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Which V12 to buy? 550M vs 599 GTB vs 612

Discussion in 'Ferrari Discussion (not model specific)' started by peruchali, Jun 28, 2020.

  1. peruchali

    peruchali Rookie

    Jun 28, 2020
    2
    Full Name:
    Vik Dev
    Hi,
    I am a first time Ferrari buyer and want a V12. Very confused on which one to buy. The 550M, 599 GTB, and the 612 are all in a similar price range (with the 612 being the least expensive as of writing this post).

    I want this car for the fun of having a Ferrari and this is for purely the driving experience. The intent of getting this car is not to take grocery shopping and cruising around the neighborhood with friends or post it on facebook, but to take it on few of those glorious long road trips.

    I am in my early 30s, and where I am in life it would be good to not get a car whose value will sink like a stone, and something that would not spend most of its life at the mechanic.

    If someone is wondering about my driving experience: I have driven other Ferraris before for some reasonable period of time all rear engine V8s (F430, 458 Italia, 488 Spyder) and currently own a Boxster S manual transmission.

    I have test driven a 550M manual transmission (great experience) and have not had the pleasure of testing the others. I must say the 612s back seats do look like a great thing in a road trip (but how usable they are for an adult is hard to gauge, reading both opinions), and the 599 simply looks absolutely stunning.

    Am truly confused and am unable to decide. Am hoping the wise ones here can guide me :)

    Thank you in advance and stay safe!
     
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  2. greyboxer

    greyboxer F1 World Champ

    Dec 8, 2004
    10,792
    South East
    Full Name:
    Jimmie
    Welcome - read up on each in the specific model section

    The 599 is bigger and more brutal - the 612 has rear seats hence cheaper - the 550 is older and only manual (an F1 575 might then be an option)

    Your choice may be influenced by other factors such as the state of local roads and/or desirability of F1 transmission and/or even something as selfish as personal preference !
     
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  3. RedTaxi

    RedTaxi Formula 3
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    Mar 1, 2012
    1,696
    New Zealand
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    Glen
    The best one that wont sink like a stone is the 550 and you already like it, bonus!
     
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  4. Cobraownr

    Cobraownr Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed

    Feb 6, 2008
    851
    Edgewater, MD
    Full Name:
    Donald Silawsky
    First, the three models you mentioned have already seen most of their depreciation. There may be a little more, but you won't lose a ton on any of them unless the entire market tanks.

    I have owned a 2010 610 "OTO" for a couple of years. It is my seventh Ferrari. It is a true four seater. I did a 1,000+ mile drive with it last year from Maryland to Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix and often had people (including me) in the back seat, which is entirely comfortable for adults (I am 6'1"). A family of four in their 612 were also in the group. It is a wonderful grand tourer. Although it is quite quick, playing Hounds and Hares on back roads is not it metier.

    You might consider looking into the 612 "OTO". It is the last iteration of the 612 and was produced from mid-2008 into 2011. It has some significant (IMO) upgrades over the earlier 612 including an updated F1 transmission with much improved shift times, a manettino, and a terrific variable opacity fixed glass roof that really opens up the interior. There are only about 100 612 OTOs in the U.S. Finding a color you like may take time.

    If you want a three pedal car, then it's the 550 of the three models you mentioned unless you're willing to shell out much more money, as true manual examples of the 612 are quite rare and the 599 rarer still (if there are any at all).

    The 599 is the quickest of the three models. There is plenty of information about it on this site.

    Enjoy the hunt!
     
  5. Shark01

    Shark01 F1 Rookie

    Jun 25, 2005
    3,578
    I think this is the only one of the 3 to have collector value potential.

    Me personally would probably not buy a single clutch box (although have been tempted by a Scuderia) at this point.....so I would skip from a 550 to an F12.
     
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  6. MRY

    MRY Formula Junior

    May 14, 2015
    303
    Monterey Peninsula
    +1

    The 612 can be driven quite quickly on B road. However not its main forte even though being the most versatile and special of the 3 models.

    I also have a 612 OTO, and it’s quite easy to live with for a mythical creature.

