- Post is under moderationNo ferries, said Ferrari, or racetracks, and no more than 356 miles / 500km. And 24 hours maximum. So, what to do with a 770hp / 574kW F12tdf for the day? 24 Heaven. / #Ferrari-F12tdf / #2017-Ferrari-F12tdf / #Ferrari-F12 / #Ferrari / #Ferrari-250GTO / #Ferrari-250 / #Ferrari-250-GTO /
V12 FERRARI LEGENDS 770hp / 574kW TDF MEETS $50 MILLION 250 GTO by COLIN GOODWIN PHOTOGRAPHY by ASTON PARROTT
Twenty-four hours, 500km. That' s how long we can keep, and how far we are allowed to drive, this Ferrari F12tdf. What to do with it? Track use is off limits and the small print says that we must not cross the channel. There’s a brief thought of putting it on a trailer and taking it to the Scottish Highlands, but that would be a right faff and would leave us with about ten minutes at the wheel. So we’ll simply go for a nice drive in the country and pop in to see some friends for tea. Car-minded sort of friends.
There’s some good history in Slough, apart from being the location for Ricky Gervais’s The Office. Ford Advanced Vehicles’ workshop was on the Slough Trading Estate (in a building that was later the home of JW Automotive, of Gulf GT40 and 917 fame) and so was Team Surtees before it moved to Kent. In the mid-’60s Lola was in premises on Yeovil Road, which is just around the corner from Ferrari’s main office. You go to the showroom at the old Maranello Concessionaires in Egham to buy your Ferrari but test cars are collected from a nondescript building in Slough.
If I was Ferrari I’d get the council to re-lay the road outside its office. It’s bumpy as hell and even with the tdf’s suspension in the softest, Bumpy Road setting, it’s not doing my back much good. I might not be able to walk by the end of today. Thankfully, when we reach a better bit of blacktop the ride becomes acceptable. Stiff, but no need for the osteopath yet.
What an engine. The tdf’s 6.3-litre #Ferrari-V12 produces 770hp / 574kW at 8500rpm (DIN power). It is the most powerful naturally aspirated engine I’ve ever experienced, and that includes the 8.2-litre Chevy in a McLaren M8F Can-Am car. But it’s not just the power output that’s staggering, it’s how refined those 12 cylinders are. Barely above tickover with the seven-speed dual-clutch ’box already in fifth along Slough’s Bath Road and today’s electronics act like an IV drip of Strepsils to prevent any coughing or hesitation. Twenty years ago an engine producing this amount of power per litre would have been cammy and agitated in traffic. Forty years ago it wouldn’t have ticked over under 2000rpm and would have oiled its plugs at the first set of traffic lights unless you sat there with the throttles wide open.
The roads are rather damp this morning. This worries me. I have briefed myself by reading Jethro Bovingdon’s pilot’s notes from the F12tdf’s launch in Italy. He was only allowed a few laps around Fiorano and a few hours on local roads but gathered enough thoughts to give me the impression that this is a car that needs to be treated with utmost caution. No understeer, very direct steering and a rather unusual sensation provided by its rear-wheel- steering system. I think it unlikely that I will twiddle the manettino to the ESC Off position today, but to keep it in the Wet setting would show a lack of self-confidence that might worry photographer Aston Parrott, so Race will do, with the suspension still set to Bumpy Road. At least the interior ergonomics are superb – what you don’t need in a car that can do 0-100km/h in 2.9 seconds are distractions.
We have a plan: we’re going to visit the Prescott Hill Climb course, near Cheltenham. I love the place and Parrott will be able to do some photography undisturbed. Stuart Webster, who runs Prescott, has said that when the hill isn’t used for competition it’s the driveway to several houses, so there’ll be no blasting up it in the tdf at full bore. This should keep us within Ferrari’s ‘no tracks’ rule.
