Ferrari’s four-seat V12 models may not have the same cachet as its two-seaters, but these 2+2s are no less worthy of the famed Prancing Horse badge. They are fast, exotic, comfortable and, despite their larger size, very enjoyable to drive. And prior to the launch of the current FF, the 612 Scaglietti, which was introduced at the 2004 Detroit Auto Show, was the best of the bunch—by far.
The 612 debuted a number of firsts for Ferrari. For example, it was the first V12-powered model to utilize an aluminum chassis. The 612 was also the first Ferrari to place its engine fully behind the front axle; this front-mid-engine layout, combined with a rear-mounted transaxle, gave the car an impressive 54-percent rearward weight bias. The Scaglietti, named in honor of coachbuilder Sergio Scaglietti, also ushered in a new era of driver’s aids with the introduction of CST stability control (earlier Ferraris only had traction control) and driver interaction, with buttons controlling Sport mode and stability control set directly on the steering wheel.
All of this high technology was packed into a very understated, Pininfarina-penned body. Ferrari believed that its 2+2 buyers wanted a less dramatic-looking car than the contemporary 360 Modena, and the 612 was sometimes criticized for being too bland. But the car’s interior received no such complaints, nor did its performance.
Despite measuring 16 feet long and tipping the scales at two tons, the Scaglietti could rocket from rest to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds and reach 199 mph, courtesy of a 540-hp 5.7-liter V12 engine. More important, the 612’s rear weight bias and adaptive suspension allowed it to feel and handle like a much smaller, lighter machine. At the same time, the Scaglietti was a superlative cruiser—quiet, refined and comfortable—with room for four full-size adults. (For those owners willing to sacrifice some comfort for performance, Ferrari offered handling packages that bundled stiffer suspension, louder exhausts, quicker F1 gear changes and/or different wheels.)
Things only got better in March 2008, when an updated Scaglietti was introduced. While it looked virtually identical to the original, the second-generation 612 featured an electrochromic glass roof, standard carbon-ceramic brakes, a smoother, faster-shifting F1 gearbox, the steering wheel-mounted manettino first seen on the F430 and an improved infotainment system. The later Scaglietti is often referred to as a One-to-One, or OTO, a nod to Ferrari’s then recently introduced personalization program.
When new, a loaded 612 Scaglietti could easily top $300,000, with some later OTOs crossing the $400,000 mark . Today, early examples can be had for around $100,000. While that’s far from inexpensive, if you have the means we think it’s a price well worth paying, given the 612’s compelling blend of high performance, luxury and every-day usability.