Ferrari walks a very fine line with its grand touring models. On the one hand, should they become too soft, there will be talk of the brand being diluted, but make them too hard-edged and they cease to really be a grand tourer and become more of a sports car. During the ’70s and ’80s, Ferrari was sort of doing both of these at the same time. The 2+2 models like the 400 were very soft and more than a little plain to look at, while the two-seat GT cars became mid-engine and much more intimidating just to drive.

So when Ferrari switched back to using a front-engine GT as the flagship model, the 550 was built specifically to be both very fast and very easy to drive. Then in 2002, Ferrari brought out the 575M, an even easier to drive version of the car. But it was still very fast, and the 575M Superamerica was even the fastest convertible in the world at the time. And even if the purists would complain about the available paddle shifter, this is still a front-engine V-12 Ferrari grand tourer, the sort of thing that made the company great in the first place.

Continue reading to learn more about the Ferrari 575M Maranello.

  • 2002 - 2006 Ferrari 575M Maranello
  • Year:
    2002- 2006
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Transmission:
    6-Speed Manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    515@7250
  • Torque @ RPM:
    5250
  • Displacement:
    5748 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.2 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    202 mph
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2002 - 2006 Ferrari 575M Maranello High Resolution Exterior
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2002 - 2006 Ferrari 575M Maranello High Resolution Exterior
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2002 - 2006 Ferrari 575M Maranello High Resolution Exterior
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The look of the car is very reminiscent of the older front-engine GT cars, without actually being derivative

The 550 was launched in 1996 as the followup to the Testarossa. It shared a chassis with the 456 2+2, but this was shortened to make it a two-seater. The look of the car is very reminiscent of the older front-engine GT cars, without actually being derivative. Things like the vents in the front fenders were a styling staple of cars like nearly every road-going 250, and Pininfarina correctly judged that they would look good here as well. For the transition from 550 to 575M, not very much was changed. The design was only 6 years old, after all, and was an entirely new one for the 550 anyway. It’s a design that still holds up now too.

Newer models might have more aggressive bodywork, but the long nose, short deck and relatively tall greenhouse of the 575M are very classic proportions, and time can be expected to be kind to it. The downside to refresh is that it pushed the 575M past the 4,000 lb curb weight mark. You could feel this weight in the corners too, although it was very quite a fast car.

Exterior Dimensions

Length 4,550 MM (179.13 Inches)
Width 1,935 MM (76.18 Inches)
Height 1,277 MM (50.27 Inches)
Wheelbase 2,500 MM (98.42 Inches)
Front track 1,632 MM (64.25 Inches)
Rear track 1,586 MM (62.44 Inches)

Interior

2002 - 2006 Ferrari 575M Maranello High Resolution Interior
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2002 - 2006 Ferrari 575M Maranello High Resolution Interior
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2002 - 2006 Ferrari 575M Maranello High Resolution Interior
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The interior of the 575M was also styled by Pininfarina, and just like the exterior, received only a minor updates from the 550. But the 550 was a big change from the Testarossa, which had the sort of cramped interior that isn’t uncommon with mid-engine cars. The 575M did only have two seat, but there was a lot more room, and significantly more headroom than the was found in the Testarossa.

I can tell you that I’m 5’9” and I only just barely fit in a Testarossa, whereas the 575M is not only much better suited to anyone taller than me, it is also much easier to get in and out of. Nothing worse than impressing everyone as you pull up, only to make a fool of yourself with an undignified exit from your car. The seats are comfortable, every surface is covered in fine leather, and the whole thing is a mess of buttons unnecessary readouts. It’s the last of the great analog interiors.

Drivetrain

2002 - 2006 Ferrari 575M Maranello High Resolution Exterior
- image 664453
For the 575M, the displacement went up to 5.75 liters. Power also went up to 508 horsepower.

The 550 gets its engine from the 456, and even though the names of the cars are different, and both denote the engine displacement, the engine remained the same size. For the 456, the name tells the displacement per cylinder, as in 456cc each, whereas the 550’s name comes from the 5.5-liters of total displacement. But more important than this, the 550 got more power, going from 436 horsepower to 478. For the 575M, the displacement went up to (you guessed it) 5.75 liters. Power also went up to 508 horsepower.

But the big news with the 575M was that Ferrari was offering an electrohydraulic manual “F1-style” transmission. Paddle shifters were still pretty new in those days, and the collective opinion of them hadn’t yet been sullied by sluggish automatics getting paddles and masquerading as something much more advanced and exciting than they really were. But the 575M still caught some flack for it. The transmission certainly did make the car a lot easier to drive, and even came with a full auto mode, and to a lot of people, this was very un-Ferrari. Still it was an undeniably good business move for Ferrari, and the resulting bump in sales seems to have forever settled the issue in Maranello.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type front, longitudinal 65° V12
Bore/stroke 89 x 77 mm
Unitary displacement 479.03 cc
Total displacement 5748.36 cc
Compression ratio 11 : 1
Maximum power 515 HP @ 7,250 RPM
Power per liter 90 hp/l
Maximum torque 433 LB-FT @ 5,250 RPM
Top speed 325 KM/H (201 MPH)
Acceleration 0-100 km/h 4.25 seconds

Prices

2002 - 2006 Ferrari 575M Maranello High Resolution Exterior
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When new, the 575M cost what you’d probably expect a Ferrari flagship to cost in 2002, about $250,000. Ferrari sold about 2,000 units, to go with the more than 3,000 units of the 550. So the car isn’t exceptionally rare, and it isn’t old enough to be a real classic either. The result is that, even with the recent surge in Ferrari pricing, the 575M still isn’t quite up to where it was when it was new. There are a few examples with only a couple of hundred miles on them that are listed for sale for nearly their original price, but most sit around the $150,000. Obviously slightly more or slightly less depending on mileage or condition. The 575M is basically a regular used car at this point, just a very expensive one.

Competitition

Maserati 4200 GT

2005 Maserati Coupe Exterior
- image 9306

Ferrari stopped offering a V-8 2+2 model when the disastrous Mondial t was finally retired in 1993. But by 2001, fans of the Italian 2+2 GT car who were either unable or unwilling to spend the money on one of Ferrari’s big V-12 models finally again had an alternative in the form of the Maserati 4200 GT. The engine was a new one, but it is the same one that would later be found in the Ferrari F430, and that says a lot of good things about it.

Read our full review on the Maserati 4200 GT here.

Aston Martin DB9

2006 Aston-Martin DB9
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Unveiled in 2003 as a 2004 model, the DB9 immediately shot straight to the top of everybody’s list of favorite GT cars. It had a bigger interior than the 575M, was very slightly quicker, and even though looks are subjective, it can be fairly definitively said that it is prettier than the Ferrari as well. The design has held up so well that two generations of Ferraris have now come along to follow up the 575M, but the DB9 still looks just as good as it did 13 years ago.

Read our full review on the Aston martin DB9 here.

Conclusion

2002 - 2006 Ferrari 575M Maranello High Resolution Exterior
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Yes, the introduction of paddle shifters to the Ferrari lineup has been much lamented by Ferrari purists over the years, and yes, the 575M was the starting point for that. But even for hardline dissenters, you should not hold this fact against the 575M (some of that anger is misplaced anyway), as it is a superb car, and exactly what it is supposed to be. Ferrari has done far worse anyway, with the 400a and its three-speed sludgebox being a prime example of that. And at the end of the day, a GT car is supposed to be comfortable, it’s for long road trips, not the racetrack.

  • Leave it
    • Looks aren’t nearly as exciting as the cars to come after it
    • Very heavy and it shows
    • Not especially rare for a V-12 Ferrari
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