Prescott House and its hill were bought in 1937 by the Bugatti Owners’ Club, which was looking for its own hillclimb course having been kicked out of most venues because of noise complaints. Nothing new under the sun or in motorsport. The first meeting at Prescott was in 1938 and apart from the war getting in the way it has been used ever since. The original course was 880 yards long but in 1960 a loop was added, called Ettore’s, extending it to 1127 yards, or just over a kilometre. Today all meetings run on the longer course except for the annual Vintage Sports Car Club event.
Unlike Shelsley Walsh, which has one significant corner to get wrong, Prescott is seriously technical with many sections and details to catch you out and ruin a time, and quite a few places to have a substantial shunt. I’ve driven it a few times in anger and it’s very challenging. Traversing it at a more sensible pace today, I’m glad I’m not against the clock. It would be a very serious challenge in the tdf, as apart from traction being an issue for virtually the whole length of the course, the Ferrari is not a narrow car. Accuracy would be key.
For lunch I’m going to have to eat my own words. For the last few years I’ve been on a campaign against ridiculous power outputs in road cars. Hot hatches with 250kW and SUVs with 350kW are missing the point and in 2017 are totally out of step with reality. Of course, the F12 doesn’t need even the 545kW it has in standard form; with an extra 29kW the tdf is even more excessive, but I can’t help loving this engine, even though it only adds to the fear that one day all engines will have some form of forced induction. This V12 is up there with Lamborghini’s V12 and the 4.0-litre flat-six in the GT3 RS as one of the great engines of today. And it ranks above these because even the Aventador’s motor feels tame in comparison. The first proper trip I made in a Ferrari was in a 456 GT.
Ferrari gave us a mileage limit with that car, too, but I was more of a rebel in those days and gave it back with an extra 5000km on the clock. It was a road trip of flat-out blasts and disregard for French speed limits. I’ve never forgotten it, or the car, and it started a love affair with front-engined Ferraris. Now the tdf is proving to be the most dramatic of the lot.
We spot a plaque that celebrates the life of FitzRoy Somerset, 5th Baron Raglan. A Bugatti fanatic and chairman of the Bugatti Owners’ Club from the late ’80s and into the ’90s, he kept his Type 51 in the kitchen of his house. Yonks ago I was having a curry in Abergavenny when there was the scream of supercharged engine as a car pulled up outside. It was Baron Raglan in his 51 come to collect his takeaway. Class.
Under Webster’s guidance Prescott has developed hill climbing at the venue to be more of a family day out, with a lot more entertainment than watching a weird and wonderful selection of cars blasting by. Not that I need much else apart from a loo and a picnic.
We depart and set off to see my mate Vic Norman. He runs the Breitling wing-walking team that flies Boeing-Stearman biplanes with Lycra-clad girls up on their wings. The team is based near Cirencester – suitably close to Prescott for us to not commit an odometric crime and upset Ferrari.
Four Stearman biplanes are sufficient to draw me regularly to the airfield. But like many of us, Vic’s into anything with an engine and as well as owning a 550 Maranello, a Porsche 356, an AC Ace and an ex-Stirling Moss XK120, he has a collection of motorbikes that includes a 1912 Flying Merkel. It was once used to power a generator in a gold mine previously owned by Bud Ekins, the stuntman and friend of Steve McQueen who performed the jump in The Great Escape.
It’s not so much what he owns now that makes Norman interesting, it’s what he’s owned in the past. Particularly V12 Ferraris. For example, the 250 GTO that’s now owned by Nick Mason. “I bought it in the early ’70s,” explains Norman. “I’d heard on the grapevine that Peter Newens, whose family owned the Maids of Honour tearoom in Kew, was thinking of selling his GTO. I wasted no time and went around to Pete’s house and started negotiations. He wanted about 13 grand for the car [circa $22,000]. Anyway, while I was talking to him I saw Brian Classic, the racer and classic car dealer, coming up the front path. Guessing that Brian had also heard about the GTO, I immediately offered the asking price and shook on it. Brian was a bit peeved.”
