|22nd June 2005, 18:58||#1|
Join Date: Sep 2004
Have you seen the spanking NEW Ferrari ???
2006 Ferrari Superamerica
In the spirit of its predecessors, the newest Superamerica raises the output of the 575M Maranello’s 5.7-liter V12 from 525 hp to 540 hp. The real fun comes when the weather is nice enough to rotate the top into its open position, an evolution that requires a scant 10 seconds—only seven if the side windows are already down. All new Superamericas will be cabriolets, and the run will be limited to a miserly 559 copies.
2006 FERRARI SUPERAMERICA
ON SALE: Now
BASE PRICE: $330,000 (est.)
POWERTRAIN: 5.7-liter, 540-hp, 434-lb-ft V12; rwd, six-speed manual
CURB WEIGHT: 3946 lbs
0 TO 60 MPH: 4.1 seconds (mfr.)
In the post-auto show season, excitement is scarcer than a Dobbs fedora. So Ferrari got out its bottle of dullness reducer and let us drive its newest car in Monte Carlo. That’s the city within the tiny, tony confines of Monaco. Both town and principality are of course named for defunct U.S. automobiles, one from Chevy, the other from Dodge. And if that’s not enough exclusivity for you, consider Monaco is the second-smallest independent state on earth, the smallest being the Holy See, Pope Benedict XVI’s place in Rome.
The car in question is likely the last in Ferrari’s successful Maranello series. In 1996 the company introduced the 550 Maranello and follow*ed it six years later with the more powerful 575M. All were rear-drive V12 coupes that recalled the hallow*ed 365GTB/4 Daytonas of 1969-74. Now Ferrari will prolong the life of its 575M by creating a limited-edition run of convertibles to be called Superamericas.
What can be said about the Ferrari Superamerica is true also for the 575, except this has more power and a retractable glass roof. Oh, and only 559 of these will be built.
Superamericas, as a part of Ferrari history, almost define the words “limited edition.” The first model 410 Superamerica coupes appeared in 1956, all 10 of them. Ferrari built another half-dozen in 1957 and then ramped up to a dozen for 1959. The 10 built for 1960 were the only cabriolets, and all 29 Superamerica 410s were Pinin Farina designs, back when that was a two-word name. Time having had an effect on nomenclature, the new Superamericas are Pininfarina executions.
The “Super” appellation, incidentally, originally meant the cars bearing that designator carried more powerful V12 engines than run-of-the-carrozzeria Ferrari America models. In the spirit of its predecessors, the newest Superamerica raises the output of the 575M Maranello’s 5.7-liter V12 from 525 hp to 540 hp. All new Superamericas will be cabriolets, and in deference to either global population growth or the free-market profit system, the run will be limited to a miserly 559 copies.
Not what you’d call a limited run, you say? Ferrari is way ahead of you. The Superamerica run will have nine variants, each distinguished primarily by exterior color and trim modifications. You can, for example, have a big yellow Ferrari crest ensconced on each front fender or get a racing package.
The variants are named for areas of the United States that contain lots of persons who can actually afford a new Ferrari. They are Aspen, Carmel, The Hamptons, La Jolla, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Palm Beach, Palm Springs and Santa Fe. A Ferrari insider confirmed the recent junk-bond unpleasantness at GM and Ford kept Grosse Pointe and Bloomfield Hills off the list.
In any event, if you like smaller numbers in your limited run, there would be about 62 Superamericas in each of the nine versions, assuming the factory doesn’t allow a disproportionate number of the Carmel or the Nantucket, which are painted red and black respectively.
In speaking with Ferrari representatives on hand for the Superamerica’s launch at Monte Carlo, one came away with the feeling the car is not so much a Ferrari cabriolet with a newfangled top as it is a 21st century miracle electronic top with a nice Ferrari motor car attached.
The top is structurally simple. It’s a single piece of glass with a single pivot point on each side, and it attaches firmly and securely to the rest of the car. A handle above the windshield prepares the top for dropping and reattaches it when you close it. Otherwise a touch of the top-control button does it all, causing the top to rise, turn backward and lie down on the rear deck. The portion that was the rear window becomes a device that effectively reduces air turbulence.
As for the see-through aspects of the top, developed by France’s St. Gobain Sekurit, we have to admit we’re not sure a glass top belongs on a Ferrari in the first place. In Monaco, however, it allows those living in high-rise splendor to look down and see what you’re wearing. You, in turn, can shop for that multi-million-euro condominium you’ve been wanting.
