Ferrari's President Luca di Montezemolo and Michael Schumacher at the Paris Motor Show Ferrari stand, after the presentation of the most prestigious new release of the Show, the 550 maranello
The 550 maranello is Ferrari's new release to the motoring world in 1996.
This new front engined sports car, unveiled by its godfather Michael Schumacher at the Nürburgring in Germany, and commercially debuted at the Parisian event, has completed the renovation of the Ferrari product range.
Seven cars including different models and versions will be on show, three eight cylinder and four twelve cylinder. Chronologically the renovation has taken place in the following order. The 456 GT two plus two, V12, was delivered to its first owners between December 1993 and January 1994. Also launched in 1994, the F 355, V8 five valves per cylinder in the Berlinetta and GTS versions (with a detachable roof panel). Less than 10 months after this the F 355 Spider was unveiled with its electrically operated roof. Four months later, at the end of May 1995 the first orders for the Ferrari F 50 were taken, an authentic Formula 1 car for the road, derived from the same cockpit that Prost used in the one hundredth Grand Prix win for Ferrari.
That last two additions to the range that offer the world-wide Ferraristi a complete choice covering all their needs arrived in 1996 with the Automatic version of the 456 GT, the GTA and now the 550 maranello. This last Ferrari is a sports car for the end of the century. The objective given to the engineers who carried out the project was to design a car with more power than the 512 M (the last version of the Testarossa) guaranteeing for both the driver and the passenger more space, quietness, better visibility and all-round comfort. The engineers had to design all this without losing any of emotion that is so unique to every Ferrari.
The team's originality come from the fact that its engineers are men who are able to carry their experience from various sectors of the company. All these departments together have reached the brilliant result of the 550 achieving a lap of the Fiorano circuit 3 seconds faster than the 512 M. Searching for this experience is something that Ferrari is very particular about as they are the only manufacturer that simultaneously builds Formula 1 cars and Grand Touring cars for the road.
The 550 maranello is on sale in Europe, including left-hand drive as of today. Japan will follow in November and in the rest of the world along with the United States in the first months of 1997.
The first reactions from the marketplace about he 550 are extremely positive, these signs have been seen through the positive reactions from the Ferraristi who have shown a lot of interest in the 12 cylinders and high levels of power.