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    My impressions of the 599GTB

    Just came back from a test drive in the 599GTB. I drove the car for about 5 hours on the Autobahn as well as on country roads with lots of bends. Total distance covered was around 600km.

    Unfortunately, the test car was not broken in yet (the odometer showed some 200km at the beginning of the tour...). Obviously, I treated such a brand new jewel with the due respect, i.e. I did not take the engine above 7500/min (and that only at the end of the tour at around 700km on the odometer).

    The test car was Rosso Corsa with Challenge rims and ceramic brakes. Tires were Pirelli PZero.


    Exterior Design/Cabin

    I like the exterior and interior design of the car. The 599GTB in Rosso Corsa looks much better in reality than on pictures. However, personally I prefer black or silver.

    - The cabin is fairly roomy
    - The finish is excellent, a rattling noise in the back of the cabin indicated the only area for improvement
    - The rev LEDs in the steering wheel represent an useful option; the LEDs are much easier to overlook than the rev indicator in the course of the action...
    - The Recaro sport seats are excellent: in particular, the adjustable width of the back rest (and the seat base) offers perfect support even in very fast corners
    - The Navi should be improved further (no map function available, difficult to operate due to very small buttons etc.)
    - The BOSE sound system is of average quality - however, I did not use it much given the nice engine sound
    - A cruise control should be offered soon - otherwise the car is very difficult to drive on speed restricted roads


    Driving impressions

    - The engine is a real masterpiece
    - It revs like hell - to let it rev in idle mode (side door open) is an unforgettable experience! You instantly believe that this machine is a derivative of the Enzo engine...
    - The engine sound is not as loud as in case of a Gallardo or F430 but still present under all circumstances
    - As in all Ferraris I have driven the sound has a very broad spectrum - very nice
    - Throttle response is excellent
    - The car can easily be driven slightly below 2000/min in inner city traffic
    - Having said that, the engine needs revs to develop its massive power
    - The steering is light and direct - best steering feel (and feed-back) can be expected in RACE mode
    - The Ceramic brakes are extremely powerful; the car's weight is absolutely no problem for the brakes under any conditions
    - The brake pedal is not as direct as (for example) in a 997TT with PCCB; the brake pedal has some initial slack
    - Brake power can be adjusted very precisely
    - The suspension setup provides for a combination of two cars in one: a comfortable GT and an aggressive super sports car
    - In the WET or SPORT mode the car is remarkably comfortable; still body horizontal and vertical body roll is limited to a minimum
    - In RACE mode the precision of the suspension is further improved
    - Driven in RACE mode the 599GTB exhibits only very negligible body roll in tight bends or upon application of the brakes
    - In tight bends the car shows initial understeer (only for a fraction of a second, though) and then somehow transforms itself into a very agile and neutral handling car
    - Obviously, lots of oversteer can be added any time by applying the throttle
    - The 599GTB's front end gets noticeably lighter when the throttle is applied (unlike the AWD driven 997TT, for example)
    - The car is rock solid (even at very high speeds) on Autobahn straights and in Autobahn bends; max speed I did was around indicated 295kph (due to traffic constraints and as I did not want to rev above 7000/min for a longer time)
    - High-speed aerodynamics seem to work - the car feels very reliable in Autobahn bends even at around 250kph
    - Traction is very remarkable for a 620hp RWD car, although I would argue that AWD is the superior concept for high-performance sports cars (see 997TT or Gallardo)
    - The F1 gearbox is very fast in SPORT/RACE mode and fairly comfortable in WET/SPORT mode; the Auto mode can be used as a fairly comfortable alternative for inner city driving, traffic jams etc.


    Summary

    - An excellent car with a great personality!
    - Combines a true GT and a true super sports car
    - Not quite comparable to a 997TT - which makes the choice between these two cars the more difficult

    Re: My impressions of the 599GTB

    Great write up. Sounds like you had the ultimate driving experience there.

    Re: My impressions of the 599GTB

    Yes indeed, it's a great car !