    Thinking about a gated car as well now, so a 550 is on the list of considerations.

    A 599 is just a tame beast, and has the best most powerful engine of the lot.

    Good luck with whatever you decide, they are all fabulous


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  7. Cobraownr

    Cobraownr Formula Junior
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    Feb 6, 2008
    851
    Edgewater, MD
    Full Name:
    Donald Silawsky
    I don't disagree with either of these statements, especially skipping the 599 and going to an F12. The 599 is a beast. The F12 is a BEAST! But, it is in a different price range right now. In another year or two??

    However, I must say that my experience with the shifting in my 612 OTO is quite a bit more satisfactory than it was in my 575 Superamerica, the last iteration of the 575 Maranello. Both have single clutch paddle shift transmissions, but the box was upgraded in the 612 OTO from the earlier 612 model with the 599's dual plate clutch (not a dual clutch) and revised electronics to significantly reduce shift times. Although supposedly only in play at large throttle openings and high rpms, I found the revisions made shifting the 612 OTO at any rpm to be much quicker than it was in the Superamerica. It is not quite DCT (double clutch) quick, but it is close and entirely satisfactory to me. The 575 Superamerica was not.

    Regarding future value, that of course is a crap shoot. The 612 has "The Curse of a Ferrari Four Seater" hanging over it like a dark cloud. However, the rarity of the OTO (around 100 in the U.S.) with its unique specs might be a positive influence on value in years to come and separate it even more than it is now from the older 612 model.
     
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  8. paulchua

    paulchua Cat Herder
    Moderator Owner

    Jul 1, 2013
    7,763
    Menlo Park, CA
    Full Name:
    Paul Chua
    Welcome friend, what a great problem to have!

    Just a few things that will help narrow down the choice.
    1) Which car is the most 'beautiful' to your eye?
    2) Do you need a 6 speed?
    3) 2+2 a requirement? - the 612 back seats are pretty reasonable for short trips.

    Based on your background, I would argue for the 599, but in the end you need to test drive them yourself to 'truly' know.
     
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  9. rumen1

    rumen1 Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Jun 23, 2012
    1,154
    Bulgaria
    If I were you, I would opt for either a 599 or a manual 612. But that's just me.
     
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  10. LVP488

    LVP488 F1 Rookie

    Jan 21, 2017
    3,166
    France
    Apart from pricing, the intended use of the car is also important.
    I had a 599, and it's an incredible all-rounder - very comfortable for long distance cruising, but with its impressive power and occasionnally brutal robotised gearbox, it's also far from ridiculous (and very rewarding, due to its unconventional layout for such use) on a track.
    Today a 550 has the charm of the manual gearbox, but it's completely outdated in terms of performance; I just bought one (again ;) ) to complement my 488 but I would not choose one as a single Ferrari. But, again, it depends on the intended use - the 550 may be a more important car than the 599 in Ferrari's history, it's really a masterpiece (although more powerful, the 575 was not as resolved out of the box, and the introduction of the F1-gearbox made it a kind of transition car). The 599 is better as an all rounder (and massively more performing) but it's just another step in the cars evolution, it's objectively (far) better than a 550 on all metrics but it's not a history milestone.
     
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  11. vee12

    vee12 Karting
    Silver Subscribed

    Nov 2, 2008
    246
    Atlanta
    Full Name:
    Les
    As the owner of a 550, I really enjoy driving the car at a relaxed pace. While it's true that the 550 in out dated performance wise compared to the others (so is a 250SWB, 275GTB, Daytona, etc, etc), I don't find it lacking in charm or excitement...or in any way a "performance let down" in normal spirited driving. If you are looking to just haul ass around town, or a track day experience the 599 cannot be beaten from those 3 choices. However, I find myself enjoying the click-clack of the manual gear change, the wonderfully balanced chassis, and just enjoying the sounds and feel of the car at "reasonable speeds" around town. It's also a comfortable long distance GT for two with plenty of luggage space, large fuel capacity...and the A/C kicks ass. Nothing beats the connection one feels with the manual experience IMHO.
     
