By MATT DAVIS
Ferrari’s first stab at updating the 10-year-old Pininfarina-designed 456 GT 2+2 is well on its way to a 2003 debut. Called the 460—or F137 internally—the new GT will show up at either Frankfurt or Tokyo late next year, depending on when Maserati wants the spotlight on its next Quattroporte.
The current 456 hasn’t been altered significantly since its launch in 1992 and is still considered a timeless GT design from Pininfarina. But what the car has always lacked is proper weight distribution for better handling as well as cabin space for the legs of the sad souls sitting in back. To solve both concerns in the 460, Ferrari moves the front cabin pillar back and the front wheel well forward while creating more rear overhang. Sources tell us that the wheelbase on the 460 is almost half a foot longer than on the 456 and that, though headroom in back is only marginally better, rear knee room is pleasantly improved.
The underlying platform of the 460 is made of aluminum as used on the 360 Modena, as opposed to the older steel frame on the 456. Thus the 3726-pound GT and 3898-pound GTA (automatic transmission version) should peel off at least 300 pounds each. The tubular aluminum structure is an added source of torsional rigidity.
Power, of course, has to increase to make sure the Bentley Continental GT doesn’t bring shame upon the house of Enzo. The new generation 65-degree V12 introduced in the 575 Maranello is also found here, yielding 500 horsepower vs. the 442 horsepower of the current car. Top speed will be 200 mph and acceleration from 0 to 60 mph will drop from the current 5.1 seconds in the GT to 4.3 seconds. Put another way, the Ferrari GT is finally a supercar.
Wheels will be standard 18-inchers as opposed to the 17-inch wheels of the 456, headlights take on the integrated look of the 360 and 575M, and there will be F1-style six-speed Cambiocorsa sequential shifting available. Sources go mum when the question of all-wheel drive comes up, but it is obviously a hot topic under consideration. Sales begin at the start of 2004 after the Detroit show and pricing is expected to come in at about $240,000.
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