What is the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti?
When the 612 was launched in 2004, the notion of a comfortable and practical Ferrari was anathema to supercar enthusiasts. It was front-engined and, at the time, the biggest car Ferrari had yet made, and its styling was thought awkward compared with the elegance of the 456, which it superseded.
Time and changing fashion have been kind to the 612, though, and it looks considerably less compromised than its replacement, the FF. Its name is a reference to the coachbuilder Sergio Scaglietti, who worked with Enzo Ferrari on models including the 375MM, 250 Testa Rossa and 250 GTO.
The 612 is more of a 2+2 than a real family-sized car, but access to the rear seats is easy and it has a 240-litre boot. As a GT it meets the mark: 0-62mph acceleration in 4.2 seconds and a top speed of nearly 200mph. Although it is one of the fastest four-seaters of the past decade, the ride is good on all but the worst surfaces, the cabin is well laid out with plenty of elbow room, and it’s a docile, undemanding drive in city conditions.
This machine is in no way lacking in agility and handling prowess: though it’s front-engined, the 5.7-litre V12, developed from that of the 575 Maranello, is mounted at the back of the long bonnet, and the rear-mounted transaxle ensures an excellent front-rear weight distribution and near-perfect balance. Traction and stability control help you keep on top of the 532bhp developed by the sublime-sounding engine; speed builds smoothly and progressively.
Choose between the six-speed sequential “F1” transmission and a manual gearbox; the former is not lightning-quick, nor as involving as the manual, but brings a bit of grand prix-style fun with its steering wheel-mounted paddles and makes for a more relaxing drive around town. It became more slick in a 2008 upgrade that also brought the manettino button and selectable gearshift settings.
It’s worth looking for a car with the optional carbon-ceramic brakes, as they noticeably enhance stopping power; they were offered as part of the GTC handling options pack, with modified suspension, five-spoke alloys and high-performance Michelin tyres. Other little treats to find in with the deal include the OTO photochromatic glass roof (from the One to One “bespoke” menu), sat nav, reversing cameras and a Pininfarina-designed luggage set that fits perfectly in the boot.
Prices are now below £60,000 for early cars, but don’t forget to budget for running costs: quite apart from the 13.6mpg fuel consumption and astronomical insurance premiums, the bills for even routine maintenance will be shocking to first-time supercar owners. All the same, a 612 could make a good introduction to ownership of exotic thoroughbred sports cars.
What to look out for when buying a used Ferrari 612 Scaglietti
The 612 marked a large step forward for Ferrari in terms of build quality and reliability — it’s nowhere near as temperamental or fragile as the 456. Owners have reported few problems aside from the odd software or electrical glitch, snags in fit and finish and niggles with the locking system and sat nav. Don’t be tempted by a car owned by someone who underestimated the running costs and skimped on servicing, however, as regular specialist care is essential. Look for signs of wear, tear and hard driving, as replacement of items such as the carbon-ceramic brakes is going to be eye-wateringly expensive.
Ferrari’s dual-clutch transmission has had its glitches, too, and as a general rule, modern Ferraris benefit from regular use — an ultra-low-mileage example may give more problems than a car that has clocked up some running time.
When you’re spending this much money, you want plenty of reassurance. Second-hand Ferraris sold through the company’s European pre-owned scheme are immaculately presented and extensively inspected (190 technical checks plus a test drive by a pro), and they come with a 24-month warranty.
The 2004-7 612 Scaglietti was recalled for a fault in the F1 sequential gearbox, requiring a replacement clutch sensor.
The one to buy
Ferrari 612 Scaglietti semi-auto
- 5748cc, V12
- 532bhp @ 7250rpm
- 433 lb ft @ 5250rpm
- 6-speed semi-automatic
- 0-62mph in 4.2sec
- Top speed:
- 13.6mpg (combined)
- Road tax band:
- L 4902mm, W 1957mm, H 1344mm