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The Carchive: The Ferrari 612 Scaglietti

Chris Haining December 23, 2016 Cars You Should Know, The Carchive 11 Comments


It’s Christmas Eve eve, and I’m just about to round off my day by wrapping family gifts in an inimitable, shambolic way that I have perfected. With my special technique, I could start with a perfectly rectangular gift and end up with something the shape of a rugby ball. Anyway, it’s time to put on our red and white suits and hats, play with our fine, white, candy-floss beards for a while and then delve into our bulging sacks. Welcome to the Christmas Carchive.

What is it we like about Ferraris? There are some, many in fact, that we can love for their beauty. The 308 and its derivatives were pretty, culminating in the downright explicit 288 GTO with its gaping holes and dirty, exposed running gear. Many call the 456 GT bland, but while it may start out as merely easy on the eye, it continues to work on you until it becomes insufferably handsome.  The F50 wasn’t exactly an oil painting, but it had the mechanical wherewithal to more than make up for it. Generally, if you can’t fall in love with the looks of a Ferrari, it’ll have another attribute that’ll get you back on side.

The 612 Scaglietti is nobody’s favourite Ferrari, but it tries so, so hard.


“A genuine four-seater Ferrari, the all-aluminium 612 Scaglietti is the result of an avant-garde design that guarantees the pure, thoroughbred performance demanded by Ferrarist combined with uncompromising driver and passenger comfort.”

The Ferrari 612 Scaglietti was a car quite unlike any Ferrari before it, and is very unlikely to ever be directly replaced by a car with the same set of values. Arriving in 2004, it replaced the 456 and came in the guise of something with an altogether more mature persona. Where the 456 GT was a Ferrari for the family, the 612 Scaglietti came across as a rather gentlemanly conveyance.

Ferrari’s touring cars had a tendency to be overshadowed by its smaller, flightier machines – the 456 immediately had the limelight taken away when the less attractive two-seat 550 Maranello appeared, confirming that shouty Ferraris attract more attention than luxurious ones.


“The 612 Scaglietti is very much a third-millennium product, offering a whole new generation of technologies compared to the 2+2 it replaces. In fact, it isn’t really a 2+2 at all but more a genuine roomy two-door four-seater”

A clean sheet approach was clearly necessary, and that’s exactly what the 612 represented. With the mid-engined 360 Modena doing the business at the sports-car end of the range, and the 575 still winning hearts at the big, loud side of things. Ferrari had a nice slot set aside for a whole new breed of intercontinental super-cruiser.

The 612 was barely under five metres long when it arrived, looking quite unlike any other Ferrari before it. It was also far more spacious than previous touring Ferraris, and had luxury down to a fine art, too. But was it a step too far from the spirit of the prancing horse to capture the hearts of devotees?


“This is a car with all of the fiery temperament and driving pleasure of a thoroughbred Ferrari, combining thrilling performance, agility and safety”

Well, Ferrari certainly didn’t reckon so, and they certainly had statistics on their side. The big V12 could summon forth 540bhp, sent to the rear wheels through a manual or F1A paddle-shift automatic. 0-62mph took 4.2 seconds – a figure that was out of touch with the latest round of hypercars,, including the Enzo, but the emphasis was clearly far more on relaxed high speed cruising. Very high speed cruising – top speed was 199mph.

This idea really appeals to me, and the 612 must be one of the very few Ferraris that has boasted the characteristic I find irresistible in a high-speed, luxury car – effortlessness.


“The Bose sound system offers the same kind of audio quality of a top flight home entertainment system. The system boasts three twiddlers on the dash, two woofers and two tweeters on the sides of the rear seats, one amplified 100w bass box in the front and one 100w amplified subwoofer at head level”

I’ve listened to some high end stereos in my time and, usually come away unmoved. Even the Burmester system in the Merc S-Class has issues – the speakers in the roof don’t sound voice-matched to those in the doors. This wouldn’t matter if you were smoking around an airfield sideways in an AMG S 63, but in an S 350D there’s not a lot of fun to be had other than listening to Led Zep with the volume at eleven.

The 612, it seems, had it all. With more moderate interior dimensions than an S-Class, I’m sure that Bose system would be more than sufficient to lend all the aural ambience you need. And yes, four actual people could fit inside at the same time. I mean, if it’s not quite a limo, at least it’s a real car that people could travel in.


“The design of the 612 Scaglietti fully expresses the model’s new values. In fact, Ferrari made a conceptual choice with Pininfarina that the four-seater would be a genuine departure from previous Grand Tourer models”

The one really contentious issue with the 612, though, was the way it looked, and this wasn’t helped by the fact that almost every media outlet managed to point the camera at it from entirely the wrong angle. In most non Ferrari-supplied images the 612 looked rather awkward. The name ‘Scaglietti’ didn’t help, either. Although the famous Italian stylist and coachbuilder was well worthy of reverence, its name didn’t sound good if pronounced without a silent ‘g’.

Looking down at the 612 from the front three quarter at anything more than natural eye level really ruins everything. It looks long, flat, shapeless and bloated. Drop down to roof level or lower, though, and the form begins to express itself, especially if the light is falling on it in such a way that the scalloped sides are filled with shadow and the rear haunches are highlighted.

Those headlamps, too – they were very divisive at first but the way that sharp crease bi-sects them and goes on to frame the radiator grille is actually very effective, and from directly front on with a little elevation, it looks terrific. And as we see in that side elevation of the bare metal bodyshell, the proportions are absolutely exquisite.

The 612 Scaglietti is likely to remain one of the lesser-loved Ferraris for some time, but is sadly unlikely to be that unloved that I can ever afford one.

(All images are of original factory publicity material, photographed by me. Copyright remains property of Ferrari. Mappy Christmas and a great new year.)





  • Batshitbox

    That seating diagram really doesn’t do much to sell the car as a 2 plus 2. Anyone can see a 14 year old suffering a growth spurt at the wrong time getting permanently wedged between the backlight and the transaxle, with their patellas knocking on their their clavicles.

    • Vairship

      And one little bump will send their head through the rear window.

  • Van_Sarockin

    I think it’s a handsome, capable car. Any haters would be welcome to kick a copy over to my curb.

  • Rover 1

    You’re quite right about the styling.

    How the scalloped sides are supposed to look.Adding highlight and drama and removing bulk
    How they usually look in reality. They seem to disappear leaving a slightly bloated look.

    • I’ve learned something, thanks.

  • I didn’t know this black sheep yet, it’s too young, but I like the presentation of a golden car instead of the Italian version of model T’s black.
    I’ll put the “Skull Yeti” on my fantasy garage list now.

  • Luxury Lexus Land-yacht

    Unlike many, I like the four-seat Ferraris.

    This, the 456, Mondial, 400 GT series…all of those pretty much unloved machines, I like them.

    • Rover 1

      Yes, me too.

    • Yup. I’d find it very hard to kick a 412 out of bed.

  • Fuhrman16

    I’m I the only one who thinks the 612 look like a simple minded Corvette?

    • ol shel

      It does look a bit dim.