    Re: My impressions of the 599GTB

    Very nice report, thanks MKSGR!

    The 599 GTB Fiorano is definetely the best great GT currently available, a real masterpiece in its class. Looking forward to the F430 successor...

    Re: My impressions of the 599GTB

    compliments...wow what a car!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Re: My impressions of the 599GTB

    Quote:
    MKSGR said:
    - The steering is light and direct - best steering feel (and feed-back) can be expected in RACE mode

    - The brake pedal is not as direct as (for example) in a 997TT with PCCB; the brake pedal has some initial slack




    Thank you for your impressions, MKSGR.

    I suppose most 599 drivers prefer the initial brake pedal slack and the omission of cruise control. Strange combination.

    1) Did the steering weight (servo assist) change in RACE mode? Do you remember if the steering felt significantly lighter, heavier or stayed the same?

    2) Do you prefer the fixed ratio steering of the 599 or Porsche's variable ratio? Why?

    Re: My impressions of the 599GTB

    Quote:
    MAVERICK said:
    Quote:
    MKSGR said:
    - The steering is light and direct - best steering feel (and feed-back) can be expected in RACE mode

    - The brake pedal is not as direct as (for example) in a 997TT with PCCB; the brake pedal has some initial slack




    Thank you for your impressions, MKSGR.

    I suppose most 599 drivers prefer the initial brake pedal slack and the omission of cruise control. Strange combination.

    1) Did the steering weight (servo assist) change in RACE mode? Do you remember if the steering felt significantly lighter, heavier or stayed the same?

    2) Do you prefer the fixed ratio steering of the 599 or Porsche's variable ratio? Why?



    Hi Maverick,

    ad 1) The servo assist feel is basically the same in SPORTS and RACE mode. However, the steering feels more direct in RACE, i.e. the car reacts more sensitive and nimble to steering wheel impulses. I would expect that this effect is due to the changed suspension setup in RACE (not do to changes in the servo assist).

    ad 2) If I had the choice I would pick the progressive steering technology of the 997TT; driving 180 degree bends without shuffling hands simply is an improvement Also, the progressive steering has no negative impact on the steering feel/feed-back. A great technology!

    Re: My impressions of the 599GTB

    MKSGR, wonderful report! The car is obviously a superior performer. Regarding the choice between the two, why not get the 599 and get the Turbo S (or a GT2 if it comes with PSM) at a later date?

    Re: My impressions of the 599GTB

    Quote:
    Crash said:
    Quote:
    Rossi said:
    Very nice report, thanks Patriek!

    The 599 GTB Fiorano is definetely the best great GT currently available, a real masterpiece in its class. Looking forward to the F430 successor...



    Don't you mean "Thanks, MARKUS" ?

    MKSGR, wonderful report! The car is obviously a superior performer. Regarding the choice between the two, why not get the 599 and get the Turbo S (or a GT2 if it comes with PSM) at a later date?



    My wife would kill me

    Re: My impressions of the 599GTB

    Quote:
    MKSGR said:
    Quote:
    Crash said:
    Quote:
    Rossi said:
    Very nice report, thanks Patriek!

    The 599 GTB Fiorano is definetely the best great GT currently available, a real masterpiece in its class. Looking forward to the F430 successor...



    Don't you mean "Thanks, MARKUS" ?

    MKSGR, wonderful report! The car is obviously a superior performer. Regarding the choice between the two, why not get the 599 and get the Turbo S (or a GT2 if it comes with PSM) at a later date?



    My wife would kill me



    But what a way to go !

    Re: My impressions of the 599GTB

    Quote:
    MKSGR said:
    Quote:
    Crash said:
    Quote:
    Rossi said:
    Very nice report, thanks Patriek!

    The 599 GTB Fiorano is definetely the best great GT currently available, a real masterpiece in its class. Looking forward to the F430 successor...



    Don't you mean "Thanks, MARKUS" ?