After keeping it for a few years, during which time it delivered young Normans to school and completed other domestic tasks, the GTO was moved on. “I got £16,000 [circa $27K] for it,” says Norman, “which I thought was amazing.” As well as the GTO, Norman has owned a couple of 275 GTBs, a 250 GT SWB and a Daytona. “Ironically my favourite Ferrari is the original 250 GT TdF. I never owned one but I’ve driven a few.”
I’ve never taken the kids to school in a GTO but I’ve been shopping in Vic’s, now Mason’s, GTO. Cammy, as to be expected, but easy to drive and with as much soul as a car could have. Mason’s Ten Tenths, the company that runs and prepares his collection, is based at the same airfield. And since any excuse to fire up and listen to a classic Ferrari V12 mustn’t be missed, engineers Charles Knill-Jones and Ben de Chair (double-overhead surnames aren’t compulsory: the outfit is managed by Mike Hallowes) are persuaded to start the GTO and bring it outside for Parrott’s and my pleasure.
Mason has just taken delivery of his own F12tdf. Unlike ours, it has lightweight carpets covering the industriallooking anti-slip material that’s standard and rather more comfortable seats. “That,” says Knill-Jones, pointing at the tdf, “is the best road car in the world. I drove Nick’s at Goodwood and it was doing 270km/h at the end of the Lavant Straight.” I didn’t need to hear that. I’d dearly love to drive this car on a track, particularly at Goodwood. I wish I’d risked being put on the naughty step by Ferrari.
It is true that a 574kW Ferrari capable of over 340km/h is of limited practical use, but it is a very good thing that it exists. The tdf is one of the most dramatic Ferraris that I’ve ever driven (in fact it’s up there with a McLaren F1) yet it’s perfectly useable on the road and, if you’re damned careful, in any conditions, too. I’d like to hope that among the lucky 799 who have ordered one, there will be people like Baron Raglan and Vic Norman who use their cars. I suspect most will go into collections or heated garages.
At least this one is getting some proper use. Back at Slough, with the Tour de Force in one piece, the trip meter reads 508km. Today was not the day to start obeying rules.
It’s one of the most dramatic Ferraris I’ve driven, yet it’s perfectly useable on the road
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #2017 / #Ferrari-F12tdf
Engine 6262cc #V12 , dohc, 48v
Power 770hp / 574kW @ 8500rpm DIN
Torque 520lb ft / 705Nm @ 6250rpm DIN
Transmission #Seven-speed-DCT , rear-wheel drive, #E-diff-3 , #F1-Trac , #ESC
Front suspension Double wishbones, coil springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar
Rear suspension Multi-link, coil springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar, rear-wheel steer
Brakes Ventilated carbon-ceramic discs, 398mm front, 360mm rear, #ABS , #EBD
Wheels 20 x 10.0-inch front, 20 x 11.5-inch rear
Tyres 275/35 ZR20 front, 315/35 ZR20 rear
Power-to-weight 507 hp / 378kW/tonne
0-62MPH / 0-100km/h 2.9sec (claimed)
Top speed 212 MPH / 340km/h+ (claimed)
Basic price $808,888 (sold out)
Above: Goodwin guides the F12 up the technical Prescott course, being careful not to prang any carbonfibre bodywork. Below: tdf with Nick Mason’s #1962 250 GTO.
Above and right: 110kg weight saving over the standard F12 plus an extra 29kW give the tdf a truly explosive power-toweight ratio of 378kW per tonne – more than enough for the Prescott hill climb.
What you don’t need in a car that can do 0-100km/h in 2.9 seconds are distractionsStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationNew #2016 Ferrari F12 gets hardcore option / #Ferrari-F12tdf-packs / #Ferrari-F12tdf / #Ferrari-F12 / #Ferrari /
New tdf pays homage to Tour-de-France victories fabulous 250GT TdFs of the 1950s, what with all those louvres. They’re fewer here, though rather highertech, working to increase downforce rather than simply to dissipate heat.
