Friday, October 21, 2011

458 Spider launch

There's always a fear that when a coupe becomes a convertible that the tight, bulletproof feel of the former fails to translate to the latter - fear not, Ferrari fans, the 458 has lost little of its strong-bodied feel. Only sporadically will a shimmy be sparked by a shocking road surface, but it is rare and doesn't adversely effect the ride (which is very good given its abilities) or the drive experience, which is stupendous. The 0-100km/h claim remains near three seconds and the top speed claim is 320km/h - nothing about the road drive suggests those figures are optimistic.

The snarling V8 is maniacal as it heads for the 9000rpm redline - yes, 9000rpm - and it's a soundtrack that overloads the nervous system. Instant changes from the seven-speed twin-clutch briefly change the orchestra's pitch and straights are obliterated. Tipping the Spider into the bends is child's play, the steering is quick and there's no misinformation - just a corner completed with considerable speed and little fuss, unless you have backed the electronics off and have the skills to play with the tail.

The engineering team say the suspension and throttle mapping have been wound back a little for the Spider, which is more likely to be driven daily and with a passenger - it's a little less frenetic than the coupe in a good way. This is really a superb driving machine in every way.

Monday, July 4, 2011

We were featured on Conde Nast Traveller!

Touring Italy at high speed

Aimed at the vast company of car enthusiasts worldwide, Ferrari Tours - based in picturesque Tuscany - feature some of the most iconic and idolized cars around.With a fleet that includes theFerrari 430 Spider,Ferrari California and of course the 2011 World Performance Car of the Year, the Ferrari 458 Italia, the company offers VIP excursions for individuals or groups.

Guests have the opportunity to get behind the wheel themselves and travel solo, but alternatives include an accompanying guide vehicle and multiple car leases for groups.As part of the Ferrari Tours, travellers enjoy a variety of indulgences en route. From fine dining at some of Italy's most inspired restaurants, to villas, deluxe hotels and a wealth of culture at every stop, "Ferrari Tours are unique.

Our ultra-VIP clients know what they want, and we work with them to create the ultimate experience", said Natalie de la Bruni, development manager of Ferrari Tours.Whether or not the clients choose to widen their itinerary, it is Italy's vast, panoramic landscape that acts as the real catalyst for this exhilarating driving experience.

Hairpin bends appear around every corner and stretches of shimmering road meander their way up and down mountain valleys.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Ferrari Factory Tours

First of all the bad news, the official factory tour is only open to Ferrari owners. If you are one of the lucky few, then all you have to do is contact your local dealer and start the ball rolling. On the other hand, if you’re not part of this elite club then all is not lost... Maranello is not a bad place to visit (if you are a motoring enthusiast) and there are plenty of Ferrari-themed activities to take part in.

The major attraction is the ‘Galleria Ferrari’, a purpose-built space where Ferraris old and new are shown in a very attractive and informative format. The professional guides on site can be booked ahead of time and their wealth of knowledge on the Scuderia is quite impressive. On site there is also a nice cafe and gift shop. For me the highlight is always the possibility of seeing the first production Ferrari close to the latest model to be released (always shown here at the same time as they are unveiled at whichever car show). The Galleria is a little on the small side and a tour will take no longer than an hour and a half for the keenest fans.

Just a short walk away you can continue the theme with a meal at the ‘Cavallino’, Enzo’s preferred lunch stop and now a rustic-chic eatery with a great menu and equal service. The clientele here is completely mixed and you are just as likely to sit next to a group of tourist as you are to sit beside the marketing manager of Ferrari.

For more ideas, including details of Ferrari test-drives (a great way to round the day in Maranello off) then visit this page:

Don’t forget that, if a supercar factory tour really is your thing, then the Lamborghini factory is a little more relaxed when it comes to visitors and, if you’re staying in Bologna, can make for a nice morning out.