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Old 10th June 2004, 01:27   #1
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Here are the very first pictures of Ferrari's forthcoming replacement for the celebrated 575M Maranello. Dubbed the Ferrari 600 Imola and expected to debut in 2006, the new car will carry over the technical concept of a V-12 front-engine super sports coupe seating for two, but is expected to become a considerably larger car (gaining especially in length) with roomier cabin and luggage compartments. Power will be delivered by a new 6.0-liter engine adopted from the Enzo and 612 Scaglietti models.

As a first prototype, the new car is cunningly hidden under a cut-and-shut 612 Scaglietti body that has been shortened between the A and B-pillars by 6 inches. It takes a good look to spot the giveaway clues - the shorter doors, the bulged door panels, the arch of the side windows, and the widened front end.

Technically, the 600 will draw heavily on the 612's body-panel-on-aluminium-space-frame technology and mechanical underpinnings, including engine, transaxle transmissions, and front and rear suspension corner modules. Consequently, the 600 will not be considerably lighter than the 4056-lb 612 Scaglietti. But specially tweaked suspension geometries, damper and spring settings as well as shorter gear ratios will provide for a much sportier driving experience.

The 6.0-liter engine, rated at 540 hp in the 612 Scaglietti and 660 hp in the Enzo, is expected to be tuned for around 580 to 600 hp in the Imola. The 600 will also adopt the 612's front-mid-engine layout. The shorter wheelbase of the 600 and an even more forward position of the front axle will further improve handling abilities over those of the 612. When compared with the current 575M, the 600 may gain in driving stability as well as steering response and turn-in, thanks to its longer wheelbase and the more balanced weight distribution.

Unclear remains at the moment to what degree the new 600 Imola will optically resemble the 612 Scaglietti. It is anticipated that the external distinction will be similarly pronounced as it was between the 456M GT/GTA and the 550/575M models. But the close technical relationship and parts sharing philosophy between the new 612 and future 600 models will forbid Pininfarina (who are once more in charge of styling a prestigious new Ferrari) to depart from joint proportions and similar front and rear end shapes.

An open-top "Barchetta" spyder version is rumoured to debut in 2007 or 2008, i.e. one to two years into the F600 Imola's series production.


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