Ferrari’s mid-engined sports cars have a fierce following, but the true heart of the company has always resided farther forward, in a swift-beating V-12 engine nestled under a stretched, sexy hood. The new 599 GTB Fiorano is the playboy heir to a long line of Ferrari Gran Turismo models designed for speed, sensation and all-day driving comfort. Its Pininfarina design—notable for its air-channeling, flying buttress–like siding—marks a welcome return to the elegant form of Ferrari’s past, without sacrificing function.

In fact, with 611 prancing ponies from a compact 6.0-liter engine, the 599 GTB is the fastest production Ferrari in history, scorching the quarter-mile in 11.5 seconds and reaching a top speed in excess of 205 mph. My own test drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas as part of the Pan American Rally—a twenty-thousand-mile endurance run in a pair of 599s throughout South, Central and North America—didn’t reach such license-shredding heights. But I found sweet consolation in the engine’s operatic 8,400 rpm peaks, in Ferrari’s newly smoothened Formula 1–style transmission and in steering that felt hard-wired to my own synapses. And although the Ferrari’s advanced suspension system borrows components from the common Corvette’s, there’s nothing common about its performance, with fast-acting shock absorbers whose magnetically controlled fluid lets the car read and respond to surface changes in the time it takes to cover an inch of roadway at 60 mph.

As with most Ferrari GTs, the trunk is decently sized and the rear parcel shelf can manage a set of clubs. The only catch, as with any Ferrari, is maddening exclusivity: Write a deposit check today and you’ll wait roughly four years for delivery—long enough to set aside the $265,000 entry fee or to build a garage worthy of this beauty. —Lawrence Ulrich


Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano

Price: $265,000
Engine: 6.0-liter V-12
Horsepower: 611
Torque: 448 pound-feet
Weight: 3,482 pounds
Zero to 62 mph: 3.7 seconds