The 2003 Ferrari 550 Maranello is an unusual model for the vaunted Italian sports car maker for a few different reasons. This GT type sports car is a return to the front mounted V-12 performance powerhouse design and is thus carrying on the tradition of past Ferraris like the 365 Daytona and 275 GT. But this Gran Turismo style is not just another Ferrari beast as it is the rare bird that also includes some luxury. Sporting interior features not usually found in top performing sports cars makes the 550 a Ferrari that will appease both performance enthusiasts and their passengers.
Body Styles: coupe
Engines: 5.5-liter V-12
Transmissions: six-speed manual
Models: Ferrari 550 Maranello
No changes or alterations have been made from the previous year’s model. ?If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,? seems to be the philosophy for this year’s model.
The 2003 Ferrari 550 Maranello is a two-seat coupe that only comes in one trim level and a really expensive sports car trim at that. The 550 Maranello offers exterior goods including dual stainless steel exhaust with chrome tailpipe finish, limited slip differential, front and rear anti-roll bar, rear spoiler, 18-inch alloy wheels, rear defogger, four-wheel independent suspension and power door mirrors.
The exterior of the 550 is especially interesting with a combination of the showy and muscular sports car stylization and some sedate yet classy features that make this an unusual Ferrari in appearance and goals. The hood scoop yells ?power? but the flowing, yet not too radical, lines have a classy and less brutal appearance. All in all an attractive and unique looking Ferrari.
The interior of the 550 goes well beyond what the rest of the models of Ferrari offer. Since this is a Ferrari that looks to have luxury as well as performance, the cabin is a real departure from past models produced by the Italian sports car maker. Features that are not often found in this make but are in the 550 include six-way power seats with adjustable lumbar support, leather upholstery, power locks, power windows, speed-proportional power steering, climate control, leather and alloy trim on the dash, shift knob and center console, a Sony audio system with am/fm and a trunk-mounted multiple cd player, leather trim on the steering wheel, tilt and telescoping power sport steering wheel, remote keyless entry, mechanical remote fuel flap release, remote trunk release and adjustable pedals.
The cabin of the 550 really is luxurious and comfortable. It seems more like the interior of a Mercedes-Benz than of a Ferrari. The 550 is outdone in the performance department by other models in the line-up, even less costly ones, but nothing else in the Ferrari stable matches the 550 for cabin opulence, making this the Ferrari that will impress performance enthusiasts and passengers that would like a comfortable and luxurious ride in said enthusiast’s sports car.
Performance & Handling
The front mounted, 5.5-liter, V-12 engine produces 485 horsepower. This amounts to 43 hp more than the V-12 used in the 456M GT that is of equal-displacement. A six-speed-manual gearbox is the only available transmission. The rear-wheel-drive 550 Maranello is promoted by Ferrari as ?one of the most powerful road-going GT cars Ferrari has ever produced.? The performance is impressive as one would expect, but the heavier weight resulting from the design and the addition of luxuries not typically found in a Ferrari do negatively impact the performance. Other less expensive Ferraris, like the 360 Modena offer more for less in terms of performance if that is the only concern.
The handling is better than most of what is on the road, but not a leader in this lofty class due to weight issues. The weight is rather evenly distributed but still has some negative impacts on the agility and athleticism of the 550. This is not Ferrari’s top performer, but it will out handle all but the best on the road and isn’t too much of a compromise of handling or performance for the sake of an unusual amount of luxury in a Ferrari.
The 550 Maranello comes with a solid set of safety equipment that includes all-wheel antilock brake system, remote anti-theft system, stability control, traction control, dual front impact airbags and electronic brakeforce distribution. Potential buyers with have to use maker reputation and the safety equipment list as a guide to how well the 550 Maranello protects occupants as neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS have conducted crash safety tests on this model of Ferrari.
EPA Fuel Economy
Ferrari 550 Maranello: 8/12 mpg city/highway
- Style, baby, style
- The V-12 in all its glory
- Luxurious interior
You Won't Like
- Hefty weight for a sports car
- Less costly models of Ferrari offer more performance
Old school Ferrari style with front mounted V-12 relives the glory days.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Acura NSX
- Porsche 911
- Dodge Viper
- BMW Z8
- Aston Martin DB7 Vantage