The Ferrari 612 Scaglietti - Performance | Part Two

The aluminium technology used in the space frame chassis and bodywork, which proved such a success for the 360 Modena, results in a massive 60% increase in overall bodywork efficiency (weight-rigidity ratio). The light yet incredibly rigid aluminium construction also offers other significant benefits in terms of performance (acceleration, braking efficiency, handling, dynamics, and general drivability), comfort (wonderfully silent) and safety. In fact, the 612 Scaglietti’s robust structure and restraint systems guarantee maximum occupant protection in the event of a collision.

The second design choice to influence the 612 Scaglietti’s styling was its architecture. A mid-front layout with the engine mounted behind the front axle, and the gearbox and differential in unit at the rear ensure that the centre of gravity is kept as far back and as low as possible. Other significant masses (the cabin, cooling and exhaust systems, the battery, fuel tank) are also positioned much further back than in a conventional layout.

These solutions, combined with an all-aluminium structure which lightens the entire car, deliver a centre of gravity that is considerably lower and further back plus near-perfect weight distribution (46% front, 54% rear). A particularly impressive achievement in a front-engined four-seater.

The 612 Scaglietti offers the kind of dynamic performance (0-100 km/h sprint in just 4.2 seconds), stability and nimble manoeuvrability generally on found in a mid-rear engined car yet not only allows an exceptional amount of space for its passengers and their luggage. The car’s performance is enhanced by a performance-oriented handling set-up with active damping and the special CST stability and traction control system, also in use for the very first time on a Ferrari.

As is traditional at the Prancing Horse, the new car also benefits from the most advanced Ferrari engine and transmission technologies as well as highly sophisticated aerodynamic research. The 65° V12, which displaces almost six litres, is a specially tailored development of the prestigious Ferrari sports car engines. The V12 represents the very pinnacle of Ferrari engine design, thanks in particular to improved fluid dynamic characteristics of the intake and exhaust manifolds, generating a blistering 540bhp at 7250 rpm (almost 100 bhp more than the 456M could manage). The result is a car that is easy to handle in all kinds of conditions and hits speeds of over 315 km/h at full throttle.

In fact, Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo personally asked Amedeo Felisa and his design team to concentrate on certain very specific factors for the new model, including:

  • Weight reduction, courtesy of their experience in the use of aluminium
  • Nimble handling, safety and performance, achieved through weight distribution previously unheard of in a front-engined car
  • Space and comfort for all four of the occupants, thanks to the generous dimensions created by Pininfarina’s styling
continues... | Part Three
Published 19 February 2004 Melanie Carter

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