The '07 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano unveiled at the Geneva auto show has a top speed of 205 mph (330 km/h) and sprints from a standstill to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 3.7 seconds.
So imagine how pleased the product and engineering ranks are at beleagueredCorp. Its Energy and Chassis division makes the MagneRide variable damper technology that was chosen to give the 599 GTB its razor-sharp handling.
The 599 GTB replaces Ferrari's vaunted 575 Maranello. Its 6L powerplant generates 611 hp, making it the second-most powerful V-12 ever installed in a Ferrari production car, behind the Enzo. GTB stands for Gran Turismo Berlinetta.
At Geneva, Ferrari recognizes's contribution to the 599 GTB, as well as Alcoa Inc., which is indelibly linked to the handling characteristics of the car as supplier of the all-aluminium spaceframe.
Ferrari and Alcoa began their partnership in 1994. Alcoa says it has worked with Ferrari on a series of spaceframes, beginning with the 360 Modena and currently encompassing the F430 and 612 Scaglietti.
Delphi's sophisticated MagneRide suspension control system debuted in 2002 in the Cadillac Seville. Until the Ferrari contract, MagneRide was exclusive to GM vehicles.
Delphi says about 50,000 vehicles are equipped with the system in the U.S. today, and five additional vehicles will use it by 2007 (see WAW — Oct. '05, p.23).
The technology is expensive because it uses monotube dampers filled with proprietary magneto-rheological (MR) fluid. The system applies an electronically controlled magnetic charge to metallic particles in the fluid based on road conditions and driver inputs to provide an infinitely variable array of damping force.
The system, which Delphi describes as “semi-active” suspension control, responds with lightning speed, improving transient handling for both turn-in and yaw stability. Delphi says 599 GTB drivers also will experience more precise steering feel and control of the vehicle, even at top speeds.
The supplier admits MagneRide dampers are “scores of magnitude” more expensive than conventional passive dampers.
Price has been a barrier that has dissuaded other customers. But MagneRide fits well with Ferrari's price-is-no-object market cachet. Pricing for the 599 GTB has not been announced. Sales of the car start in Europe in June and in the U.S. in fall.
The auto maker will call the system Magnetorheological Suspension Control (SCM) and says the system has never before been used on a high-performance sports car (although the less exotic Chevrolet Corvette and Cadillac XLR offer the technology, too).
MagneRide dampers will be placed at all four corners of the 599 GTB. Ferrari says the system's instantaneous reaction time translates into outstanding body control, which, in turn, directly improves handling and road-holding, thanks to optimal tire grip, regardless of road conditions.
“The result is a much safer and more enjoyable driving experience, courtesy of reduced roll and greater control when accelerating, braking and cornering,” the auto maker says.
Delphi is ramping up MagneRide production at its Krosno, Poland, damper plant to serve Ferrari, as well as other new European customers yet to be announced.
Darin Dellinger, MagneRide marketing manager for Delphi, says the supplier hopes to win additional MagneRide business with Ferrari.
Surprisingly, for an auto maker famous for meticulously hand-building exotic cars in extremely low volumes, Ferrari is quite agile. “We've found that Ferrari's production cadence is faster than some of Delphi's other customers,” Dellinger says.
With the Ferrari contract, Delphi is hoping to win other new customers. “Delphi would like to prove that MagneRide is not a ‘GM only’ product, and that it is applicable to a wide range of vehicles,” Dellinger says.
In addition to MagneRide, Delphi says it also will supply the 599 GTB with the complete climate control and electrical/electronic systems.