I've always wanted to have a go at the Ferrari 599 GTB ever since it was first announced at the beginning of 2006. Having sampled the 612 Scagliatti and the 512TR previously, it's not that I've not driven a 12-cylinder Prancing Horse, but there's just something about the 599 that makes me eager to want to get behind its wheel. Perhaps it's the way it looks or the opportunity to command the 599's Enzo-derived V12 heart with my right foot that entice me to want to have a go.
For four years, I've waited for the opportunity that never came. Then came the local debut of the 599 with Ferrari's HGTE kit. With the HGTE, I finally have an excuse to take a 599 out for a spin from Ferrari.
HGTE stands for Handling Gran Turismo Evoluzione and it is actually a kit that you can order with your new 599 or retrofit locally on an existing car for improved handling and drivability. When it was first launched four years ago, the 599 GTB was the most high performance berlinetta ever built in Maranello. It boasts the most innovative and technologically advanced features ever to be used by Ferrari in a mid-front-engined two-seater.
There were some cynics who said that the original 599 lacked the sharpness and responses of a true Ferrari berlinetta though. Ferrari listened to its enthusiast customers and hence the HGTE package was introduced at the Geneva Motorshow last year alongside the extreme 599XX.
Ferrari says that the HGTE package is designed to deliver even sportier, more dynamic driving, to highlight the 599 GTB Fiorano's positioning in the super car segment. Those who expect more power from the 599's V12 in the HGTE will be disappointed though - the upgrades are mostly to the car's handling set-up. Only the limited edition GTO has been endowed with a more powerful V12 that is pretty similar to the 599XX's.