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 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 and 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 the 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.
For the Ferrari buyer with the need for both speed and space, the 612 Scaglietti was a hit. But, as is always the case with 2+2s, the market for such cars was relatively small, and the initial high demand (and premiums paid over list price) quickly faded away. Nonetheless, Ferrari built roughly 3,000 Scagliettis between 2004 and 2010—and today, the model is practically a bargain.
Compared to their original $300,000-plus selling price, early 612s can be found for less than $100,000, a two-thirds discount from new. There’s no cheaper way for buyers to get into a modern, aluminum-chassis, V12-powered Ferrari, and the Scaglietti may well have reached the bottom of its depreciation curve, with prices becoming very mileage- and condition-sensitive but otherwise staying fairly steady. The later, OTO cars cost significantly more and have further to fall before they are fully depreciated.
Will the 612 ever appreciate? It’s possible that some day, in the far, far future, given the model’s relative rarity and currently diminishing values, that prices will climb slightly—but I can’t see how they would ever become “collectible.” The Scaglietti is a wonderful car, but, like all other Montezemolo-era Ferraris, it’s a mass-produced one. Even the special-edition 612 Sessanta, of which just 60 examples were built in 2007, isn’t likely to appreciate significantly.
Of course, that’s no reason not to buy one to drive it. The 612 is fast, comfortable, reliable, and versatile. Owners in search of a more sporting experience should be on the lookout for examples with a traditional stick-shift and one of the various Handling GT packages. The former is very rare and can command up to a $50,000 premium on top of the prices listed below; the latter are fairly common and don’t add to a car’s value.
As with any Ferrari purchase, do your research, buy the best car you can afford, and have it inspected by a shop that knows the model inside and out. Given the cost of repairs, it doesn’t take much to turn a bargain into a money pit, so look for a car with a full, documented service history, even if it costs a little more up front. —Michael Sheehan
|612 Scaglietti OTO||$100,000||$130,000|
These prices are for fully serviced cars in good-to-great condition as of November 2020.
After speaking with service managers at several authorized Ferrari dealers, as well as a few mechanics at independent shops, I found a clear consensus on the 612 Scaglietti: It, like all modern Ferraris, is pretty damn bulletproof. In fact, aside from the few things listed below, it was difficult to find any consistent problems with the model.
The biggest complaint from owners seems to revolve around the dreaded cam-belt replacement. The 612 is the last V12 Ferrari to feature a rubber timing belt (the newer engine introduced in the 599 utilizes a timing chain), which needs to be replaced every five years—although many dealers recommend a four-year interval. Expect to pay roughly $5,000 for a major service and belt change. On the other hand, an annual fluids and inspection service will only cost around $1,000, a bargain in the world of exotic cars.
Even the usual wear-and-tear items have proven pretty robust. For example, early reports on the model suggested short clutch life if the car was used regularly around town—extensive stop-and-go driving is tricky for the F1 system’s automated clutch—but my survey revealed only two clutch replacements from a field of roughly 100 cars, more than a few of which were 50,000-mile machines. (If it becomes necessary, clutch replacement costs around $8,000.)
This isn’t to say the 612 is perfect. No car, particularly a small-production exotic, is, and isolated problems do arise. The most common issue is a failing instrument panel. The Scaglietti introduced what quickly became a ubiquitous electronic screen next to the analog tachometer. While the setup is generally reliable, the instrument-panel power supply, backlighting power supply, and/or the dash’s motherboard can malfunction. Ferrari’s fix is to install a brand-new instrument panel, which costs $7,000-8,000. I did find one shop, F.A.I. in Costa Mesa, California, that will rebuild the original panel or supply a re-made board for $1,000-1,500.
The second common issue is a glitchy F1 transmission. Sometimes the problem is mechanical, requiring a reset of the clutch-positioning sensors, other times it’s electronic, requiring a software update. Happily, these repairs have proven pretty inexpensive, generally falling in the $1,000 range.
Beyond those two items, there are only a few wear and cosmetic shortcomings to consider. Ferrari has yet to resolve the dreaded, long-running sticky switches problem (where the coating on some interior plastic pieces becomes gooey and starts to rub off on hands, clothing, etc.), especially on cars that are stored without being used for long periods. If this problem strikes, the plastic bits will need to be refurbished or replaced.
Scaglietti brakes have proven to be nearly indestructible, but it’s not cheap if the carbon-ceramic brakes need to be replaced. A full set of CCM pads and rotors runs roughly $25,000.
As a big, heavy car with a powerful engine, the 612 has a healthy appetite for tires. Expect to replace the rubber every 10,000 miles or so. Also, these cars’ aluminum front wheels are only modestly protected from impacts by their low-profile tires, and thus can be dented or bent by pot holes.
Finally, the dashboard leather can shrink if the car is regularly left in the sun, exposing the underlying foam and metal. It costs $4,000-5,000 to remove the dash, recover it with new leather and reinstall it. —Michael Sheehan
On the Road
The 612 Scaglietti has long been a FORZA favorite. Here’s what we said about the model when it was still in production.
This V12 is the first Ferrari engine in ages where you can hear the mechanical components working. In the 550/575M, 456, and 360, you hear one sinuous sound, a beautiful note that gets louder or softer as revs rise and fall. In the 612, distinct mechanical sounds from various internal parts tickle your ears; the result is a symphonic melange that is nothing short of sensational. The noise is hypnotic, getting louder and more cantankerous as the tach sweeps towards the 7,400-rpm redline, or simply soothing as it potters along below 3,000 rpm.
Also intoxicating is the feeling of precision and nimbleness as we dart out and around slower vehicles in what seems to be the bat of an eye. The 612 feels as delicate and poised as a ballerina dancing across the floor, a surprising sensation in such a large car.
The steering is delightful under all circumstances. The steering wheel itself feels delicious in your hands, the rim meaty and solid, the thumb cutouts superb. The wheel delivers all the information you need about the road surface without overwhelming you or kicking back on rough surfaces. Steering effort is light but not in an American-car, desensitized way. —“Everyday Exotic,” FORZA #55
Outward visibility is good, the seats are comfortable, there’s plenty of head and legroom (and even a small leather-covered pad where your right knee rests against the center console), and the radio sounds good. If we didn’t know better, we’d think the 612 was just a luxury car—and that’s not faint praise for something with this kind of performance.
After a couple more days of driving, it’s clear the 612 is a natural for everyday use. For example, driveways and speed bumps, the bane of many sports cars, don’t faze the Ferrari; its ride height is real-world usable. We never hear a squeak or rattle, likely thanks in part to the car’s stiff aluminum space frame. And while the trunk is small for a 16-foot-long car, the back seats can carry plenty of cargo. —“Fantasy Junction,” FORZA #77
The V12 engine excels at revving, yet its astonishingly wide power curve dispenses plenty of horses virtually everywhere in the rev range, in any gear. Trying to find a soft spot in the power band is like looking for a quiet scene in a John Woo movie. In the hills south of Maranello, I discover that the acceleration is massive, but agreeably short
Despite its generous dimensions, the 612 can be placed with ease; I can clip apexes without the fear of understeer sweeping me wide, even if I apply the power a tad too early. This Ferrari is perfectly balanced under braking, and even correcting my line mid-corner fails to unsettle the rear. It is a true driver’s car. —“A League of its Own,” FORZA #87