Dec 19, 2008

Ferrari Scaglietti In India

I’m not going to bore you with details as we have already covered the Scaglietti in a previous issue but for those who don’t have a copy at hand, suffice it to say that the Scaglietti 612 is named after Sergio Scaglietti, a famous car designer who specialised in Ferrari designs during Enzo’s early years. Scaglietti (and his brothers) used to repair damaged Ferraris but having caught Enzo’s eye with a rebodied Ferrari of his own design, he started designing for him. However, the 612 is a Pininfarina job done as a tribute to Scaglietti, and has been in production since 2004. Well, to get to the point, the fact is that autoXchange – yours truly in particular – got a taste of Scaglietti in Jaipur. Both cars were at the Rambagh Palace hotel in Jaipur, and I was hanging around them hoping to get a ride.

For the last half-hour Andrea Costantini had been giving me the dope on the car…like how Ferrari has used aluminium for the chassis and bodywork, just like in the 360 Modena. Also, thanks to the properties of aluminium and the sophisticated production technology employed, overall bodyweight has come down a full 40%, and the key to its handling proficiency is the optimised weight distribution, 46% at the front and 54% at the rear.

Also, one does need to be a little careful in traffic since, even though the Scaglietti is nicely proportioned, it’s actually 4.9m long and 1.9m wide – making it longer, wider and taller than a Lamborghini Gallardo, and longer than a BMW 5 Series as well.

Then Andrea starts the engine, telling me about the aluminium V12 unit, the Tipo F133E in Ferrari parlance. From 5.7litres (5748cc), the engine develops 540bhp of power at 7,250rpm and 588Nm of torque at 5,250rpm, which endows this family car (yes, it’s a four-seater) with a max speed of 320kph, 300kph with four occupants, and a 0-100kph time of 4 seconds. The quarter-mile comes up in 12 seconds. This car employs Ferrari’s 6-speed ‘F1A’ semi-automatic box with paddle shift operation.

Driver’s briefing over, Andrea walks me over to the driver’s side door and producing that scarlet key fob, unlocks the door for me. Settling into the seat I find a three-spoke steering wheel that seems to have been borrowed from one of Michael Schumacher’s earlier F1 cars staring me in the face, the yellow prancing horse badge dominating the centre of the hub. On the left spoke is a big red ‘Start’ button and the right spoke has a red, three-position selector switch – the Granturismo manettino its called, Andrea informs me from the passenger seat, which in the Scaglietti is on the right hand side.

Immediately behind the steering wheel, in the centre of the instrument binnacle is a large tachometer, unmistakable due to the yellow dial face. On the right is the speedometer, calibrated up to 340kph while to the left of the tach is a black display, which lights up on turning the key to first confirm that I’m indeed sitting behind the steering wheel of a Scaglietti 612, and then switches to display information – time, ambient temperature, mode, oil and water temperature, fuel, distance and speed.

Andrea points to the manettino (mah-net-TEE-no) and continues to brief me. The manettino allows the driver to choose the mode he or she wants to be in - Comfort, Sport or CST Off. Comfort is for relaxed travel while Sport firms up the suspension and also alters the engine map for a more spirited drive. Selecting the third option switches off the electronic driving aids i.e. stability and traction control, but that is ideally used on a racing circuit and not a public road, Andrea informs me.