Two of the most special Ferrari’s of the modern era. The 599 GTO and in some ways its successor the F12 tdf. Two V12 limited edition front-engine Ferrari’s and today we are going to compare both from the designs, sound, usability to performance and later on we’ll discuss the market, their positions in the market today, what might be the better buy and where they might end up in the future.
Let’s start with the history of the two cars. The 599 GTO was launched a decade ago in 2010 and most cars were registered in 2011 like this example we have for sale. The 599 is the third Ferrari to wear the famous GTO badge. Of course, the most famous and most valuable car of all time, the 250 GTO back from the 1960’s was the first car to wear the GTO badge. It’s still the most expensive car ever to be sold at auction costing an astonishing 48 million dollars. The second Ferrari to wear the GTO badge was the 288 GTO back in the 1980’s and that car was really the first of the halo Ferrari’s which the F40, F50, Enzo (F60) and LaFerrari have really followed on. GTO is a very important name and the 599 is more than worthy of that badge.
Officially, Ferrari produced 599 examples worldwide of the GTO. All of them were sold out before the car was even launched with Ferrari handpicking their VIP customers to get special cars like this. We believe they are 60 UK supplied right hand drive 599 GTO’s and today there’s probably a few more registered in the UK because a few left-hand drive cars got imported over the last five or six years. Overall, it’s still a very rare car.
The F12 tdf is the spiritual successor to a 1950’s Ferrari called the 250 GT Berlinetta Tour de France. This car won numerous races back in the 1950s called the Tour de France race but the F12 tdf is not allowed to use the Tour de France full name due to complications with a famous cycling race; but it does use the T. D. F. letters. The F12 tdf was launched back in 2015 but most cars were registered between 2016 and 2017. Ferrari produced 799 F12 tdf’s worldwide and like the 599 GTO, all 799 examples were sold to handpicked VIP Ferrari customers before the car was launched. Ferrari produced 200 more examples than the GTOs’ 599 examples and we believe there’s about 50 or 60 UK supplied cars proving that it’s still is a very rare car.
Let’s talk about the styling and design of the two cars. The 599 GTO’s platform was based on the 599 GTB which was Ferrari’s flagship car between 2007 and 2012. Ferrari say the 599 GTO is more of a road-legal version of their 599xx which was a track only extreme race car, but it doesn’t look drastically different from the GTB.
The 599 GTO has a lot more road presence and aggression than the standard 599 GTB. We love this big muscular bonnet, the four scoops to the lower front bumper where you see the big air intakes and Carbon Fibre front splitter. Our GTO has the optional Carbon Fibre headlight surrounds, 20” forged lightweight wheels and believe Ferrari used a similar style on the F12 Berlinetta.
The GTO features second generation Carbon Ceramic brakes which at the time of launch, was the first car to use them. They are lighter and overall contribute to the cars reduced weight as the 599 GTO weighs 100 kilograms less than the 599 GTB. On the front wheels, you will notice the metal discs which sit outside of the brake discs and Ferrari call these the wheel donuts. They are there to improve brake cooling and aerodynamics. Another feature we like on the 599 GTO is the wing mirrors with the dual spokes and this car has the Carbon Fibre side skirts. You will notice a lot of GTO’s come with the full sill in Carbon Fibre but we like the sleek look of the sill without the Carbon Fibre as well.
One of the most distinctive features on the 599 is the flying buttresses. This was initially a design idea from Pininfarina who styled the car to give it more flair. Ferrari only agreed to add these once they realised the aerodynamic benefits it added to the car. Following this, you will notice the contrast coloured roof, a 599 GTO signature. A lot of cars have matt painted roofs but this example has a ‘Nero Setoso’ painted roof which translates to ‘silky black’.
The design of the 599 GTO’s rear is very muscular, features the GTO badging, a raised spoiler and a big Carbon Fibre diffuser with twin tailpipes either side. This is a great looking car and it’s not drastically different from the 599 GTB. This beautiful colour is called Rosso Formula One 2007 which is an optional paint. Most cars have very traditional specs on the GTO with your Red, Black, Grey and White paints. Some cars do have a racing stripe on the bonnet but compared to the F12 tdf, most GTOs are more traditional.
Our F12 tdf is presented in the launch colour of ‘Giallo Triplo Strato’, which is a triple yellow layer paint. The tdf is a very distinctive car and a big leap forward from the F12 Berlinetta which had a subtle elegance. The tdf’s styling is just wild from the intricate details on the front bumper to the scoops all helping to channel air underneath the car and through to the air intakes. It just looks out of this world. Like the GTO, our tdf comes with the Carbon Fibre Headlight surround but the design is much more modern compared to the GTO. The car has big scoops in the bonnet helping with air flow and cooling but the most distinctive feature of the tdf are the Aero Bridges. Air is channelled through the aero bridge and is forced to the side of the car.