Still, it’s hot stuff: while spy shots first appeared a couple of months ago, Ferrari is no longer being so coy about the more extreme version of its flagship supercar. The new F12tdf packs a 769bhp punch, up 39bhp over the standard car, while ‘abundant’ (Ferrari’s own words) use of carbonfibre trims weight by a remarkable 110kg.
All that makes for performance figures of 0-62mph in 2.9 seconds and a top speed ‘in excess of 340km/h’ – that’s 212.5mph.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationFEATURE THE MC CUSTOMS X NOVITEC ROSSO – IMPROVING PERFECTION #2015 #Ferrari-F12berlinetta-Novitec-Rosso
A stock #Ferrari-F12 berlinetta is perfect in the eyes of most, but German tuner Novitec-Rosso still thought it wasn’t enough and wanted to build on its perfection with their N-Largo kit, which is a tuning package that enhances the F12’s exterior styling and performance under the hood. Although the kit has been around for awhile, #Jhulio-Tadeo of MC Customs has built the first #Novitec-Rosso #Ferrari-F12berlinetta in the States fora private client in Miami. FL. The customizer is known for elaborate and extraordinary builds done to some of the world's most beautiful (and expensive) cars and this one is no different.
The #N-Largo kit widens the vehicle to 80.7” (stock is only 76.5”) and raises output of the Ferrari’s V12 to 781 ponies, up from 729 hp thanks to new mapping for the ECU and a high-flow exhaust system. Exterior modifications consist of carbon fiber components, including new fender and bumpers, custom side sills, five-piece diffuser and rear wing. Also included with the conversion kit are bespoke 21” forged three-piece front wheels and 22” rear wheels. And to complement the widened dimensions, the suspension has been tweaked, lowering the ride by 1.6”.
There's also a front lift function that will make it easier to navigate challenging roads at the push of a button. To complete the transformation, #MC-Customs laid down an eye-catching matte red paint job that further adds to the Ferrari's unique styling.
“It’s extremely aggressive, yet clean," Tadeo mentions. “It enhances the aerodynamics of the vehicle, both in performance and looks.” And because the shop is familiar with such intricate builds, there were no challenges for this project since the kit was “extremely well built and designed,” Tadeo adds. Although this might be his first Novitec Rosso #Ferrari F12 tuning upgrade, it certainly won't be his last!
The N-Largo kit was tested in a wind tunnel to make sure that the new additions reduce negative lift and improve handling stability.
A rear spoiler sits atop of a five-piece diffuser and provides a fierce look.
Novitec Rosso offers customers a wide range of bespoke interior options and the cockpit can be designed in leather and Alcantara in any desired colour.
Tailor-made three-piece #Novitec-Rosso-NF5-NL forged wheels set off its exterior good looks, with 21 inches wheels up front and 22 inched at the rear.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
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Historical reinterpretation Ferrari Berlinetta Lusso
In the finest tradition of Italian coachbuilding, Touring Superleggera has unveiled a stunning rebodied version of Ferrari’s mighty F12 supercar. Dale Drinnon drives it. Photography Martyn Goddard.
Funny thing about secrets: after you know them, they seem obvious, and it's hard to understand why the people so mesmerised as we motor sublimely past can't identify what it is they're coveting. Surely the classic eggcrate grille, the signature character lines highlighting the graceful flanks, and that feral V12 yowl could mean only one thing: Italy's most illustrious manufacturer and the design house that shaped its first real series-made automobile are back together. Unofficially, at least, and in limited numbers for the lucky few.
The manufacturer, of course, is Ferrari, the design house is #Carrozzeria-Touring , coachbuilder for the seminal #Tipo-166MM of #1948 , and the car we're driving is called the #Berlinetta-Lusso , produced by Touring on the awe-inspiring #Ferrari-F12 platform. And the reason for the hush-hush is that we're hustling this as-of-yet one-of-a-kind objet d'art round the public roads of Northern Italy, bold as thunder and twice as loud, more than a week before its world debut at the Geneva international motor show. Life just doesn't get no more Old School Italian than this.
