The classic grand tourer formula, amplified for the 21st century

Ferrari is known for many things, but its line of V-12-powered front-engine GT cars is arguably one the Prancing Horse’s most important contributions to the world of sports cars. With models like the 250 TR Testarossa, 365 GTB/4 “Daytona,” and 250 GT California Spider, the formula has worked wonders for the brand, evoking a feeling of lust among collectors and enthusiasts alike thanks to a combination of gorgeous styling, easy drivability, and incredible 12-cylinder-flavored performance. Such is the case for the more contemporary Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, which stood as Ferrari’s grand tourer flagship model between 2006 and 2012.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2007 - 2012 Ferrari 599 GTB.

Ferrari 599 GTB Exterior Styling

  • Gran Turismo Berlinetta style
  • Aggressive, yet refined
  • Long hood line, short overhangs
  • Effective, yet subtle aerodynamics
  • 353 pounds of downforce created at 186 mph
2006 Ferrari 599 GTB
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The “GTB” in the 599’s nameplate stands for Gran Turismo Berlinetta, a configuration designed specifically for high speeds and long-distance driving. In that respect, the 599 GTB excels.

For those of you who may be unaware, the “GTB” in the 599’s nameplate stands for Gran Turismo Berlinetta, a body style characterized by two doors, two seats, and a coupe-like roofline. It’s a configuration designed specifically for high speeds and long-distance driving, and in that respect, the 599 GTB excels.

Also offered in a two-door roadster configuration, the 599 GTB is a striking thing to look at, mixing aggression and athleticism with a veneer of restraint and elegance. The front end is wide and low, with the central intake mounted just above the pavement and flanked by a pair of smaller intakes. The headlight housings stretch up into large, flared-out fenders, while a V-shaped muscle line draws the eye rearwards along the hood.

Viewed in profile, the 599’s extended cab-back proportions can be viewed in their full glory. The roofline falls gracefully into the trim rear end, while the sideskirts and fender vents are set at a rising angle, giving the car a pronounced forward rake.

In back, the 599 gets a rectangular tail section and trunk, with rounded rear hips that enhance the car’s width substantially. The taillights consist of two simple rounded lamps, while a pronounced diffuser element is finished in flat black. A quad set of exhaust tips make the fun noises.

2006 Ferrari 599 GTB
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The 599’s designer, Pininfarina’s Frank Stephenson, also had a hand in creating the BMW X5, the Maserati MC12, and the Ferrari F430.

The 599 is a head-turner, that much is for sure, and a lot of its aesthetic appeal is attributed to the talent of the designers behind the pens. Chief among them is Pininfarina’s Frank Stephenson, who also had a hand in creating the BMW X5, the Maserati MC12, and the Ferrari F430. It’s also worth mentioning that Stephenson worked under direction from Ferrari’s Ken Okuyama, the same man who designed the first-generation Honda NSX, the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, and the Ferrari California, not to mention concepts like the Kode57 Enji and Kode0.

While it’s definitely a slick-looking machine, the 599’s exterior appearance is also laden will all kinds of race car-style aerodynamic tricks, which work to complement its raw power and sophisticated suspension setup.

2006 Ferrari 599 GTB
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The 599 doesn’t need some large, garish wing to help it stick at speed, and as a result, the car’s rear end is far cleaner in its appearance.

Up front, for example, those side intakes are actually functional brake ducts that help direct cool air directly to the mammoth front brake discs. The profile also gets a feature called “sail panels,” which are mounted next to the rear windows and look like small arches that extend off the C-pillar. Essentially, these arches funnel air towards a linear rear trunk lid spoiler, adding more stability in the process. Meanwhile, the back gets a functional underbody spoiler and venturi tunnels that literally suck the car into the pavement.

With all these pieces in place, the 599 doesn’t need some large, garish wing to help it stick at speed, and as a result, the car’s rear end is far cleaner in its appearance. At the same time, the downforce is definitely in full effect, with Ferrari claiming as much as 353 pounds created at 186 mph.

