A family ride through Italian wine country in a Ferrari FF
Author James Williams Illustration Brett Affrunti
Italians love their Ferraris as much as they love their art and wine. We decided to sample all three on a drive from Bologna to the vineyards of Chianti, via Florence. The FF’s hunched “shooting-brake” body turned plenty of heads along the way—after all, a four-seater hatchback Ferrari is a rare sight.
The Autostrada is the perfect road for opening up the 660 bhp V12 engine. Top speed is 208 mph, and 0–60 takes just 3.7 seconds, so in a flash we were turning onto the S65, part of the old Mille Miglia rally route that crosses the Apennines. By lunchtime we were able to glimpse Florence’s domes through the treetops.
After touring the Uffizi Gallery, we continued south into wine country. The unpredictable roads really put the FF through its paces, and Ferrari’s 4RM system outshone other 4WDs, delivering maximum torque to each individual wheel, which, in addition to sporty and agile cornering, offered a high level of safety.
When we stopped at Greve in Chianti, a pretty town with bars serving local wine, we were grateful for the rear-mounted camera display: When you’re parking a $295,000 automobile, you’ll take all the help you can get. Another nice touch: the slim LCD screen on the passenger side, displaying revs, speed and the trip log.
FF stands for “Ferrari Four” (as in four wheel drive) but it could easily be “family friendly.” Racer dads won’t have to sell those hot wheels when the kids arrive, as you could easily squeeze a baby carriage in the trunk. In our case, it just meant we could easily stow some of Tuscany’s famous
Florence’s tailors would approve of the leather interior by Poltrona Frau. But you can also get seats made of material similar to that worn by Enzo Ferrari himself. The large windows (rare for a sports car) helped us enjoy views of the Ponte Vecchio. For the kids, who could care less, there are tablets in the seatbacks.
The controls on the steering wheel include a switch for ice, wet, comfort and sport settings. Most important, the paddle shifts mean you never have to take your hands off the wheel. Another fun touch: LEDs that illuminate when you accelerate, as we found when we overtook a rusty old Fiat on a country lane.
Before we headed home, a crowd gathered around the FF, and it was clear they were waiting for something. So we gave it to them, firing up the two pairs of pipes and sounding the note Ferrari’s engineers worked so hard to achieve. By the looks on their faces, it was as if Pavarotti himself had just sounded off.