Then again, the whole project is pretty Old School Italian. Carrozzeria Touring, now formally called #Carrozzeria #Touring #Superleggera , was among the pioneers of what we now consider quintessential Italian automotive style. Founded in 1926, it set trends throughout the era when owners of taste and distinction had their machinery custom-tailored as readily as their clothing. Touring had the inside line on competition bodywork, thanks to its trademark Superleggera, or 'super-light' construction, which is why #Enzo-Ferrari , familiar with its work from his #Alfa-Romeo experience, turned that way for the heavily race-oriented #166MM .
Touring had some spectacularly hard times in the post-1950s, going inactive for decades (though not quite bankrupt, thanks to the heroic efforts of long-time CEO and co-founder's son, Carlo Anderloni), but since its acquisition in 2006 by Dutch concern Zeta Europe BV, also owners of Borrani, it has successfully reapplied the early company principles. They concentrate on one-off and short production runs of singular designs for a discerning clientele, manufacturer's concept studies, niche production of contract specialist jobs: the full repertoire of the typical small- manufacturer business model. Dedicated Italian car enthusiasts will doubtless be familiar with its critically acclaimed #Alfa-8C -based Disco Volante.
'From any angle the final shape is cleaner than the original car’s, and extremely well balanced’
It was indeed such handiwork that enticed an anonymous but prominent Ferrari collector to approach Touring Superleggera for a private commission: translating the intensely high-performance and aggressively styled F12 supercar into a more elegant, more Lusso idiom. In addition, he wanted it configured in the three-box architecture now rare among performance coupes, with visually separate volumes for motor, interior and boot. It would be, in essence, an updated version of the great front-engined Ferrari uber-GTs of old, such as the exclusive and potent 500 Superfast.
That collector must have been slightly puzzled, however, when Louis de Fabribeckers, Touring's head of design, seemed already way ahead of him. 'I was dreaming about this car for years and years and years,' he says, 'since I first started designing cars, certainly; a three- volume car, simple, very classic, with the long bonnet and small greenhouse. It's one of my favourite themes of all time, so it was very natural, very satisfying, to finally build it.'
Louis also says the F12 was eminently adaptable to this composition although, as per his usual practice, extensive time and effort went into reaching optimum proportions before any other elements were even seriously considered ('If you start with the wrong proportions, nothing else you do can ever make up for them'). The roofline curvature in particular required significant attention, and from every direction, to reach exactly the effect he wanted, due to the conversion from two- box to three-box profile. Integrating the rear overhang was, not surprisingly, another delicate issue when adding a boot volume, while also critically 'finishing' the car's lines, instead of merely ending them.
Viewed from any angle, the final shape is noticeably cleaner than the original car's, and extremely well balanced. The surface treatments and detailing (what Louis calls the styling, as opposed to the design) are simpler, too. There is little in the way of added excitement or extraneous flourishes, and both the nose and tail are underplayed compared with the fashion of racer-rep grittiness.
The grille, narrower and taller than the F12's squat, wall-to-wall rendition, also gently evokes that feature of the 166MM, as does the creased swage line sweeping back along the waist. It's a Carlo Anderloni touch that has recurred on several Touring designs, from the 166 through the #Lamborghini-350GT to the #BMW Mini Vision concept car produced last year. Overall, de Fabribeckers displays a lightness of hand suited to the objective of creating a latter-day Italian luxury express.
Primary body panels are executed in aluminium formed manually over styling bucks in the traditional manner, which is really the only way to achieve that lovely, long body crease and still have doors that open without shut lines bigger than a politician's expense account. Such non-structural panels as bonnet, skirts and splitters are carbonfibre, and the alloy door handles, exhaust tips and forged wheels are bespoke. Touring poetically refers to this blue metallic paint as Azzurro Nioulargue, alluding to the shifting shades of the Mediterranean, and it genuinely does amazing things in changing light.