A single-knob control adjusts the amount of light that enters the leather-lined passenger compartment, and the top reverts automatically to its darkest setting when your Superamerica is at rest. As it happened, a spot of rain fell early in our day, which allowed us to gauge the effect of lightening the interior. Conclusion? No more or less useful than a conventional moonroof. Technology for technology’s sake, we’d say.
The real fun comes when the weather is nice enough to rotate the top into its open position, an evolution that requires a scant 10 seconds—only seven if the side windows are already down. Changing configuration at a stoplight is therefore possible, and it presents jaded Monegasques with a fleeting moment of excitement as well.
Armed with a handsome Superamerica, we set off looking for some twisties and took a westerly route out of Monte Carlo. Leaving town, we passed the local Ferrari agency in the rue Suffern-Reymond. This dealership sells 60 Ferraris each year and services the highest concentration of Ferraris in a single municipality: a population of 400 or so in just over 0.75-square mile. To put that in perspective, the same density level in Manhattan would result in more than 13,000 Ferraris trying to get through crosstown traffic.
Leaving Monaco, we headed west on the A8 autoroute, our destination the town of Draguignan, maybe 125 kilometers distant. We were headed for lunch at an Alain Ducasse restaurant situated in a restored abbey. This establishment, we reasoned, was worth the drive because it would be far less expensive than Le Louis XV, the Ducasse restaurant in our hotel, the Hotel de Paris. Because we had plenty of time, we took curving back roads.
To break the news that the Superamerica takes turns and twists in stride is akin to announcing Cheerios are round and have holes in them. So we’ll skip that except to say the car is quite comfortable and comforting to drive hard, and the six-speed clutchless paddle shifters are more fun than such strange devices have a right to be.
Those Ferrari nuts who call Michael Schumacher Schuey will think me heretical for not considering paddle shifting a religious experience, but remember those are the same zealots who drooled over Ferrari shifters resembling a length of re-bar moving through slots in a sewer grating.
Instructions from our hotel’s concierge notwithstanding, we learned in Draguignan that our luncheon spot lay not there but another 100 kilometers west in La Celle, a village near Brignoles. Our reservation now in jeopardy, we did the only proper thing; we took to the autoroute and reached speeds in excess of 230 km/h in order to arrive on time and spare the restaurant staff needless worry.
The Superamerica strikes fear into the heart of many drivers, particularly those you sneak up behind at high speed on the tollway. There is no squatting in the passing lane on most European roads and even less when a Superamerica is the overtaking vehicle.
We arrived at the Hostellerie de l’Abbaye de la Celle within one minute of our scheduled appearance. A five-course meal followed, reconfirming that lunch in France represents one of our society’s few remaining civilized experiences.
After coffee we headed back to Monaco, driving on a few kilometers of back roads before regaining the autoroute and blasting eastward, urged on by the fear of being late for dinner.
As we drove into Monte Carlo, we discussed the price of the Superamerica, which guarded estimates place at about $330,000.
Whether there are enough recently divorced rich people to absorb 559 of the cars is something of a question, but then we remembered the local dealer, who would probably sell 30 or 40 of the cars. That leaves just over 500 Superamericas, and I’d guess that many buyers will somehow find a way.
If they do they’ll be poorer, but not disappointed.
If you shell out some $330,000 for a car this special, you should get hand-stitched leather and a personalized plaque identifying it as such.
Extract and for more pics and details click here
|24th June 2005, 08:40||#6|
Join Date: Mar 2005
Thanked: 12 Times
What if you get the roof down and park the car outside and all of sudden it starts to rain, then you come out and put the roof down and all the water that had collected splashes into the seat?
Even Clarkson brought it up in last week's Top Gear........
|2nd December 2005, 02:24||#8|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: May 2004
Thanked: 293 Times
Hmmm,either ferrari's designers would have thought about it b4 u & JC did...OR
GTI WR6 , u need to be working for ferrari,man. U deserve to.
|3rd December 2005, 03:57||#9|
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: NYC / BOM
Thanked: 2,630 Times
|13th December 2005, 17:09||#10|
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Austin, TX, US
It is disappointing to see ferrari raise their prices the way they are. Their marketing strategies were always questionable. They came out with the 360 which was relatively affordable and sold quite a few of those, and with price tags this high, they probably wont sell as many.
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