Although I’ve reviewed virtually every modern Ferrari model, I haven’t touched the 599 GTB. There’s a reason for that: I’ve been holding out, waiting for someone to offer me the chance to review the high-performance version, which is called the 599 GTO. It finally happened when I was offered the GTO by CNC Motors, an exotic car dealership in Upland, California that seems to have everything.
If you’re wondering why I was so insistent on getting the GTO, here’s the deal: The regular 599 GTB had 610 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque, a 0-to-60 mph time of 3.3 seconds and a top speed of 205 mph. The GTO, on the other hand, brought the power up to 660 hp and the torque up to 460 lb-ft, which of course came with a faster 0-to-60 time and an increase in top speed. Ferrari also made just 599 units of the 599 GTO, with only 125 coming to America. It’s an ultra-rare, special Ferrari.
And so, I was thrilled to have the chance to get behind the wheel. And what I learned is that I absolutely love the 599 GTO, and I really think it deserves the hype and the massive values, which have been insanely inflated in recent years as people search for ultra-rare Ferrari models.
There are a few reasons why I think the 599 GTO is so amazingly cool. One of them is performance: It’s fast, and not just fast, but really fast — scary fast. And it’s fast in a fun way. While modern cars make fast seem so easy, the 599 GTO is incredibly thrilling, with amazing sound that really lets you know the car is working. You also have the F1 automatic transmission, which is pretty much the finest evolution of the unit. While I generally hate sequential manual transmissions, this one adds to the fun. It doesn’t slow the rate of acceleration that dramatically, but by cutting power during a shift, it really jolts you back into your seat — and it does so quickly enough that it doesn’t feel like a learner driver trying manual for the first time, as many systems do.
The 599 GTO is also amazing when it comes to turning. The steering precision is incredible for a front-engine car — its one of the best I’ve driven, even though it’s been seven or eight years since this car was on sale. The GTO’s successors, the F12 and the 812 Superfast, are also incredibly precise, but they seem more buttoned-up, more mellow … more rational, believe it or not. The 599 GTO is a bit more raw and thrilling, as you’d expect from an Italian supercar.
Unfortunately, as exciting as the 599 GTO is, the pricing is truly prohibitive. Because it’s a special, low-production Ferrari model, values are through the roof insane, to the point where no rational human can ever afford one. Half a million dollars probably wouldn’t be enough to get you a 599 GTO, and that’s if you can track one down. A regular 599 GTB is 90 percent of the fun for 20 percent of the money, so that’s what you ought to get instead, if you’re in the market. But the GTO extends the GTB’s limits in a wonderful way — and I’m thrilled I had the chance to drive one. Find a Ferrari 599 GTO for sale