Interior mods seem minor beside the body revamp; the dash is basically the F12's but look closer and you spot instances where carbonfibre has been replaced with brushed aluminium or leather, and discreet niceties such as the colour-coded air con vents, and the Berlinetta Lusso badge below the main triplevent grouping that turns them into a cockpit focal point. Seat facings in cream leather and a matching slash across the door panels and parcel shelf lighten and enrich the atmosphere.
With multi-way power adjustment for driver's seat and steering column, it's almost impossible not to find a driving position that fits, and the interior is comfortable and surprisingly roomy, reportedly a Ferrari priority with the F12. The new roofline still leaves adequate headroom, assuming you replicate the passably average dimensions of this correspondent. Personal opinions on paddle shifting, automatic parking brakes and similar modernisms put aside, they're exactly the same here as in the F12, and admittedly just as flawless in operation.
Road performance is also exactly the same, as the mechanical package remains just as #Ferrari made it. Which is to say the whopping normally aspirated V12 will leave you breathless, and that's no half-arsed figure of speech: after the first couple of solid blasts through the gears you'll realise you've actually forgotten to suck any air, and your face has gone all tingly. Although that last symptom might be strictly down to g-forces. Touring also says it tests religiously to ensure the chassis dynamics don't suffer from possible weight re-distribution, and real world driving substantiates that.
When it comes to pure, raw speed numbers, however, it's hardly worth speculating beyond official factory specs; each #Berlinetta-Lusso could differ in weight, since each will be built to the customer's wishes - and Touring will accommodate a wide variety of those. Flexibility being a company credo, some detailing changes are even in discussion before our subject car goes to Geneva. Consequently, Touring won't quote prices, but it's safe to assume the 5000 hours of various labours required for every unit won't be cheap, and that's on top of the roughly quarter-million pounds' worth of Ferrari stripped down to begin the process.
Touring Superleggera's agreement with the commissioning client for series production extends at this point to a mere five examples, and completion time is projected as six months from delivery of the donor Ferrari to its workshops in Milan. The car is EU type-approved, and Touring won't rule out having a go at different regs in other parts of the world, such as North America. Small companies can often be extremely flexible.
From a solely rationalist, functionalist perspective, there will be many who don't understand the Berlinetta Lusso, granted, and anyone who judges a car by its merits as a mechanical device alone must find this a bewildering exercise. But if you appreciate some extra style, grace and sophistication, and oceans of artistry with your high velocity, you'll twig its special place in the automotive cosmos straight away. After all, there were those who preferred the 500 Superfast, and those who preferred the #Ferrari-250GTO . There are also those who think the perfect compromise would be one of each. Individuals of taste and distinction should have more than one suit in their wardrobe, shouldn't they?
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION on the Berlinetta Lusso visit www. touringsuperleggera. eu
Car #2015 #Carrozzeria-Touring-Superleggera-Berlinetta-Lusso
ENGINE 6262CC V12, DOHC, 48-valve, direct fuel injection
POWER 730bhp @ 8250rpm
TRANSMISSION Seven-speed dual-clutch sequential transaxle, rear-wheel drive, limited-slip differential
STEERING Power-assisted rack-and-pinion
Front: double wishbones, coilsprings, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar.
Rear: multi-link, coilsprings, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar.
BRAKES Carbon-ceramic discs, #ABS
PERFORMANCE Top speed 211mph. 0-62mph 3.1sec
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- Touring Superleggera Berlinetta Lusso This year’s Geneva Motorshow must have set a new record in terms of sports-, super-, and hyper-car unveilings oTouring Superleggera Berlinetta Lusso
This year’s Geneva Motorshow must have set a new record in terms of sports-, super-, and hyper-car unveilings of any motorshow to date, with nearly every brand wanting to take advantage of the surplus disposable cash, floating around globally and itching to be spent. #Carrozzeria-Touring – founded in #1926 in Milan and inventor of the ‘Superleggera’ coachbuilding technique was no exception, and the small Italian coachbuilder arguably presented the most beautiful highlight of the show.