Ferrari 599 GTB Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase 2,750 mm (108.3 inches)
Overall Length 4,665 mm (183.7 inches)
Overall Width 1,962 mm (77.2 inches)
Overall Height 1,336 mm (52.6 inches)

Ferrari 599 GTB Interior Design

  • Luxurious two-seat interior
  • Race-inspired control layout
  • Some storage here and there
2006 Ferrari 599 GTB
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As a high-end grand tourer, the 599 comes decked out in all manner of luxury befitting the segment.

As a high-end grand tourer, the 599 comes decked out in all manner of luxury befitting the segment. That includes sumptuous leather trim and upholstery, with a maximum of two passengers accommodated in well-bolstered sports seats. The 599 also comes with the usual lineup of creature comforts, such as a full infotainment system, climate control, and more.

However, tear away the backside-coddling luxury, and you’ll find a true performance-oriented platform underneath. For example, the driver’s seat is actually mounted a bit towards the middle of the car in order to give the pilot a slightly better vantage point.

The steering wheel is a three-spoke affair with large hand bolsters, a twisting selector knob for the various drive modes on the right, and a red engine starter button on the left. The top rim of the wheel gets a set of red shifter lights for all those perfectly executed cog swaps.

Models equipped with an automatic gearbox get a set of flappy paddle gear shifters just behind the wheel, which were offered in either aluminum or carbon fiber. Behind these is the instrument cluster, which includes both traditional analogue gauges and a digital screen as well. The 10,000-rpm tach is front and center, while the speedometer is on the right.

The control scheme gets the characteristic Ferrari layout, with buttons and knobs spread across the dash and center console, recalling something you might find in one of Ferrari’s many racing cars. The air vents are rounded, and use bisecting inserts to help direct the airflow where needed.

Finally, the 599 offers a bit of storage space - after all, this is a grand tourer, not a stripped-down track car, so spots for luggage on a weekend getaway are expected. To that end, there’s storage in the glove box, small compartments in the doors, and a small rear trunk as well.

Ferrari 599 GTB Drivetrain And Performance

  • 5,999 cc Tipo 140 C V-12 engine
  • 612 horsepower and 448 pound-feet of torque
  • 3.2 seconds to 60 mph, top speed over 205 mph
  • All-aluminum engine construction
  • Six-speed manual or six-speed F1-style automatic
  • Magnetorheological semi-active dampers
  • Carbon ceramic brakes
  • Between 3,950 and 3,850 pounds
2006 Ferrari 599 GTB
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In its day, the 612-horsepower 599 held the title of most powerful series production road car Ferrari had ever produced.

In typical Ferrari fashion, the 599 takes its name from its engine displacement, with the front mid-mounted Tipo 140 C V-12 displaying 5,999 cc’s. For the sake of simplicity, we can just round it up to 6.0 liters.

Peak output comes to a maximum of 612 horsepower, which arrives between 7,600 rpm and 8,400 rpm in the rev range. In its day, the 612-horsepower 599 held the title of most powerful series production road car Ferrari had ever produced.

Those figures also compute to more than 100 horsepower per liter, all without the added benefit of boost. Rocking nothing but atmosphere for the breathing, the Tipo 140 C V-12 represents a feat in and of itself, and is testament to Ferrari’s insane high-powered engine tech.

The Tipo 140 C V-12 also makes as much as 448 pound-feet of twist at 5,600, which is another achievement for the company in terms of peak torque figures with regards to its GT car lineup.

Redline is set at 8,400 rpm.

All told, the run to 100 km/h (62 mph) takes just 3.2 seconds. Keep your foot in it, and 200 km/h (124 mph) will arrive in 11 seconds flat from the drop, while top speed is rated at more than 205 mph.

Plucked directly from the Enzo, the 599’s V-12 was originally too big, so the boffins from Maranello had to shorten it in the name of forward visibility.

The engine is actually a modified iteration of the V-12 Ferrari used with its Enzo halo car. However, plucked directly from the Enzo, the V-12 was too big to fit under the hood of the 599, which meant the boffins from Maranello had to shorten it compared to its original configuration, otherwise forward visibility would have suffered quite a bit.

Standout features include a front-/mid-mounted positioning in the chassis, with a longitudinal orientation. Both the head and block are made from aluminum, while the bore and stroke come to 92 mm by 75.2 mm. The compression ratio is set at 11.2:1, and there are four valves per cylinder.

