The past few months have felt a bit strange for me. It honestly feels like yesterday that I waved goodbye to sixth form and said hello to university. Yet three years have flashed by and the majority of my friends are graduating and moving on to the real world. Deferring the inevitable, I’ll be doing a Masters in my engineering degree – this gives me an extra year of avoiding a 9-5 work routine, paying taxes and living for the weekend.
As you can imagine, the question of what everyone wants to do with their life (for the foreseeable future at least) has been posed many times over family meals and beers with the boys. I, like pretty much everyone else, have absolutely no clue, but what I can say with certainty is that I want just three things from it – marry a beautiful woman, own a dog and drive a Ferrari. I’d like to think that the first two are pretty realistic, so I keep the Ferrari in my top three for motivational purposes. Why a Ferrari over another supercar manufacturer? Well, the prancing horse logo has a peculiar hold on me. Ferrari are probably at the forefront of road car performance and style – I don’t think any other car company in the world combines the two quite so well. Nothing quite beats the sound of one either: Enzo Ferrari, the company’s founder, established an incredible pedigree in engine building, to the point where he almost disregarded the chassis when searching for more speed during their early years in F1. The soundtrack of one of their V12s, or even their V8s (including the new turbocharged variants), is vibrant, raw and head-turning. And does any other car on the road look good in red? No.
Times have changed, however, and Maranello now produces splendid chassis performance to partner their renowned powertrains. Last month they released the 812 Superfast, the replacement model for the F12, and it is packed with cutting-edge technology for the everyday driver to properly exploit the 789 bhp from its V12 naturally aspirated engine. Modern electronic power steering (a first for Ferrari) is coupled to an active rear steer system, adaptive dampers and passive underfloor aerodynamics, all working in unison to improve the car’s stability through the corners. As an engineering student, I look at all of these features and I nerd out a bit, but I can’t help feeling as though the development direction of road cars will mean that owning my dream car will one day be a hassle rather than a pleasure.
Put it this way: All new cars will be electric (or at least a hybrid) by 2020, certainly in Europe. And once we get to 2020 we could be looking at some completely autonomous vehicles hitting the road. So by the time I could even afford a Ferrari of my own (maybe), I imagine the tax bill on owning one of these outrageous petrol-burning machines will be pretty hefty. Still, the horse and cart isn’t dead and is still enjoyed by a few – here’s hoping for a similar situation in the years to come.