    MKSGR, wonderful report! The car is obviously a superior performer. Regarding the choice between the two, why not get the 599 and get the Turbo S (or a GT2 if it comes with PSM) at a later date?



    My wife would kill me



    But what a way to go .

    Re: My impressions of the 599GTB

    Quote:
    MKSGR said:
    ad 2) If I had the choice I would pick the progressive steering technology of the 997TT; driving 180 degree bends without shuffling hands simply is an improvement Also, the progressive steering has no negative impact on the steering feel/feed-back. A great technology!



    Does "ad" mean "ad hoc?"

    180 degrees without shuffling? How many degrees does the steering wheel have to be turned in order to make a 180 degree bend? I am wondering if a pair of paddles should be mounted on the steering wheel or on the steering column.

    Re: My impressions of the 599GTB

    Quote:
    MAVERICK said:
    Quote:
    MKSGR said:
    ad 2) If I had the choice I would pick the progressive steering technology of the 997TT; driving 180 degree bends without shuffling hands simply is an improvement Also, the progressive steering has no negative impact on the steering feel/feed-back. A great technology!



    Does "ad" mean "ad hoc?"

    180 degrees without shuffling? How many degrees does the steering wheel have to be turned in order to make a 180 degree bend? I am wondering if a pair of paddles should be mounted on the steering wheel or on the steering column.



    A 180 degree turn in the 997TT requires a 180 degree turn of the steering wheel (as an approximation...).

    I see your point regarding the paddles - with progressive steering the paddles might also be fixed to the steering wheel.

    P.S.: "Ad" is the latin expression for "With regards to"

    Re: My impressions of the 599GTB

    Quote:
    MKSGR said:
    A 180 degree turn in the 997TT requires a 180 degree turn of the steering wheel (as an approximation...).

    I see your point regarding the paddles - with progressive steering the paddles might also be fixed to the steering wheel.




    When the steering wheel is turned 180 degrees, the driver's arms are crossed and the car is inside the bend. Once the bend is completed, the steering returns to zero degrees and the arms are uncrossed. I was told never to change gears in the middle of a bend to avoid upsetting the balance of the car. Therefore, despite having Porsche's variable ratio steering, it seems better to leave the paddles on the column as is Ferrari's and Lamborghini's policy.

    Re: My impressions of the 599GTB

    Excellent report!

    I am amazed you were alolowed to drive the 599 for 5 hours and put 600km on it. That would be unheard here in the US.

    Based on your last comment " Not quite comparable to a 997TT - which makes the choice between these two cars the more difficult" it appears you will be buying a 997TT. Here again in the US choosing a 997TT over a 599 is almost unheard of. Totally two different class of cars as far as Americans are concerned.

    Re: My impressions of the 599GTB

    Quote:
    nberry said:
    Excellent report!

    I am amazed you were alolowed to drive the 599 for 5 hours and put 600km on it. That would be unheard here in the US.

    Based on your last comment " Not quite comparable to a 997TT - which makes the choice between these two cars the more difficult" it appears you will be buying a 997TT. Here again in the US choosing a 997TT over a 599 is almost unheard of. Totally two different class of cars as far as Americans are concerned.



    Your last conclusion is not 100% correct

    The statement just means that the 997TT is also a very, very good car

    Re: My impressions of the 599GTB

    Quote:
    MKSGR said:
    Quote:
    nberry said:
    Excellent report!

    I am amazed you were alolowed to drive the 599 for 5 hours and put 600km on it. That would be unheard here in the US.

    Based on your last comment " Not quite comparable to a 997TT - which makes the choice between these two cars the more difficult" it appears you will be buying a 997TT. Here again in the US choosing a 997TT over a 599 is almost unheard of. Totally two different class of cars as far as Americans are concerned.



    Your last conclusion is not 100% correct

    The statement just means that the 997TT is also a very, very good car



    In the U.S. is the key.
    The 599 is at another level... very rare, even in Beverly Hills.

    On a side note... saw a yellow Enzo parked in front of the Ivy (B.H.) this past weekend. Beautiful car with a bit TOO much presence.

