Find a car review

Make
Model

A-Z Supercars: Ferrari 550 Maranello

Ferrari returned to a front-engined layout for the 550 maranello. Good move...

Rerrari clearly used the Daytona as a spiritual template for the 550 Maranello. Both had bodies styled by Pininfarina with long, thrusting bonnets and short, clenched tails. Both had naturally aspirated front-mounted V12s powering the rear wheels via transaxle transmissions for optimum weight distribution. Both had big, clear rev-counters with red lines that began well beyond 7000. And both were set in the classic GT mould: large, leggy two-seater coupes that can traverse countries in a single bound.

But although the concepts overlapped, the scale of Ferrari’s ambition had grown profoundly by the time it made the Maranello. Take the 550’s V12 engine. It had 5.5 litres, 48 valves, 485bhp and 415lb ft of torque, its gearbox has six speeds (and 26mph/1000rpm gearing in top). The Daytona was the swiftest car of its day, but it was a pigmy next to the Maranello, which was 25mph faster flat-out and three seconds quicker to 100mph. Add to that a superbly positive gearchange, an almost absurdly driftable chassis and classy ergonomics. It was even refined.

Subscribe to evo magazine

If you're passionate about the world's greatest performance cars, experience the thrill of driving with evo magazine. Try your first 5 issues for £5.

Find used Ferrari 550's for sale on the Classic and Performance Car site here.

The 575 that followed was faster still, but it needed the Fiorano handling pack to recapture the 550’s brilliance. It might seem unsophisticated and lacking ultimate firepower compared with today’s F12, but the 550 Maranello remains a dynamic masterpiece nonetheless.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Back in 2004, evo ran a ‘Greatest Drivers’ Car’ showdown with the greatest cars from the previous ten years, including 911 GT3, Honda NSX-R and Zonda C12S. The 550 Maranello won. ‘As with all great cars, there’s no one facet that dominates the experience,’ we concluded. ‘Yes the engine is mighty, but the chassis is its equal. There’s never been a supercar that’s so exploitable and so rounded in its abilities.’

Specifications

Years made 1997-2002 Engine V12, 5474cc Max power 485bhp @ 7000rpm Torque 415lb ft @ 5000rpm 0-60mph 4.3sec Max speed 199mph Price £143,680 new,c£35-75,000 today

Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/mclaren/201626/next-mclaren-ultimate-series-car-revealed-to-be-open-top-speedster-model
McLaren

Next McLaren Ultimate Series car revealed to be open-top speedster model

16 Aug 2019
Visit/mercedes/201625/2020-mercedes-amg-e53-coupe-spied-with-mid-cycle-updates
Mercedes

2020 Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe spied with mid-cycle updates

16 Aug 2019
Visit/ford/fiesta/st
Ford Fiesta ST hatchback

Ford Fiesta ST review

15 Aug 2019
Visit/volkswagen/golf/r
Volkswagen Golf R hatchback

New Volkswagen Golf R 2019 review

15 Aug 2019

Most Popular

Visit/news/22986/abt-audi-rs5-r-sportback-revealed-alongside-788bhp-abt-powered-boat
News

Abt Audi RS5-R Sportback revealed

Not only has the German tuner fettled the Audi RS5 Sportback, it’s also turned its attention to watercraft
9 Aug 2019
Visit/features/22971/mercedes-amg-c63-s-vs-alfa-romeo-giulia-quadrifoglio-super-saloons-go-head-to-head
Reviews

Mercedes-AMG C63 S vs Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio - super saloons go head-to-head

We pit the Mercedes-AMG C63 S against Alfa Romeo's Giulia Quadrifoglio to find out which is best
9 Aug 2019
Visit/buying-advice/19675/used-car-deals-of-the-week
Features

Best used cars for sale this week

We’ve delved into the classifieds and chosen our favourite cars for sale this week
7 Aug 2019
Visit/features/22907/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-col-de-turini
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Col de Turini

We take the Hyundai i30 Fastback N up the Col de Turini, a 31km stage of the Monte Carlo World Rally Championship
19 Jul 2019