I recently wrote that the new Range Rover Sport is probably the best car to take shooting. Its blend of on road performance with off road authority makes it, in my book, the ultimate – if you need to drive yourself from peg to peg. But my experiences with the Ferrari FF tell me there is something a whole lot better, if there is a gunbus or you have a chum with a 4x4 to drive you around on shoot day - and if you've a spare quarter of a million pounds or so…
Mixing speed with size
The Ferrari FF (Ferrari Four, in case you were wondering) is a shooting brake in the correct sense of the phrase, having two doors and a sporting estate car profile. The Ferrari FF also happens to have four seats and four-wheel drive. It can raise its suspension by 40mm if your host’s driveway leaves a little to be desired, and the test car even had Pirelli SottoZero winter tyres on it. I took it shooting twice and it swallowed all my kit with ease, having a ski hatch so you don’t have to break your guns before stowing them. I can proudly say it felt entirely natural to be sitting on its back bumper, putting my wellies on.
Who wouldn’t want to turn up to a shoot in style?
But dear Lord, this is an astonishingly virtuoso performance by Ferrari’s engineers. When all you want to do is bumble, it is an extremely easy car to drive slowly. The automatic mode of the 7-speed dual clutch gearbox is a far cry from the recalcitrant open-gate manuals of Ferraris of old, and the 6.3 litre 650bhp V12 is docile at low rpm, even when cold. Most amazingly of all, it rides beautifully, and never feels anything but entirely comfortable. Once you get on the motorway it is effortlessly quiet and stable, with none of the tramlining that blighted motorway journeys in cars on huge low-profile tyres until recently. In short, the Ferrari FF feels like a car that you could jump into at the end of a cold day’s shooting in Cambridgeshire and drive to Portofino in one go.
Top performance, comfort and, now, space – what more can we ask for?
But what is utterly, truly, amazing is how much of its prodigious performance you can use for how much of the time. If you were to try to drive a conventional supercar as hard as I did the Ferrari FF on wintery, bumpy British country roads, I don’t care who you are – you would end up proceeding very rapidly to the scene of your accident. But the Ferrari FF coped with everything I dared to throw at it.
So, do I have any complaints about the Ferrari FF? Well, yes, I have three. The first is, the one I drove had a small screen in front of the passenger, which told them how fast I was going. This was obviously designed by someone who has never driven Mrs Samuelson. The second is that the very elegant shade of grey paint on the press car was matched with dark blue leather and everyone knows that grey cars should have oxblood leather. And the third is that they’ve asked for it back.
Specifications for the Ferrari FF
Top speed: 208mph
0-62mph: 3.7 seconds
C0₂ emission: 360g/km
Ben Samuelson is the managing director of PR and events agency Samuelson Wylie Associates. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/bensamuelson
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