To brand Carrozzeria Touring’s ‘Touring Superleggera Berlinetta Lusso’ a ‘Ferrari’ would arguably precede great legal implications – primarily for the manufacturing coachbuilder – yet the origins of the Ferrari F12 berlinetta as a basis of this transformation can neither be hidden nor denied, even if all prancing horses were removed prior to its official debut.
Let’s make this very clear: the Touring (Ferrari) Superleggera Berlinetta Lusso is one beautiful, if not divine, automobile. It is ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ of Louis de Fabribeckers’ design team following the successful Alfa Romeo Disco Volante. One can only but shake one’s head why Maranello has not granted this fiveoff hyper niche product its official seal of approval; certainly more ‘questionable’ beauties have rolled-out Ferrari’s own SP department in recent years.
The (Ferrari) Berlinetta Lusso is based on Ferrari’s class-slaughtering #F12 #berlinetta and despite 5000 man-hours of craftsmanship and six months of ageing, none of the donor’s benchmark performance figures are compromised in the process. The very subtle modifications include a bonnet, boot-lid and apron in hand-beaten aluminium using the same traditional coachbuilding techniques as once applied pre-1966 by the original Carrozzeria Touring founders Carlo Felice Bianchi Anderloni and Gaetano Ponzoni.
Design wise one cannot resist appreciating the old-school design approach, trading Italian Upper-Class feel for the ‘Playstation Design’ of its ‘mass –produced’ siblings leaving Maranello’s official factory gates. Could the (Ferrari) Berlinetta Lusso be criticised for being one panel-beat to stale and boring? Possibly, but then again, it only needs five conservative Ultra High Net Worth Individual (UHNWI) collectors, all dreaming of still living in 1950s Dolce Vita, to sellout production; and that must seem realistic, even for the most pessimistic of investors.
Carrozzeria Touring have done a fantastic job. Would I rather own a Touring ( #Ferrari ) Superleggera Berlinetta Lusso than a #Ferrari-F60 America? Possibly. One thing I am certain of is that every single one of the five very lucky owners will – even before removing the protection film or fuelling – add the badges that Carrozzeria Touring so cavalierly removed, back on where they truly belong. More ...
- Post is under moderationHard Charger #2015 . We get behind the wheel of Evolve’s modified #F13 M6. The M6 isn’t exactly slow but Evolve has managed to extract more power and torque to create a hugely fast and entertaining machine. Words & photography: Bob Harper.
While I wouldn’t say there are plenty of modern BMWs that you emerge from thinking ‘that could do with more power’ there are a few that don’t quite seem to have enough sparkle. Sure, they can keep up fine with other traffic but on the odd occasion when you’re looking for a little bit more pizzazz they don’t deliver and fall short of having the required mumbo to make their chassis come alive. It’s safe to say though that the current crop of M cars don’t fall into this category and I don’t think I’ve ever emerged from a stint behind the wheel of a current M5 or M6 thinking, ‘yeah, with more power that would be just about perfect’.
But let’s face it, I’m not BMW’s intended audience for the twin-turbo V8 monsters – mainly as I lack the required funds to enter the club – and stepping from a diesel 2.0-litre VW Group product into an M5 or M6 test car will inevitably make the BMWs feel even more like rocket ships. But if you were an owner of one of these fine beasts you could well become accustomed to the power the longer you own it, and you may inevitably come to the conclusion that perhaps it’s not quite quick enough. It’s also worth remembering that many owners of these cars might have something even more exotic in their garage and the M car might just be their daily driver with the exotic reserved for high days and holidays.
