The 612 Scaglietti was the beautifully sculpted (if slightly oddly proportioned) successor of the 456, the next in line of the 2+2 V12s that started way back in 1960 with the Ferrari 250. Named after Sergio Scaglietti and with design elements that in part emulated the 1954 375MM, it was an all-aluminium Grand Tourer masterpiece.
More reliable, faster and with a larger footprint than its predecessor, the 612 was a better car in almost every respect. Its 532bhp 5.7-litre V12 mounted behind the front wheels gave it the kind of performance that is expected of a Ferrari. It also debuted various firsts for Ferrari including an electronic stability management system.
Standard versions were criticised for their muted exhaust notes and comfort biased suspension settings, however the HGTC and HGTS packages could provide the solution with a sports exhaust, tuned suspension and uprated semi-automatic gearbox software.
Customisation choices were vast, especially if customers opted for the OTO ‘one to one’ program, which allowed even further personalisation.
The 612 is a relatively subtle looking, and in certain colour choices can almost melt into the background, making it the ideal car for those not wanting too much attention.
Which one to buy?
One of the most expensive cars on the market when new, the 612 has been through its initial heavy depreciation to make it a very viable ownership prospect for those in the know.
Some owners complained of a muted exhaust note, heavy tyre wear and high fuel consumption, however the general consensus was that the 612 is a reliable GT car with the ability to cover ground very rapidly. 2006 saw the introduction of the HGTC and HGTS option packs which added a sports exhaust system, firmer suspension settings, and quicker acting gearboxes with the HGTC further adding carbon ceramic brakes to the mix. These changes made a real difference to the driving experience and are worth having if you prefer a sportier drive to the standard model.
Facelifted in 2008, the 612 received the now common switchable manettino on the steering wheel as well as some other minor changes.
The 612 is a reliable car and being larger than its predecessor offers true 2+2 motoring. Very low-mileage, multiple owner cars can be more problematic than one-owner high-milers, as hidden issues may have been passed on with each owner. These cars benefit from being driven regularly and with some vigour. Manual cars are hard to find, as well as hugely sought after – making them a very expensive (see prices).
Performance and specs
Engine 5748cc 48valve DOHC V12
Power 532bhp @ 7250rpm
Torque 434lb ft @ 5250rpm
Top speed 199mph
0-62mph 4.3 seconds
Fuel consumption 13.6mpg
Gearbox Six-speed manual/six-speed F1 semi-automatic
Insurance group 50
Dimensions and weight
Curb weight 1840kg
The 612 is a reliable car with few recurring issues; servicing costs are what you would expect from a V12 Ferrari and a fully documented maintenance history is essential.
• 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, although this is less common in the UK than warmer climates.
• 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. The tyres themselves tend to require replacing every 10,000 miles or so depending on your driving style.
• The very rare manual gearbox versions tend to give little trouble, with clutches lasting a lot longer than their semi-automatic counterparts. The Semi-automatic ‘boxes are also reliable, however they can sometimes give a few problems that 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.
• 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 will generally need to be resolved at great expense with a replacement unit from Ferrari, or at much reduced cost by specialists who are able to repair the malfunctioning parts.
• Engines are strong and have few inherent faults; they are however one of the last with cambelts and these require replacing every four to five years so budget for this labour intensive job ahead of time.
• An all-aluminium chassis and body mean that rust is not an issue, but it pays to check the car for any signs of accident damage or corrosion that may have set in around badly repaired panels.
2004: Ferrari 612 Scaglietti introduced, replacing 456. Available in six-speed manual and semi-automatic transmissions
2006: HGTC and HGTS option packs offered, with sports exhausts and modified suspension settings among the changes
2007: 612 Sessanta built to commemorate 60th anniversary of company. 60 units built.
2008: 612 face lift introduced. OTO (One-to-One) program allowed owners to customise their vehicles to their tastes. OTO options included a photochromatic glass roof. Uprated twin-clutch semi-automatic transmission used for OTO cars. Selectable driving mode Manettino switch standard on all cars
2011: Final 612 rolls off the production line making way for the new FF
Owners clubs, forums and websites
Summary and prices
A good example will set you back around £65,000 with some top condition models with low mileage demanding up to £110,000. As mentioned above, evidence of a comprehensive service history is a must as problematic cars can be expensive to rectify. HGTC packs tend to add a bit to the asking price and limited edition models such as the Sessanta will be significantly higher. Due to its rarity, any 612 fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox will carry a significant premium over the anything with the F1 ‘box.
The 612 Scaglietti is a fantastic long distance tourer with space for four to travel in comfort. Luggage space may be a bit limited, and fuel consumption is predictably heavy but this is a small price to pay for travelling in such style. The timeless, yet understated looks should ensure that demand for these capable cars will remain high for years to come.
Words: John Tallodi