    Re: My impressions of the 599GTB

    Thx for superb write-up, MKSGR

    Based on your drives to-date, would you prefer the steering precision/feel and brake pedal feel of 997TT PCCB over 599 CCM?

    Any subjective sense of 599 being noticeably quicker/instantaneous vs 997TT in 100-200KPH bursts (from lethargic 100KPH cruise in a high gear)? Any chance to informally time 599's 100-200 and 200-300 accels?

    Must admit that I gained new appreciation for 997TT's outstanding traction as it rained for first time in 6mos in SF yest ....a 65-only daily commuter fleet would be a hassle/safety risk for rain driving....and I'd be curious to see how well the lower tq of 599 (and F's stab ctrls/CCM) work in rainy conds, esp vs 997TT (and CL63 in a few mths)....

    Also, are there F-spec'd winter wheels/tires that are compatible w/CCM-equipped 599s?

    Re: My impressions of the 599GTB

    Quote:
    VKSF said:
    a 65-only daily commuter fleet would be a hassle/safety risk for rain driving....



    Have you thought of buying an A8 for a rainy day?

    Re: My impressions of the 599GTB

    Quote:
    MAVERICK said:
    Quote:
    VKSF said:
    a 65-only daily commuter fleet would be a hassle/safety risk for rain driving....



    Have you thought of buying an A8 for a rainy day?



    Excellent piece of advice I love my A8 so much - it is even a pleasure to drive this car immediatly after test drives of jewels like the 599, 997 or Gallardo.

    The W12 with SWB is - based on my experiences - the best car in the sedan class. S600/S65 might be stronger. However, they lack AWD and also that unique feel of a sporty sedan the A8 extrudes. Believe me, the A8 W12 SWB is a true masterpiece

    Re: My impressions of the 599GTB

    Quote:
    VKSF said:
    Thx for superb write-up, MKSGR

    Based on your drives to-date, would you prefer the steering precision/feel and brake pedal feel of 997TT PCCB over 599 CCM?

    Any subjective sense of 599 being noticeably quicker/instantaneous vs 997TT in 100-200KPH bursts (from lethargic 100KPH cruise in a high gear)? Any chance to informally time 599's 100-200 and 200-300 accels?

    Must admit that I gained new appreciation for 997TT's outstanding traction as it rained for first time in 6mos in SF yest ....a 65-only daily commuter fleet would be a hassle/safety risk for rain driving....and I'd be curious to see how well the lower tq of 599 (and F's stab ctrls/CCM) work in rainy conds, esp vs 997TT (and CL63 in a few mths)....

    Also, are there F-spec'd winter wheels/tires that are compatible w/CCM-equipped 599s?



    The steering feel in both cars is excellent (and on par). What I do like is the progressive steering technology of the 997TT. If possible I would order this technology for the 599.

    Also, I do like the brake feel of the 997TT PCCB more than that of the 599. However, this statement refers to the initial slack of the 599 brake pedal only. The rest of the 599 brake is perfect (i.e. on par with 997TT PCCB).

    I was very surprised that the car does not "feel" much faster than the 997TT. I had the chance to verify the 100-200kph time (which is indeed around 7.5s, i.e. 0-200 ca. 11s). Between 200 and real 275kph it gains another 2-3s on cars like the 997TT and Gallardo 520. I did not go to higher speeds as the car was so new and I did not want to use high revs for longer periods of time (the traffic was quite heavy as well...).

    In total, I would expect that (compared to 500hp competitors) the car gains 1-2 seconds up to 200kph, another 2-3s between 200 and 275kph and another 5-6s between 275 and 300. Maybe I have the chance to review those figures after the test car has been broken in properly (>5000km).

    Regarding rainy wheather: the 599 is absolutely capable of handling rainy wheather conditions. However, if it rains the 997TT is the superior car by far. No doubt.

    Unfortunately, I do not know about your last point regading winter tires... I am planning to put the car into my garage over the months of winter.