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  12. stan996turbo

    stan996turbo Formula Junior

    Jun 11, 2004
    471
    Philadelphia
    Full Name:
    Stan
    Of the 3 cars mentioned I only have experience with the 550 I’ve owned for 16 years. I agree that the performance will not compare with the 599 but it’s by know means lacking. I’ve had mine on the track several times and it handles whatever you through at the engagement and poise. Nowadays speed and handling are no longer a special commodity that costs a lot of money, but the charm of the 550 is priceless, I’m never selling mine and I’ve been offered more than I originally paid for the car. That said I also have a 430(my overall favorite V8 Ferrari) and a Mac 675. The 550 is a masterpiece but finding a good one may prove difficult because the people that recognize how special they are won’t sell them. The 550 also hit a low price years ago that put some cars in the hands of people who couldn’t or wouldn’t service them properly. Good luck.
     
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  13. Caphill

    Caphill Karting

    Nov 9, 2016
    137
    This is exactly the decision point was at earlier this year. I have a manual 360, so having a manual v12 wasn't my top priority, though it was on my list. I was looking at 612s and 599s because I love the design of each of them, and because they can be converted to manual should I choose to do so(only early 612s can be converted). However, after using the car with the F1 transmission, I can't imagine replacing it. That transmission is just so good. It is also engaging in a way I didn't expect. The car is vastly more capable than I am, and the f1 isn't holding me back. I think a lot of folks watch youtube and think every F1 transmission is the same. They aren't.

    I have two complaints about the 599 that might be worth considering. The first is that I only like Sport and Race modes. I find the other modes dull. The second is that to really enjoy the noise I have to roll the windows down and break speed limits. Beyond those the car exceeds my expectations, and I thought I knew what I was getting into after several test drives prior to purchase.

    Good luck with your purchase.
     
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  14. zstyle

    zstyle Formula Junior
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    Jun 28, 2007
    349
    Fountain Hills
    Full Name:
    Jon
    From a service standpoint, the 550/575 cars were very reliable compared to their v8 era vehicles.

    The 550/575 is easier to service than the 612. 612 being a heavier car will eat clutches faster on F1 than the 575 F1.

    599 has the better service plan being a chain engine but still has its own unique challenges.

    550/575 is the first front engine V12 since the 365 gtb/gtc from the 70s. It will outpace the 599 in value over the long haul due to availability, 6spd, and first generation of v12.
     
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  15. vonbeeler

    vonbeeler Karting
    Rossa Subscribed

    Jul 28, 2012
    143
    Southern California
    Full Name:
    Mike
    I acquired a 599 HGTE several months ago and have added around 600 miles. I bought it to replace my 512TR and complement my 488.
    While I have no experience with a 612 or 550 I can tell you the 599 is a BEAST. To my eye the car is strikingly gorgeous and why I always lusted for one. The prices are very reasonable now. Of course the gated shifter will always be missed but there are other manual cars. This is my first F1 box and I’ve now learned that it is spectacular in a way of its own. Around town just feathering the throttle between shifts gives it a smooth shift. Under acceleration it gives a thrill that no double clutch can touch. It’s wow!
    My only dissatisfaction was the lack of sound but that was easily remedied with a sec cat delete test pipe. I’m super happy with it and it’s taken priority over the 488 for now. The wife prefers it and appreciates the comfort. So in case you’re wondering I say go for the 599:)


    Sent from my iPhone using FerrariChat
     
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  16. Cobraownr

    Cobraownr Formula Junior
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    Feb 6, 2008
    851
    Edgewater, MD
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    Donald Silawsky
    At 20,000 miles over nine years and four different owners, my 2010 612 OTO had 56 percent clutch. I don't know if that means there was 56 percent left, or 56 percent had disappeared so there was 44 percent left, but either way, I don't think there is anything to worry about regarding excessive clutch wear for the 612.
     
  17. Mikestradale

    Mikestradale Formula 3
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    Jan 25, 2006
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    #17 Mikestradale, Jun 30, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
    Well, the other modes are Ice/Snow and LowGrip/Rain, they’re supposed to be dull :)
     
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  18. Corsair66

    Corsair66 Formula Junior

    Mar 14, 2016
    335
    Clermont, FL
    Full Name:
    Ken
    I just went through a similar thought process. I sold my F430 last year and knew that I wanted a modern, front-engined V12 GT car for my next Ferrari, as I've always thought of that configuration as the quintessential expression of the marque. So, which one to get?

