The Ferrari FF is an interesting car for a few reasons. It’s the first four door or four wheel drive car to come out of Maranello. The Shooting Brake wagon body style is fairly hideous, but everybody says the car drives amazingly. This is due to the unique all wheel drive system that Ferrari invented for the FF. The rear wheels are driven through a standard Ferrari 7 speed transaxle, but the front of the car is driven by a separate two speed transmission connected to the front of the 6.3 liter V12 through a torque vectoring differntial. The layout that Ferrari conceived eliminated the need for an external transfer case and an extra drive shaft for the front axle. The gearing also ensures that a larger majority of the engine’s power is going to the rear wheels for sporty driving dynamics. Check out this animation from Ferrari showing how it works:
Sure this all makes for some interesting engineering talk, but what does it mean in the real world? How about the immature but all important question of, “Will it drift?” Autocar’s Steve Sutcliffe finds out for us.
This is probably my favorite of the hardcore minimalist track cars that you can register on the street. It’s the Briggs Automotive Company (BAC) Mono. It’s powered by a 230 horsepower 2.3 liter Ford Duratec that’s been tuned by Cosworth. The carbon fiber body work is stunning and is probably significantly more aerodynamic that an open wheel formula race car. Steven Sutcliffe of Autocar takes it for a spin and does a great job relaying what it’s like to drive and what makes it special. Turns out it’s street legal (at least in the UK) and has a friendly suspension setup that doesn’t punish you for flirting with the car’s limits.
Unlike people who aren’t into cars, I’m sure that if you regularly visit this blog you can appreciate the fact that I think it would be hilarious for me to show up to my own funeral sideways squared in a drifting hearse. On this classic episode of Will it Drift?, Steve Sutcliffe tries to slide the nicest hearse I have ever seen. It’s a stretched Mercedes E-Class with a Popemobile-esque bubble in the back to display a casket and a 3.0 liter TDi engine in the front that makes 200 horsepower. I wonder if they ever made one based on the E63 AMG because that would be even cooler and driftier.
The BMW 1M is, conceptually speaking, one of my favorite modern cars. Right off the bat the car was made for the enthusiasts without making a lot of compromises for broad market appeal. To keep development costs down, BMW Frankensteined the 1M together with stuff they already had in the parts bin. The rear axle is from the E46 M3 and the 3.0 liter twin turbo inline-6 is the same as the one you can get in the regular 1-series and 3-series, but with an upgraded turbo, exhaust and fuel mapping. This is the first M-car to have a turbocharged engine, but that’s not a bad thing. Between variable valve timing and direct injection, modern turbocharged engines like this one feel very much like larger displacement naturally aspirated engines. The plus side is you get much better fuel economy and gobs of fun torque instead of a high strung peaky power band. That’s what makes this car so much fun. Unfortunately the 1M was only sold for one model year to preserve its classic status. That’s a shame becuase BMW definitely got it right with this one.