    Re: My impressions of the 599GTB

    Great experience MKSGR !!

    Great write up for the impressions!!

    It is a great car...

    Re: My impressions of the 599GTB

    Quote:
    MAVERICK said:
    Quote:
    VKSF said:
    a 65-only daily commuter fleet would be a hassle/safety risk for rain driving....



    Have you thought of buying an A8 for a rainy day?



    Actually, have a 997TT Tip PCCB for rainy days....and it's outstanding.

    Drove a loaner A8 for 1 day from my P dealer when my prior 996TTS was in for svc....and found A8 to be utterly scary on dry roads at normal, legal speed lims....awful steering, brake pedal feel, chassis balance (even in straight-line fwy maneuvers), etc....so I suspect 997TT Tip PCCB offers much greater active safety than an A8 offers dry/wet...

    Re: My impressions of the 599GTB

    Quote:
    MKSGR said:
    Quote:
    VKSF said:
    Thx for superb write-up, MKSGR

    Based on your drives to-date, would you prefer the steering precision/feel and brake pedal feel of 997TT PCCB over 599 CCM?

    Any subjective sense of 599 being noticeably quicker/instantaneous vs 997TT in 100-200KPH bursts (from lethargic 100KPH cruise in a high gear)? Any chance to informally time 599's 100-200 and 200-300 accels?

    Must admit that I gained new appreciation for 997TT's outstanding traction as it rained for first time in 6mos in SF yest ....a 65-only daily commuter fleet would be a hassle/safety risk for rain driving....and I'd be curious to see how well the lower tq of 599 (and F's stab ctrls/CCM) work in rainy conds, esp vs 997TT (and CL63 in a few mths)....

    Also, are there F-spec'd winter wheels/tires that are compatible w/CCM-equipped 599s?



    The steering feel in both cars is excellent (and on par). What I do like is the progressive steering technology of the 997TT. If possible I would order this technology for the 599.

    Also, I do like the brake feel of the 997TT PCCB more than that of the 599. However, this statement refers to the initial slack of the 599 brake pedal only. The rest of the 599 brake is perfect (i.e. on par with 997TT PCCB).

    I was very surprised that the car does not "feel" much faster than the 997TT. I had the chance to verify the 100-200kph time (which is indeed around 7.5s, i.e. 0-200 ca. 11s). Between 200 and real 275kph it gains another 2-3s on cars like the 997TT and Gallardo 520. I did not go to higher speeds as the car was so new and I did not want to use high revs for longer periods of time (the traffic was quite heavy as well...).

    In total, I would expect that (compared to 500hp competitors) the car gains 1-2 seconds up to 200kph, another 2-3s between 200 and 275kph and another 5-6s between 275 and 300. Maybe I have the chance to review those figures after the test car has been broken in properly (>5000km).

    Regarding rainy wheather: the 599 is absolutely capable of handling rainy wheather conditions. However, if it rains the 997TT is the superior car by far. No doubt.

    Unfortunately, I do not know about your last point regading winter tires... I am planning to put the car into my garage over the months of winter.





    Very helpful insights

    As seemingly divergent as 599/65/997TT are, know 4-5 guys getting early 599s (by end of '06) in US who already own '07 S/SL65 and 997TT Tip PCCB (and will get CL63 in Spr07)....and preliminarily view each of these cars as largely convergent/interchangeable in many daily and wkend uses....will be fun to see what the views are after a few K mis on each of these great cars in varying conds....

    I raise the tires issue as I've recently heard '07 S65 production has fallen short of US demand as MB has had shortages of 20" perf tires (std on S65)....and pals in Greenwich/Lond who have looked into winter tires (for dry, cold winter days) seem to sense that factory-spec winter tires compatible w/either CCM/S65's large brakes are likely difficult to find/unavailable.....so 997TT becomes the winter commuter car of necessity in ex-CA locales....

    Re: My impressions of the 599GTB

    Thanks MKSGR for your impressions, it was a superb write-up . A tuned 997TT is sounding like a viable option.

     
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