While we’ve already covered the “599” and “GTB” bits in the car’s nameplate, it’s also worth mentioning that the “Fiorana” is a nod to the Fiorano test circuit where Ferrari puts its various street cars and racing cars to the clock. As such, the 599 is much more than a straight-line pony - this thing loves to turn, too.

2006 Ferrari 599 GTB
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The 599 is much more than a straight-line pony - this thing loves to turn, too.

Offered exclusively in a RWD configuration, the 599 came equipped with either a six-speed manual gearbox, or a six-speed Formula 1-style “SuperFast” electrohydraulic “manual,” the latter of which is basically a very fast paddle shifter semi-automatic with automated clutch operation.
How fast is it, you ask? Well, Ferrari says it’ll swap cogs in a mere 100 milliseconds.

Interestingly, just 30 buyers got the 599 with the manual six-speed transmission, 20 of which went to the U.S., and 10 of which went to the European market. As a result, Ferrari ditched the manual transmission option in all of its grand tourer models going forward.

2006 Ferrari 599 GTB
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Just 30 buyers got the 599 with a manual gearbox, so Ferrari ditched the stick-shift option in all of its grand tourer models going forward.

Indeed, high-performance automatics are the way of the future for the supercar segment, especially when taking tech cues from the bleeding edge of motorsport. The same can be said when it comes to the handling setup, as the 599 also debuted Ferrari’s Formula 1-inspired F1-Trac traction control system.

In the corners, the 599 stays shiny side up thanks to a set of magnetorheological semi-active dampers and coil springs. Essentially, these units use electronically activated magnetic fields to either firm up or soften the damper settings, which makes for a good deal of adjustability and gives the person in the hot seat a number of drive modes to play with.

The drive modes also affect the traction control and stability control. Drivers select their preferences via a turnable knob located on the steering wheel.

2006 Ferrari 599 GTB
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The 599 was one of the first street-legal super sports cars to get carbon ceramic braking technology.

As for the brakes, the 599 came equipped with cast iron discs as standard, but was offered with carbon ceramic brakes as an available option. In fact, the 599 was one of the first street-legal super sports cars to get carbon ceramic braking technology, which not only makes for superior braking performance, but also substantially reduces the unsprung weight. The brake rotors measure in at 398 mm (15.7 inches) in front and 360 mm (14.2 inches) in the rear.

Ferrari also used loads of aluminum for the 599’s chassis, another first with regards to the brand’s GT lineup. All previous Ferrari GT models used a tubular steel chassis instead.

Despite its longer wheelbase, size, and luxury-infused cabin, the 599 is surprisingly low weight and highly rigid as well. In fact, it offers a higher level of rigidity compared to the preceding Ferrari 575M. What’s more the 599’s fuel tank was moved to a mid/rear position in the chassis to help the car achieve a more balanced front-to-rear weight distribution.

Curb weight varies depending on the model, with the more performance-oriented iterations obviously shedding additional pounds. The standard GTB weighs in at 1,793 kg (3,953 pounds), and the HGTE weighs 1,779 kg (3,922 pounds). Meanwhile, the lightest of the bunch is the GTO, which weighs 1,746 kg (3,850 pounds). The power-to-weight ratio is rated at 362 horsepower per metric ton.

Ferrari 599 GTB Pricing

2006 Ferrari 599 GTB
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Originally constructed at Ferrari’s plant in Maranello, Italy, and tagged with an MSRP over $300,000, the Ferrari 599 is now only available on the used market or at auction. Pricing varies quite a bit depending on the model variant, condition, and ownership history, but expect to pay at least $200,000 for a decent example. Find a nice one, and it could run you as much as $500,000.

Ferrari 599 GTB Competition

Lexus LFA

2011 Lexus LF-A
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Although at first glance $350,000 might seem a bit pricey for a Lexus, the LFA is more than worth the money. Produced in limited quantities between 2010 and 2012, the LFA comes equipped with the very latest in high-spec performance gear. It’s got the goods you’d expect with the price tag, like a carbon fiber-reinforced polymer monocoque chassis plus aluminum subframes, advanced, active aerodynamics, and a performance-spec sequential gearbox. Most impressive, though, is the engine. Mounted under that sharp nose is a 4.8-liter V-10 making as much as 553 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque, all while spinning to a maximum of 9,000 rpm and uttering a fantastic howl along the way.