    My first thought was the 812, which is an incredible feat of engineering and the second quickest street car I've ever driven. "Beast" doesn't come close. However, a month or so after putting down a deposit, I realized that I just couldn't live with the depreciation, so I backed out of the deal. The F12 doesn't appeal to me, both from the looks perspective and its reputation as a handful to drive, as my wife (with zero training in performance driving) might find herself occasionally behind the wheel.

    Looking back to the preceding generations, I knew that four seats didn't appeal to me, so that easily eliminated the 612. The 550 is a great-looking car and a modern classic, but seems a bit dated to me now from the driver's experience perspective. The 599 looks fantastic to my eye and has the right combination of performance, long-haul comfort, and modern appointments.

    With respect to the transmission, I've driven manuals on both the street and track for over 35 years and, while I appreciate the direct mechanical joy of manipulating them, I haven't romanticized them for a long time. Akin to the tailwheel/nosewheel debate (any pilots amongst you know what I'm talking about), working a manual transmission is just another skill for the driver's toolbox, but not one which I long to exercise on a daily basis. I found the F430's F1 to be a very satisfactory gearbox and far more fun to drive than I'd anticipated. I'm absolutely fine with the notion of once again getting into an F1-equipped car.

    Ultimately, it was an easy choice and I'm having a PPI done on a 599 tomorrow. Fingers crossed for it to work out well.

    Ken
     
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  19. LVP488

    LVP488 F1 Rookie

    Jan 21, 2017
    3,166
    France
    Congrats, the 599 is truly awesome - it can also give many lighter cars a run for their money on a track, when adapting to the required driving style: like many front-engined cars (and although it's easier to work around than with the older 550 and 575), the 599 is spontaneously understeering. To counter that, one needs braking to put more weight on the steering wheels as long as the car is turning; the funny thing is that leads to braking very late (to the surprise of other drivers) because the braking will continue for a large part of the corner (there is no such thing as constant speed turning, it's on the brakes until it's possible to accelerate to exit the corner).
    As a single Ferrari the 599 is definitely a very good choice, the 550 is indeed outdated and should now be reserved for specific uses (it has specific appeals that just made me buy one again ;) )
     
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  20. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Apr 28, 2003
    43,530
    Texas!
    Just curious, what might those specific uses for a 550 be?
     
  21. LVP488

    LVP488 F1 Rookie

    Jan 21, 2017
    3,166
    France
    It will be used for relaxed trips without any tracking - sometimes mixing with older Ferrari.
     
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  22. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Apr 28, 2003
    43,530
    Texas!
    :)
     
  23. Caphill

    Caphill Karting

    Nov 9, 2016
    137
    There's also "immanent death mode". That one is right after RACE. :)
     
  24. arizonaitalian

    arizonaitalian F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Oct 29, 2010
    12,467
    Wyoming
    what a great thread. Newbie asks a good question. Very experienced owners chime in with detailed firsthand experiences. F-chat at its finest. Well done gents.
     
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  25. stan996turbo

    stan996turbo Formula Junior

    Jun 11, 2004
    471
    Philadelphia
    Full Name:
    Stan
    I can understand your thinking but I actually approach my 550 differently. As in my 430 I enjoy being able to explore it’s more modest levels on the street because of the fact that they’re not way over powered for that role. In a similar way, I took the 550 and my 675 to a McLaren track event and while the 675 is mesmerizing in every way(best car I’ve ever driven), I also realized at the speeds I was reaching the consequences of any mistake would be significant. On the other hand the 550 was equally engaging in a different way. The ability to move the car around because of its lower limits of adhesion to the track and the sensation of heel toe downshifting with the gated shifter and the magnificent 12 cylinders was magical. I think any purest should be on the lookout for a well cared for 550 to hold onto for the sake of connection to the past and probably for an investment as well.
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