The tdf comes with 20” Forged Diamond Cut alloys with a two-tone finish. Behind those wheels you will immediately notice that the tdf has huge Carbon Ceramic brakes from the LaFerrari hypercar. The Carbon Fibre Side Skirts are much more pronounced and make the car look more aggressive ensuring that you are never going to confuse the F12 tdf with the Berlinetta. On the rear quarter window sill, the tdf features a distinctive aerodynamic rubber flic and on the rear wheel arches, you will notice a signature design cue of the F12 tdf which is the louvres. This is a nod to Ferrari’s past from the 250s. Above the louvres you will see the aluminium fuel cap which is beautifully made, presented and feels fantastic at the touch.
At the rear end of the car you have a much more pronounced spoiler which is bigger than the GTO, beautiful Carbon Fibre strip that goes along the whole rear of the car, Carbon Fibre surrounds for the exhausts and a big Carbon Fibre diffuser with an integrated fog lamp. This is a very high specced car with every option ticked. With the F12 tdf, you will see a much bigger variation of specs with some incredible colours and tailor-made examples which is a sign of recent times were personalisation has really become big business for Ferrari.
To some the interior of the 599 GTO may seem a little dated but we still think it’s brilliant and the condition of this car feels brand new. It’s a great place to sit with great lavishing’s of Alcantara and Carbon Fibre throughout and this very example has gloss Carbon Fibre interior trim whereas most GTOs tend to have satin Carbon Fibre interior trim. We like the gloss Carbon Fibre on this car which is on the steering wheel, inner sill trim, centre console and rear bench trim. It does have some traditional aspects like the physical manual pull-up handbrake. It’s one of the last Ferrari’s to use that as well as the traditional indicator stalks rather than indicator buttons on the steering wheel like the tdf. Finally, the GTO comes with big Carbon Fibre paddles and overall it feels very raw and special.
Even though the 599 GTO was really built for the road, it’s got a lot of track-oriented features starting with the Carbon Fibre racing seats and LED steering wheel that lights up at the optimum time to change gear (although now a common feature on more modern Ferrari’s). Furthermore, you get Four-Point Harnesses, optional Roll Cage, Fire Extinguisher and Ferrari Telemetry which is highlighted by the REC button on the centre console. This example has been specced out for the track if you do want to take it there. One of our favourite features on the 599 GTO is the Carbon Fibre Grab Handle which is for the passenger to hold on during spirited driving.
Look around the cabin and you will notice some special little touches in the GTO including the limited-edition badge on the centre console where it says “Limited 1 of 599 Worldwide”. On the right-hand side next to the steering column, there’s a badge displaying the amount of Formula 1 Constructors World Titles Ferrari have won and it says “31 Formula 1 World Titles”. Although this car has been stripped out and feels roar, they are still a few home comforts including the radio, navigation and Bose sound system. Ultimately, this car is equally adept on the road as it is on the track.
Step inside the tdf’s interior and immediately it’s a lot more sophisticated and refined than the GTO. The cabin has Alcantara everywhere and this example has a unique colour scheme of Charcoal Alcantara, Yellow stitching, Yellow piping, Yellow central seat stripe and satin Carbon Fibre throughout which is different to the gloss Carbon Fibre you get in the GTO. This satin Carbon Fibre is on the steering wheel, centre console, dashboard and this car comes with the optional Carbon Fibre rear bench trim. On the steering wheel there’s a lot more going on than the 599 GTO. For example, the steering wheel has as a Manettino switch, bumpy road mode button, indicator buttons and the LED’s to tell you when to shift at the top of the steering wheel like the GTO.
Although the 599 GTO has a lot more track friendly features, we think the F12 tdf is the easier car to live with because it’s got a lot more technology and convenience features. For starters, the car has the dual digital display in the instrument cluster which is a lot more intuitive than it was before. In addition, the car has Apple Carplay, Cameras and Suspension Lift. Another fantastic feature is the optional Passenger Display. This means the passenger can be involved and see driving stats such as the maximum speed and average speed, rev counter, distance travelled and travel time. The tdf’s cabin feels very driver focused and we love the centre console Carbon Fibre stalk with three buttons facing the driver. The car also has plenty of convenient options like the cup holder in the centre console and storage nets in the doors. It’s more refined, more modern and has come a long way since the GTO.
Now let’s move on to what the petrol heads might say is the most important part of these cars; the engines. On the 599 GTO you have a 6 litre naturally aspirated V12 engine producing 670 bhp. When it first came out it was the fastest Ferrari road car ever made, faster around the track than the Ferrari Enzo which was an impressive feat. The GTO has a top speed of 208 mph and does 0-62 mph in just 3.4 seconds which was very impressive for its time.
The tdf is a much newer car, a newer generation so there’s no surprise that it’s faster and more powerful. It has a 6.3L naturally aspirated V12 engine producing 770 bhp which is an incredible amount of power. Top speed is 211 mph and it does 0-62 mph in just 2.9 seconds which is half a second quicker than the GTO. However, the F12 tdf is not as quick around a track as the LaFerrari but the LaFerrari does have hybrid assistance. Let’s get behind the wheel of each car and see how they sound.