Read our full review of the 2011 Lexus LFA.

Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren

2005 Mercedes SLR McLaren
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Created as a joint effort between McLaren Automotive and Mercedes-Benz, the SLR is a truly head-turning machine. The style this thing offers is utterly unique, with a long, low, sharp front end beset by a number of vents and ducts. Behind the front wheels, additional ducting adds even more aggression, while exhaust gasses and fun noises shoot out from the side-mounted exhaust pipes. The brakes are carbon ceramic from the factory. Providing the motivation is a supercharged front-/mid-mounted 5.4-liter V-8, which is tuned to produce as much as 617 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque. Carbon fiber chassis components keep it all surprisingly lightweight.

Read our full review on the 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster.

Final Thoughts

2006 Ferrari 599 GTB
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The 599 epitomizes the GT formula in every way, sending V-12 power to the rear axle without disturbing the occupants in the leather-clad cabin.

There’s just something special about a front-engined Ferrari grand tourer. It’s the kind of thing that mixes race-bred performance with street-friendly luxury, a heady combo that’ll eat the miles at a very rapid pace.

The 599 epitomizes this formula in every way, sending V-12 power to the rear axle without disturbing the occupants in the leather-clad cabin.

It’s uncertain if the 599 will achieve the same legendary status as Ferrari’s older GT models, such as the 250 GT California Spider and Daytona, but either way, it’s an epic ride all the same.

  • Leave it
    • * Only 30 models equipped with a manual
    • * Can get very expensive
    • * Not as luxurious as some of its competitors

Further Reading

2011 Ferrari 599 GTO Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2011 Ferrari 599 GTO.

2009 Ferrari 599XX High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2009 Ferrari 599XX.

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Read more Ferrari news.

The Story Behind The Car

2006 Ferrari 599 GTB
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Tagged with the internal code name F141, the 599 GTB first debuted to the public at the Geneva Motor Show in early 2006.

The 599 GTB was Ferrari’s flagship grand tourer model, first introduced in 2006 for the 2007 model year as a replacement for the 575M Maranello. Tagged with the internal code name F141, the 599 GTB first debuted to the public at the Geneva Motor Show in early 2006.

After the 599’s initial debut, Ferrari followed it up with a number of special edition models. Chief among these was the 599 SA Aperta, which was introduced in 2010 at the Paris Motor Show as a tribute to Sergio Pininfarina and Andrea Pininfarina (hence the “SA” in the nameplate). The SA Aperta got the same engine and gearbox as the 599 GTO, plus a lower ride height, a more steeply raked windshield angle, new, larger intakes, a removable soft top, an aluminum trunk, and carbon fiber pillars. Outside, the SA Aperta came draped in a silver two-tone finish. An exhaust from the 599XX helps it stand out in terms of sound, while a unique wheel design and updated interior gives it extra style points.

2006 Ferrari 599 GTB
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Additional special edition models include the 599 GTB 60F1, which was created as a tribute to Ferrari’s Formula 1 career.

Additional special edition models include the 599 GTB 60F1, which was created as a nod to Ferrari’s 60 years of wins in the Formula 1 Championship. Updates include stiffer suspension, new 20-inch wheels, and a unique exterior treatment that takes inspiration from Ferrari’s racing team. There’s also race-inspired bucket seats inside the cabin.

Joining the list of special edition models is a variety of one-off versions as well, including the Superamerica 45, the SP30, and the P540 Superfast Aperta.

Towards the end of the 599’s production cycle, it was revealed that Ferrari was working on a new hybrid version of the car that incorporated bits of Ferrari’s KERS Kinetic Energy Recovery System, an advanced hybrid power-adder plucked from the company’s F1 racing cars. As it turns out, Ferrari was actually working on the LaFerrari hybrid hypercar.

In 2012, Ferrari introduced the F12berlinetta at the Geneva International Motor Show, which slotted in as a replacement for the 599 and took the top spot in the company’s GT lineup.

