As you might imagine, I get a lot of questions when I'm driving my Ferrari. "Hey, you, in the Ferrari!" people shout, for example. "Do you know there are flames shooting out from your engine?"
No, I'm just kidding. Despite all the jokes, I personally believe fire is a very unlikely event, largely because modern Ferraris are safe, reliable, well-engineered vehicles manufactured from the finest possible materials. Also, I carry around a fire extinguisher the size of a desktop fax machine.
No, the big question I've been getting lately is: Can you daily drive your Ferrari? In fact, I've received this question many times right here on Jalopnik, presumably from readers looking to trade up from an NA Miata with no muffler. But rather than answer it with a simple sentence ("Yes, if you have a big enough fire extinguisher"), I've decided to undertake a thorough examination of the issue using my patented journalistic style: wild exaggeration and libelous half-truths. Here goes:
I think we can all agree that excellent fuel economy is an important quality in a daily driver. So let's compare the Ferrari to, say, the Chrysler 200 V6, which is an outstanding vehicle for commuting from Point A to Point B, assuming that one of those points is the Enterprise lot at a major international airport.
If you're not well-versed in Chrysler's current lineup (and really, shame on you), the 200 V6 uses a 3.6-liter engine and a 6-speed transmission. It returns 19 miles per gallon city and 29 mpg highway in "EPA tests," which were presumably carried out by highly qualified Chrysler engineers until it got better numbers than a Camry. ("Quick! There's a tailwind! Measure it on the highway!")
The Ferrari, meanwhile, also uses a 3.6-liter engine and a 6-speed transmission, and it holds a 1,000-pound weight advantage over the Chrysler. So what kind of mileage does it get? 20? 30? FIFTY MILES PER GALLON?!
No. It gets eleven.
That's right: I'm getting 11 miles per gallon. Now, I'm aware this may sound bad, but there's a silver lining: since the Ferrari's fuel economy is so awful, it doesn't really fluctuate much based on how you drive it. So you're sort of encouraged to push it hard and rack up those fuel bills, which – if you're a writer and you're performing the noble, selfless task of informing the world what it's like to own a Ferrari – are definitely tax deductible business expenses.
But the Ferrari's real fuel problem isn't gas mileage. Instead, it's…
If you buy a Ferrari, you have to expect some attention. But it's more than you might think. In fact, it's probably a lot like being a celebrity: people are always looking at you, and smiling at you, and taking pictures of you, and presumably calling you an asshole the moment you're out of earshot. The difference is that when I'm done being a celebrity for the day, I can get back into my Nissan Cube, and no one will look at me except old white men hoping to see a cute Asian girl behind the wheel.
But you don't have that luxury when you're driving the Ferrari, so you have to be really careful about how you act. For example: you can't pick your nose in a Ferrari. You also can't text, or listen to loud music, or change lanes without signaling, or park even an inch into the spot next to you. Any of these things will be immediately photographed and posted on the Internet, where you will be called out for being "THAT ASSHOLE ON JALOPNIK WITH THE FERRARI," presumably by a guy who uploaded the picture while driving down the interstate.
But you get the most attention at gas stations. Because that's when they approach you.
Now, this wouldn't be so bad if the right people approached you. But they never do. What I've learned is that car guys – the nice ones who have a Focus ST and would love to discuss old Volvos – really keep their distance, because they're intimidated by you.This guy owns a Ferrari, they think. He would never talk to someone in a little hatchback.
So instead of car people coming up to you, you get guys with full beards in large pickups adorned with rebel flags, saying things like: "HOW MUCH'D THAT DERN THING CAWST?" Then you have to sit there and listen as they tell you about the time their uncle had an '87 Corvette until he drunkenly wrapped it around a telephone pole while racing "oneuh them Mopars."
The result is that I tend to spend gas stops playing around on Twitter, where you should definitely follow me because you'll see a lot of photos of the 360 at gas stations. "I'm getting gas!!" the captions all say, the subtext being that if I wasn't on my phone looking busy, two guys in a Firebird would be asking me why the engine is in the trunk.
In exotic cars of years past, visibility was a huge problem. Take the Lamborghini Countach, for example: the rear window was the size of an iPhone, and half of its view was blocked by that huge wing they installed on all the cars to remind everyone that it was the 1980s. So anytime you wanted to back up, you had to open the door and look around, which was really embarrassing because the door opened upwards. Basically, the whole production looked like you were raising your hand to tell passersby that yes, you own an expensive Italian sports car, but no, you cannot currently see out of it.
This isn't a problem in the 360. In fact, the 360 has excellent visibility to the front and the sides. The issue is in back.
Now, I want to be careful here to mention that there's no problem with seeing out of the back. You can do that just fine. The problem is that when you look in the mirror, or over your shoulder, there's the engine, in all of its beautiful, V8, red-trimmed Italian glory. It's wonderful, and exquisite, and spectacular, and before long you realize you've spent so much time staring at it that the light's green and your photo is about to be on the Internet as "THAT ASSHOLE ON JALOPNIK WITH THE FERRARI WHO DOESN'T PAY ATTENTION AT TRAFFIC LIGHTS."
I've now had my 360 for roughly a month, and in that time I've put roughly 900 miles on it. Never mind that 500 of these miles were on the drive home, and that I've only really taken the car out about a dozen times. I now consider myself an expert in Ferrari 360 ownership costs.
No, I'm just kidding. I actually have no idea how much it will cost to own, but I probably should've researched that beforehand, because I hear it could be expensive.
But it probably won't be as expensive as you might think. The 360 is considered one of the more reliable modern Ferraris, which I realize sounds a lot like hearing from your lawyer that you've been arrested for one of the lesser murder charges – but it still warrants mentioning. The guys on the forums say that an average 360 owner should expect to budget $1,000 to $3,000 every year for maintenance, plus $4,000 every four years for a major service, plus $25 per year for pepper spray to use when you get tired of people at gas stations asking if it's faster than the new Corvette.
So we've covered the big issues. But how practical is it day-to-day? What can you do with it? What can it carry? Fortunately, I've devised a video to answer these very questions. So sit back, relax, and ready your fire extinguishers.
@DougDeMuro is the author of Plays With Cars. He owned an E63 AMG wagon and once tried to evade police at the Tail of the Dragon using a pontoon boat. (It didn't work.) He worked as a manager for Porsche Cars North America before quitting to become a writer, largely because it meant he no longer had to wear pants. Also, he wrote this entire bio himself in the third person.