Driving the Enzo:
Ferrari's flagship struts its stuff
Is it really worth a
million dollars? Nika finds out with Canada's first
SPECIAL TO THE STAR
wasn't going to be your average Sunday drive.
It's not every day you get to tour the back roads of
Ontario in the flagship of the prancing horse - the
ultra-exclusive and ultra-expensive Ferrari Enzo.
Even if you have the $1 million needed to buy one (which
makes it the most costly production car currently
available), you have to qualify for the right to do so:
there will only be 399 manufactured and Ferrari wants to
be assured that you won't turn around and sell it for a
As a potential buyer, you must have owned Ferraris
before and you must have not crashed any of them. Nobody
in Maranello wants to see their Enzo in a ditch.
Even so, there are a handful of Enzos coming to Toronto
buyers - and I had an invitation to drive one of the
first of them.
It meant missing a broadcast of a Formula One race, but
I'm sure my friends understood, for the Enzo is the
closest thing to a Formula One race car on the road
It's a radical design that you either love or hate, and
is intended as a tribute to the company's founder, Enzo
And now it's my turn to drive it.
It's different, right from the start. Flipping up the
Lamborghini-style scissor doors, it's a long way down to
the Enzo's leather seat. I find it a near-perfect fit,
allowing for a comfortable driving position with all the
controls within easy reach.
The turn signal indicator is a button on each side of
the steering wheel - press once to activate your signal
and again to turn it off. This would be hard to get used
turn of the key and a push of the large red starter
button and the 660 hp, V12 engine comes to life with a
characteristic Ferrari growl. It's rather quiet at low
revs, but builds with a press of the pedal to a more
highly-pitched Formula One sound.
I'm too timid to set the transmission to "Race" mode,
which quickens the shifts, but find first gear with the
paddle shifter and accelerate gingerly.
Shifting is more precise and without the lag of
Ferrari's earlier paddles, such as on the 355. The Enzo
switches gears easily at both high and low rpm with
incredible pickup, while blinking lights on the steering
wheel flash in sequence to let you know when to shift at
The speedometer quickly rises in a smooth sweep like the
hands of a clock that's running far too fast. From
standstill to 100 km/h takes less than four seconds, and
the pace of acceleration doesn't slow down until speeds
far beyond that.
At all speeds, the car feels vacuumed to the road,
thanks to twin diffusers front and rear that force air
up and increase the downforce without resorting to ugly
wings or fins. As well, a rear spoiler deploys at low
speed, while a pair of front flaps come out at higher
speed to push the car against the road.
The styling is both aerodynamic and purposeful, not to
mention about as low as a road car can be. Noisy,
inflatable air cushions will raise the front axle by 10
centimetres at the touch of a button in case of speed
bumps, although the car automatically drops down again
to cruising height once the speed reaches 30 km/h.
The suspension rides rough and stiff, and I want to
close my eyes and let the car drive itself.
There's no doubt the Enzo outperforms any car I've ever
driven. The 15-inch vented discs provide near-instant
stopping without the squeaking noise associated with
other "race version" models, such as the 355 Series F.
The huge Brembo carbon-ceramic rotors and specialized
brake pads give a firm pedal feel, while their compounds
are intended to minimize brake dust - technology taken
directly from Michael Schumacher's F1 car.
They're not always needed, though. Engine braking alone
slows this car real fast.
The specially designed Bridgestone Potenza RE050A
Scuderia tires have built-in pressure monitors, but if
they go flat, there's no room for a spare. In fact,
there's not much room for anything at all.
a bit of space inside the nose of the car for some
special fitted luggage and a tool kit, and behind the
seats are two hooks for hanging your suit bags. But if
you pack more than a toothbrush and socks, sorry - have
the chauffeur bring along the extra luggage in the
Bentley, and don't forget to tell him to bring the spare
tire, just in case.
And send him off with a big head start. The Enzo's 400
km/h speedometer isn't kidding.
At speed, it's surprisingly quiet in the Ferrari's
cockpit. There's no stereo, for the engine sound is
supposed to be music to the ears. The low drive height
means that every ping of a stone is heard against the
Despite the costly price tag, there are no car mats or
holders for coffee cups - those are for people who buy
Fiats, not Ferraris.
The windows are manually raised and lowered, with a knob
reminiscent of an Etch A Sketch (electric motors add
weight, you know).
Fortunately, the performance-focused Italian engineers
were not so cruel as to deny the Enzo air conditioning,
for the heat from the massive air intakes behind the
doors is a good 10 degrees hotter than the rest of the
slipstream. Driving with the windows up is recommended.
The biggest disappointment, by far, is the horn. The
musical two-tone that Ferraris are known for is now just
a monotonous General Motors honk.
I never needed to use it, fortunately, although the Enzo
attracts stares and comments wherever it goes, at
whatever speed. People gasp and point. Cars come to a
screeching halt for a close-up view.
Pulling back into the driveway and handing back the
shiny red key to its owner, now looking considerably
more relaxed with the engine quiet, I can accept that
this is an incredible, roadworthy race car. It's not an
underdressed street car, but a race car with amenities.
A toast to Enzo Ferrari, my hero, for no better salute
can be given to the master than this marvelous
automotive example of power, performance and beauty. Una
So who buys a million-dollar super car? Someone with
a wallet as big as the garage where the Enzo will
inevitably spend most of its time.
car means having a preferred customer card at Ferrari,
not just for the exclusivity of ownership but also for
the costly maintenance and (God forbid) any repairs that
The car comes with a basic
two-year warranty - one year less than Ferrari's 360
Modena gets and three years less than provided for
Chevy's Cavalier (a car that costs about 100th of the
Careful if you actually drive
A simple oil change for the Enzo will
run you $800 (no $30 Jiffy Lube specials for this baby)
and a complete brake job will be $100,000.
Yes, you read that right.
Add in the fact that
insurance on an Enzo comes in at approximately $24,000
per year and you begin to see why so many of them have
sadly been retired to be garage queens.