The Go-Faster Versions

2006 Ferrari 599 GTB
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Unsurprisingly, Ferrari offered numerous special editions and packages for the 599 GTB. These included the sharper HGTE Package (or Handling Gran Turismo Evoluzione), which made the 599 even more enjoyable in the bends. To achieve this, the package added in new springs and a new anti-roll bar, plus new settings for the Delphi MagneRide shock absorbers. The ride height was lowered, and new tires helped it stick. The various electronic bits were upgraded as well, offering up fresh go-faster settings for the automatic gearbox, and a sharper throttle response as well.

The exhaust tuning was revamped for extra aural excitement under power, but Ferrari made sure to keep it somewhat restrained to ensure there was no droning when the GT car took to cruising on the highway. Outside, the HGTE Package got the latest styling with new carbon fiber treatments and 20-inch wheels, while the interior was refreshed as well.

2009 Ferrari 599XX
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Ferrari 599XX
In 2009, Ferrari introduced the 599XX as the latest addition to its client-based XX racers program.

Later, in 2009, Ferrari introduced the 599XX as the latest addition to its client-based XX racers program. Like the other XX models, the 599XX was a pumped-up, no-nonsense iteration of the road car, with copious Formula 1 technology and lots of hardcore performance bits.

Outside, the 599XX got new aero, including updated C-pillar winglets. The hood vents and air ducts were made larger and more effective for improved cooling and better airflow, while Lexan plastic replaced glass for the taillights and came finished in black. The tail got a more pronounced rear spoiler constructed from carbon fiber, and was complemented by a larger rear diffuser. The 599XX also had fans in the trunk that worked to increase rear downforce at lower speeds, which would then deactivate at 155 mph when the car managed to produce sufficient rear-end downforce.

All told, the 599XX made as much as 617 pounds of downforce at 124 mph, and an astounding 1,389 pounds of downforce at 186 mph.

The race stuff continued with tow hooks front and back, plus a stripped out interior with a full roll cage and Lexan windows. Pilots strapped into a set of racing bucket seats, while an LCD race display provided all the vitals. Interestingly, the A/C system was retained to keep drivers cool out on the track.

2009 Ferrari 599XX
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The 599XX came with additional settings for the traction and stability control systems, while engine redline was increased to 9,000 rpm.

The 599XX also came with additional settings for the traction and stability control systems, while engine redline was increased to 9,000 rpm. Peak output came to a maximum of 720 horsepower at 9,000 rpm. The 599XX also pushes less weight thanks to the integration of a carbon fiber intake, graphite-coated pistons, a lightened crankshaft, and more carbon body components. The transmission takes a mere 60 milliseconds to change gears.

Rounding out the spec is a set of hugely grippy racing slicks, measuring in at 19 by 11 inches in front, and 19 inches by 12 inches in the rear. Properly motivated, the 599XX can rampage up to 62 mph in 2.9 seconds, topping out at a maximum of 196 mph. Despite the extra wing, the 599XX’s top speed isn’t limited by downforce, but rather engine redline and gearing.

All told, the 599 XX could lap the North Loop at the Nürburgring in 6 minutes, 58.16 seconds, which, at the time, made it the fastest-ever production-derived sports car around the famed racing track.

Ferrari followed the 599XX with the even-faster 599XX Evoluzione, which once again got additional aero tweaks (including an active rear wing element), a new exhaust system, new electronics, and fresh Pirelli race slicks. The Evoluzione also managed to cut an additional 77 pounds, with peak output rated 730 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque.

2011 Ferrari 599 GTO Exterior
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It’s all impressive stuff, no doubt, but the 599 GTO brought it all to the street.

It’s all impressive stuff, no doubt, but the 599 GTO brought it all to the street. Essentially a road-legal iteration of the 599XX, the 599 GTO managed a time of 1 minute, 24 seconds around the Fiorano test circuit, becoming the fastest-ever road car Ferrari had ever made, beating the Enzo by a full second.

Output came to 661 horsepower at 8,250 rpm and 460 pound-feet of torque at 6,500 rpm, while the transmission tuning was plucked from the 599XX. Foot down, the run from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) happens in just 3.3 seconds, while top speed hits 208 mph. The car also weighs just 3,538 pounds, 220 pounds less than the standard road car. To keep it special, Ferrari limited production to just 599 examples total.

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