1 Jul 2006
The 456kW 5.99-litre (hence the name) V12-powered 599 took over from its 550 and 575M predecessors.
Built using an all-aluminium body and chassis to deliver a weight/power ratio of just 2.6kg per horsepower, the two-seater 599 coupe employed F1 technology to blast to 100km/h in a claimed 3.7 seconds and to a top speed of more than 330km/h.
At launch, the basic 599 was claimed to be the most powerful V12-engined production car of all time and it came with a pricetag to match.
In September 2009 the Handling Gran Turismo Evoluzione (HGTE) package became available in Australia, comprising modified suspension in the form of stiffer springs with a lower ride height, a tauter rear anti-roll bar and new 20-inch split-rim wheels with a unique diamond-cut and matt silver finish, wrapped in stickier-compound tyres.
There was also a new calibration setting for the magnetorheological shock absorbers, which employed a type of smart fluid that would become viscoelastic-solid when magnetised, in a similar way to the Magnetic Ride Control system found on some HSV models, but only when the most aggressive setting was selected on the 599’s Manettino – Ferrari’s selectable suspension and drivetrain system.
A matt black rear diffuser is the GHTE’s only external differentiator but carbon-fibre was the overriding styling theme of the 599’s HGTE-modified interior.
The seats were trimmed in a new two-tone combination of leather with black Alcantara inserts, with the seat backs made entirely from carbon-fibre. A Prancing Horse logo and the words ‘Handling GTE’ were embroidered in contrasting stitching on the head restraints.
They are headlined by a claimed 0-100km/h acceleration time of just 3.35 seconds. That's down from the standard 599’s 3.7 seconds and 0.05 seconds quicker than Ferrari's new 458 Italia coupe, which is due here mid-year and offers the same 3.4-second 0-100km/h pace as Porsche's latest 911 Turbo.
The Beijing motor show saw the public debut of the 599 GTO, which at 335km/h, eclipsed the 458’s top speed by 10km/h (and the regular 599's by 5km/h). Despite the 'fastest Ferrari road car ever' claim, however, the GTO was not as quick or fast as the mid-engined carbon-fibre Enzo, which had a stated 0-100km/h time of 3.2 seconds and an estimated top speed of 360km/h.
There was no doubting the GTO's impressive weight-to-power ratio of just 2.23kg/hp, though, or its record lap time of just 1:24 at the Fiorano racetrack from which its donor car took its name.
That lap time made the GTO quicker around Ferrari's test track than both the 599 and the Enzo (1:25), thanks to a more powerful iteration of the 599’s 5.999-litre 65-degree alloy V12, a hefty weight reduction and comprehensive chassis and aerodynamic tweaks.
Ferrari said the 599 GTO V12 – described as a street-legal, Euro 5 emissions-compliant version of the track-only 599XX’s engine – delivered 500kW at 8250rpm, which was up 44kW on the 456kW 599 at an extra 650rpm, but down 10kW and 750rpm on the 599XX concept.
There was also a claimed 620Nm of twist available at 6500rpm, which out-muscled the regular 599’s 607Nm by just 13Nm at an extra 900rpm.