The Ferrari 612 Buying Guide – An understated 199mph continent crusher

Ferrari 612 Scaglietti

The Ferrari 612 Scaglietti is an effortlessly effective grand tourer that is becoming more desirable with each passing year.

Ferraris have rarely been understated modes of transport, so the smoothly sculpted lines of the 612 Scaglietti may be about as close as one gets to a Maranello Q-car. Released in 2004 as a replacement for the 456, the Pininfarina-styled 612 was named after Sergio Scaglietti, the legendary designer who was responsible for many of the beautiful sports cars to come out of Maranello during the ‘50s and ‘60s. The 2+2 seating and long wheelbase gave the 612 a level of practicality that made it a viable step up for customers looking for an alternative to their German fast saloons.

Initial impressions were perhaps not as favourable as Ferrari would have liked, despite being a better car in every measurable way to the 456, the styling came in for some criticism; many felt that it didn’t have the presence that a V12 Ferrari should command, and compared to previous grand tourers they had a point. Yet the design has aged very well and there is something to be said for an unassuming looking fast car that doesn’t attract unnecessary attention. You will definitely want to stay below the radar as 533bhp even in a car as heavy as the 612 means rapid performance. The claimed 0-62mph time of 4.0-seconds is still extremely quick and the long-legged grand tourer really starts getting into its stride at autobahn speeds, eventually topping out at 199mph. Totally pointless these days but there is much to enjoy about the 612’s torquey power delivery well within legal limits. Helping keep things manageable was Ferrari’s first-ever electronic stability system and customers could also opt for carbon ceramic brakes if they chose the HGTC performance package. A manual transmission was still available but very few customers actually ordered one and the vast majority are equipped with the six-speed automated manual transmission.

Owners and road testers criticised the car for its muted exhaust note and comfort biased suspension settings, however, from 2006-on the HGTS package provided the solution with a sports exhaust, tuned suspension and enhanced software for the semi-automatic gearbox. The abovementioned HGTC package offered the same upgrades as well as the carbon ceramic brakes. Luxury was high on the priority list too; one notable feature was the panoramic electrochromatic roof which offered three tint settings at the press of a button. Customisation choices were vast, especially if customers opted for the OTO ‘one-to-one’ program which allowed for an even greater degree of personalisation.  A 2008 facelift saw the introduction of a switchable manettino on the steering wheel as well as revisions to the gearbox. The 612 ended production in 2011 with just over 3,000 cars produced.

Ferrari 612 Engine and gearbox

Engines are strong and have few inherent faults, they are however one of the last with cambelts and these require replacing every 4 to 5 years so budget for this labour-intensive job ahead of time.

The very rare manual gearbox versions tend to give little trouble with clutches lasting a lot longer than their semi-automatic counterparts. The Semi-auto boxes are also reliable however they can sometimes give a few problems which require resetting of clutch position sensors or software updates to rectify. A recall in 2008 rectified a problem that could cause the semi-automatic gearbox clutch sensor to malfunction during normal operation.

Ferrari 612 Suspension and Brakes

 The optional carbon ceramic brakes are very long lasting but if the discs and pads require replacing you will be in for a hefty bill so check their condition thoroughly. Front rims can buckle easily thanks to the low-profile tyres while the rubber requires replacing every 10,000-miles or so.

Ferrari 612 Bodywork and interior

An all-aluminium chassis and body mean that rust is not an issue however check over the car for any accident damage or corrosion that may have set in around badly repaired panels.

While not specifically a 612 fault, the dashboard switches can become sticky to the touch when left to stand for long periods, refurbishment or replacement is the only real option. Another issue is the shrinkage of the leather covering the dashboard when cars are left in the sun for extended periods.

The 612 was the first to offer the electronic dashboard that is now commonplace in all Ferraris. It can sometimes have issues with the power supply or electronic board which is generally resolved at great expense with a replacement unit from Ferrari or repaired at much-reduced cost by specialists.

Model History Of The Ferrari 612

2004:   Ferrari 612 Scaglietti introduced, replacing 456

Available in 6 speed manual and semi-automatic transmissions

2006:   HGTC and HGTS option packs offered, with sports exhausts and modified suspension settings among the changes. Limited 612 Bernie edition commemorates first Swiss GP.

2007:   612 Sessanta built to commemorate 60th anniversary of company. 60 units built.

2008:   612 facelift introduced. OTO (One-to-One) program allowed owners to customise their vehicles to their tastes. Selectable driving mode Manettino switch standard on all cars

2011:   Final 612 rolls off the production line making way for the new FF

Which Ferrari 612 To Buy

The Ferrari 612 Scaglietti was one of the most expensive cars on the market when new-as with most luxurious V12 sports car-values have since dropped to far more attainable levels but one thing that hasn’t changed is the cost to keep one properly maintained. Cars with patchy service records or multiple owners are best avoided, but don’t be put off by higher mileages if everything else checks out.

Special edition cars were essentially highly specced standard models with some unique paint and trim options so if you really want to pay over the odds for your 612 rather hold out for one of the 199 manual transmission cars. If you intend to use your car for more than just long distance touring then the HGTC and HGTS packs are worth looking for.

With looks that have only got better with age and a level of performance and useability that still impress today, there is not much to dislike about the Ferrari 612, just make sure you put a bit extra aside for the maintenance budget.

Ferrari 612 Specifications

5.75-litre V12

Power:             532bhp

Top speed:      199mph

0-62mph:        4.0sec

Economy:       13.6mpg

Text John Tallodi  Photos Ferrari

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