use outside of a private racetrack. 0-62mph flashes up on its computerised virtual instruments in 3.7 seconds and it'll throw up 208mph -- or certain death -- if you keep your foot planted on the oversize accelerator pedal for long enough.
Cabin tech, which has been a disappointment on previous Ferraris, is well and truly sorted. Passengers in the front (yes, passengers) get their own LCD display indicating the car's engine revs, average and maximum speeds, plus several funky graphs that show exactly how power is being distributed to the four wheels by the car's patented 4RM four-wheel-drive, dual-clutch transmission.
The driver, meanwhile, gets the same angular steering wheel found on the now legendary Ferrari 458 Italia. This, annoyingly, houses buttons for the indicators, so if you're in the middle of a turn and the wheel is upside down, the button that activates the left flashers are on the right, and the one that triggers the right indicator is on the left.
We'll let this slide, however, as the wheel also possesses the awesome mannetino switch, which allows the driver to tell the FF how much interference they want from the car's stability control system.
Select the snow or wet settings and it'll aggressively subtract power from the wheels as required, ensuring you maintain the best grip levels in slippery conditions. Choose the comfort mode and it'll soften up the magnetic suspension to give you the best possible ride on your way to Sainsbury's. Trigger the sport mode, however, and it'll trust you to slide around. Turn it to the right-most position, and it won't get in your way at all, allowing you to powerslide round corners like Colin McRae on Stella.
We got a rare chance to hear the FF's engine note when someone (we're not naming any names, Rory) accidentally fired up the engine on the Ferrari stand here at the Geneva Motor Show. Needless to say, it is eight kinds of incredible, with a ferocious bark on ignition and a low, purposeful burble at idle.
These sounds should be rivalled, however, by the car's 1,280W audio system, which is supplied by Harman. We didn't get a chance to hear it for ourselves (we got chucked off the stand) but we expect the FF's sound system to rival the Bang & Olufsen sets found in the Aston Martin DBS and Vantage V12.
Those that want to harness the FF's power and practicality will need to pay a pretty penny. The car will go on sale for a whopping €260,000 (£223,000). For the rest of us, there's always the photos in our gallery. Enjoy.