Cult Cars Road Tests

Cult Cars 9: Ferrari Enzo

Time 5:11 pm, November 18, 2008

AT 186mph, the Ferrari Enzo generates downforce equivalent to having a Lotus Elise sat on its chuff. Which is one way of illustrating just how ‘planted’ it feels at speed.

Painted on to the road is a more apt description – it can’t quite drive upside down in a tunnel and not fall off, like an F1 car can, but it’s getting close.

Befitting of a car named after Ferrari’s founder, the Enzo is little short of amazing. It was built to mark the passing of the great man, back in 1988, and literally spared no expense during development.

At the risk of throwing in a cliché, this really is an F1 car for the road – in that many of the brains that worked on Ferrari’s racers offered their genius to the Enzo team, too. Including that man Schumacher.

Naturally, it’s made from carbon fibre. It has carbon brakes, too, and a semi-automatic gearshift. Indeed, it goes further than F1, in boasting traction control, active suspension and active aerodynamics – all that rear downforce is generated by a pop-up rear spoiler.

And not only is the 6.0-litre engine a glorious V12 (rather than F1’s ‘weedy’ 2.4-litre V8s), but it also pumps out a massive 651bhp.

That’s not far shy of F1 power – good enough for 0-60mph in, ooh, around 3.5secs. Blimey. They reckon it’ll do around 230mph all-out.


Performance is simply colossal. Here’s one for you: in the time it takes a Focus diesel to hit 60mph, this’ll have covered a quarter of a mile – and will be doing more than 130mph…

And all to the most incredible soundtrack. The engine’s mounted behind the driver, who really will feel like Villeneuve, Prost, Lauda or any of the other many legends who have done amazing things with V12-engined Ferrari racers. It’s a bewildering experience.

Yet, thanks to the semi-auto, with its Massa-style steering wheel shift lights, very easy to manipulate. That was a key design focus of this model. Make it awesome, but also relatively easy for mere mortals to experience.

That active suspension electronically adjusts to help keep all that power on the Tarmac through bends – mere irritations the Enzo simply destroys. It’s one of the most accomplished handling cars on the planet, as you’d expect given a list price of £400k. Which is nearly double that now on the used market…

You enjoy it all from a cockpit that’s special, but not plush or decadent. It’s very much pared back to the racer minimum, with exposed carbon fibre a key feature. If you want gin palace, you need to look elsewhere. If you want something totally bespoke and tailored to fit you, it’s just the job.

Chances are, you’ll never get to buy one. They made just 399, up from the original 349 total, and all were constructed during 2003. Well, we tell a lie. They made one more, to help the Tsunami fund. How much did it go for? $1.2m.

Mind you, it was presented by the Pope. Befitting, really, given what a God-like cult car the awesome Enzo is.

Simply staring at its edgy lines alone is usually enough; it’s almost impossible at first to get over what a sensation it is. But driving it? Well, you really would feel like you’d gone to Heaven…


Ferrari Enzo statistics

Price: £899,999 (used)

Engine: 6.0-litre, V12

Power: 651bhp, 750Nm

0-60mph: 3.5s

Max: 230mph

Now finance one with Bridford:

Option One: £299,999 deposit, 24 x £3,949 plus final payment*

Option Two: £179,999 deposit, 48 x £8,499 plus final payment*

*The above options are specifically for applicants who do more than 2/3rds business mileage, limited companies or high net worth individuals. Contact Bridford for a written quotation and full terms and conditions.

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