However, if you’re interested in extracting more power from the #S63 V8 you don’t have quite as many options as you do if you want to map your #E90 #320d . BMW is increasingly making it harder and harder for the tuning companies to crack its ECU codes and this is something that’s only going to get more complex in the future, and it’s for this reason that many companies have decided to move over to the use of tuning boxes or piggyback ECUs. We don’t want to go into the particular pros and cons of remapping versus tuning boxes but for now it will probably suffice to say that both have their plus and minus points but in the future you may find that if you want to electronically extract more power from your BMW you’ll need a piggyback system to do it. Luton-based Evolve Automotive has been at the #BMW tuning game for a long time now and has become a very well-respected name within the community and must have carried out more dyno runs and engine maps than it cares to remember.
While these were the bread and butter of its business, it’s currently branching out and now offers supercharger kits, air intakes and exhausts to name just a few. And these aren’t bought-in components from other companies as Evolve develops and tests all of its own components. Over the past few years it has seen the writing on the wall as far as remapping is concerned and while it’s not going to stop looking into how best to crack BMW’s latest encryption it has decided to look into piggyback ECUs and start offering them to its customers.
Which is why we’re currently getting behind the wheel of a menacing-looking black #F13 #M6 Coupé that’s been fitted with one of its new systems. We didn’t ask how much additional power Evolve is claiming for its piggyback ECU as sometimes knowing a car has x more horsepower tricks your mind into believing that it’s x mph faster. No, we wanted to sample this M6 and then discover whether our conclusions were correct or not. We’ve not picked the ideal day for our test, though, as it’s a trifle foggy – the road surfaces are still slick with early morning dew and trying to transmit what turns out to be a lot of power is proving tricky in the lower gears. We elect to take pictures first and see if things dry out somewhat and eventually we do find some roads that while not bone dry seem to offer decent grip levels.
And boy does this M6 take off like the proverbial scalded cat. It’s bonkers fast and seems to have an abundance of power and torque throughout the rev range. Throttle response is razor sharp and at no time does it ever really cross your mind that this unit is turbocharged – flex your right ankle and it lunges for the next county. There’s a section of lightly trafficked duel carriageway not a million miles from Evolve’s HQ and it has a stretch of around three miles between two roundabouts that enables you to drive it a few times to make sure that no boys in blue and waiting up ahead and also allows you to find a window when there’s no traffic about to really delve into its performance. We do so, and while we limit ourselves to just one high-speed run (and I’m not about to say how fast that was) we are simply blown away by the way it piles on pace and just keeps going. Even at much lower speeds it bounds forward seemingly no matter which gear it’s in or how many revs its running, and while it’s impossible to say how much quicker it is than a standard M6 there’s no doubt it feels a hell of a lot stronger.
When we return to Evolve we discover that its piggyback ECU offers up an additional 50hp and 77lb ft of torque – gains of just under 10 per cent from BMW’s quoted power figure and just over 15 per cent more torque. However, most M5s and M6s make far more than their factory quoted figures on the dyno and this car we’ve driven is no exception. On Evolve’s rolling road its headline figures are now 692hp and 642lb ft of torque – no wonder the car’s owner thinks it’s as fast as his #Ferrari-F12 !
Currently Evolve is buying in the hardware for its piggyback ECU conversion but writes its own software to go on it and this currently just tricks the BMW ECU into thinking that it needs to be supplying a little bit more boost. It might sound simple, but boy is it effective. Evolve is currently looking at developing its own system from scratch but for the time being there’s no getting away from the fact that this is a devastatingly effective upgrade. It costs £995 and can be easily removed from the car when it goes in for a dealer visit or when you sell the car – Evolve can even wipe the piggyback ECU and install a tune for another car.
What we’d really like to do is come back in the summer with a standard M6 so we can drive them back-to-back to discover quite how much faster the Evolve M6 is over a standard example or perhaps we should take a selection of modified machinery to the test track and get some figures on them… Hmm, I think that might be one of next summer’s cover features sorted!
Evolve tuning box is tucked away discreetly but delivers oodles of power and torque on the dyno.
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