One of the first things you notice when you drive the 599 GTO is the unique characteristics of its single clutch gearbox. When you go up the gears, you feel each gear using the paddles and it’s not as bad as many single clutch gearboxes. We personally really enjoy the feel of each gear, it adds a bit of character, it’s more involving but we understand some people prefer the smooth seamless transitions of the dual clutch gearboxes. The GTO in very low gears can be slightly jerky but nowhere near as bad as we thought it would be. It still feels raw, aggressive and there’s plenty of power.
With the wet roads, we have selected ‘wet mode’ on the manettino switch meaning we can’t really explore the full potential of this car or go anywhere near it. It handles well, feels alive and this is a Ferrari; so it’s an amazing unique experience being behind the wheel of such a special car. We have to remember the 599 was a grand tourer and although the GTO has a lot of track orientations about it, it is still a road car so it does still feel civilised. It’s raw but you could use this everyday even though the harnesses might not be the most practical feature. This is really for high days, holidays and track days.
Out of the GTO and into the tdf and they are instant noticeable differences. Starting off with the power, it’s there for everyone to see and you literally have to just touch the throttle and the car just takes off. It’s an incredible amount of power and the dual clutch gearbox helps with its smooth seamless shifts that makes it feel more civilised and refined. Unfortunately, during this drive the roads are wet hence driving in wet mode. The car feels a little bit nervous and we are really having to concentrate. There’s so much traction and stability, the car is always working, it feels like it’s always trying to keep you on track. There is so much power, so it’s no surprise that Ferrari put a lot of electronic driver aids to keep the car pointing in the right direction. One of the big things they have changed on the F12 tdf over the GTO is the addition of rear wheel steering. This makes the car feel smaller and more agile with sharper handling whereas in contrast to the GTO, it feels like a big car. The tdf has more agility than the GTO.
We must remember that the tdf was based on the F12 Berlinetta, a grand tourer so it still has those grand tourer qualities. At low speeds if feels civilised and you could use it every day. The suspension is firm because it’s a race car built for the road but it still holds those grand touring qualities from the F12 Berlinetta.
Let’s discuss the market on these two very special cars. The GTO came out between 2010 and 2011 and the base price was £300,000 but with options most cars were closer to £350,000. When it first came out, a few cars sold for premiums, but they never really went anywhere in value. That was until about 2015 when the market started booming and literally within a blink of an eye, they were suddenly £500,000 then £600,000 and then imported left hand drive examples started to appear on the market because they were better value.
Following this, the F12 tdf came out and it dragged GTO’s up even further. In 2017 they were regularly selling for about £700,000. We remember some dealers asking over £800,000 for them but we don’t know if they ever sold. In the last 18 months, GTO’s have really come back down to reality with most right-hand drive cars on the market between £500,000 – £600,000. You might get a very low delivery mileage car closer to £700,000. GTO’s have very much assured their place in history and we believe that when the market recovers, they will go back up in value so it’s still a very good buy at today’s money. It’s also worth mentioning that they did a convertible version of the 599 GTO called the SA Aperta. This is one of the rarest Ferrari’s ever made especially being a modern car. Officially 80 cars worldwide were built with 8 of them being UK supplied cars. 599 SA Aperta’s sell for over a million pounds and they are one for the collectors.
The F12 tdf market has certainly been an interesting one. The car was launched back in 2015 and the original base price of the car was just shy of £340,000. They were lots of options to tick on this car and the most decent specced cars were going for just over £400,000. When it launched in 2016, the market was booming and the tdf was at its peak. Cars were fetching over £1,000,000 and we asked £995,000 for the first F12 tdf we had here at Romans International. They were selling for those figures back then but today the market is now where it was a few years ago so cars have probably dropped between £200,000 – £250,000 since then. They are still about double what they cost new proving to be a very good investment for the first owners. Not so much for the people that paid over a million pounds but overall this is still a very special car. Its really the last of the dying naturally aspirated V12 breed and they are not going to be around forever. We may see it one more time for the V12 in terms of the 812-lightweight version, but Ferrari are really going towards plug-in hybrids for the future. Something very important happened after the development of this car in that Ferrari became a public company. Some people would say they are now more interested in volume, building more cars, new models and more concerned with making money meaning they will be less limited numbered cars.
The fastest Ferrari which is coming out in the future is a plug-in hybrid called the SF90 Stradale. It’s not a limited numbered production car so maybe there’s something to be said for the last era of these kind of cars like the F12 tdf and 599 GTO. These will be very important cars in the future, one of the all-time great Ferraris and we think it could turn out to be a very good investment in the long term.
There you have it, the F12 tdf and the 599 GTO, two of the all-time great Ferraris. Which one is the better buy? That is a very difficult question. With the 599 GTO, you are going to save the best part of £250,000, it’s a rarer car, it’s got that famous GTO badge, it’s raw, feels more old-school but the tdf is just so intoxicating. It’s got a greater depth of talent, there’s a bit more about it and it’s got a more distinctive design. It’s very hard to split them and we think you need to buy both.
Check out the full video here on the Ferrari 599 GTO vs Ferrari F12 tdf – Driven, Reviewed & Compared:
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