So, what’s it really like to own a Ferrari in Singapore?

Cheryl Tay
Fit to Post Autos

Passionate about cars and motorsports, Cheryl Tay is a familiar face in prominent local, regional as well as international automotive titles. More of her at CherylTay.sg and on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (cheryltay11).

He has to fork out S$12,000 on insurance a year alone, takes his car out only at night and has to avoid steep slopes and certain shopping malls like the plague.

But Mr C, who is the proud owner of a Ferrari F430 Scuderia and prefers not to be named, wouldn't have it any other way.

Among other costly inconveniences, Mr C -- who is a business owner in his 30s -- spends about $200 once a week for a full tank of 98-octane fuel. He also spends about $4,000 a year on road tax and only goes to a trusted reputable Ferrari workshop for servicing.

However, what may surprise you is that he sends his costly million-dollar ride to the typical $7 car wash at the petrol station and has no qualms parking at HDB lots -- in fact, he said he's never encountered any problems with multi-storey car parks.

But he does chooses to drive his car "at night when the roads are clear" as there is "no point driving in the city because it's so inefficient to keep starting and stopping".

Steep slopes are also best avoided of course and he shuns certain malls like Wisma Atria which have "terrible" car parks.

"We bought these cars to drive them, not to display them. What's the point of having something and not enjoying it? I had to pay thousands to repair a kerb rash before, but that is part and parcel of owning a supercar. Don't complain; it's the price to pay for owning such expensive items," he said.

Despite his grouses though -- and he's not the only one -- it's hard not to fall in love with a Ferrari with its sexy curves and exhilarating drive.

Ferrari Owners' Club

Timothy Tan, who's in his 50s and is the president of the Ferrari Owners' Club Singapore (FOCS), said the lure of the prancing horse among those with spare cash can be very compelling.

“All three Ferraris of mine -- Testarossa, 360 Challenge Stradale, 612 Scaglietti – are daily drives. With new technological advances these days like the dual-clutch transmissions, these cars are easy to drive and very comfortable,” said Tan, who has owned 15 Ferraris in his lifetime.

Lest you think supercars are only for weekend drives, club treasurer Elaine Lim-Chan, also uses her cars for her daily commute and alternates between her Ferrari 458 Spider and McLaren MP4-12C.

“The 458 Spider is easy to drive, comfortable and has no blind spots. I drive it to malls like Takashimaya or Paragon, and I have no problems parking,” said the 43-year-old.

She added a big benefit of owning a Ferrari was the chance to be part of the FOCS,
which organises a meal and drive every month.

“We have about 250 members, of which 120 are active, and many friendships were forged, with some of us meeting up outside of the club. Ital Auto is very supportive of the club and first year of membership is complimentary. They also sponsor the official dinner events, as well as make sure we have security in place when we drive up in convoys to Malaysia.”

The closeness and strong sense of belonging with the club has led to people “buying a Ferrari just to be a member of the club,” she said.

Membership at FOCS is at $240 a year from the second year onwards and members are welcome to join the club activities. They also receive official FOCS apparel and merchandise.

My double Ferrari experience

I myself got the chance to test drive two prancing horses: the 458 Italia and the F12berlinetta.

As part of an event by The Luxury Network – a luxury affinity marketing, partnerships and events group – at local Ferrari authorised dealer Ital Auto, I took the cars out for 30 minutes each, with a staff seated by my side on both occasions.

I chose to take the F12 out first, the most powerful street-legal Ferrari when it was released, now exceeded by the La Ferrari.

The naturally-aspirated 6.3-litre V12 engine it houses is capable of delivering 730bhp (at 8,250rpm) and 690Nm of torque (at 6,000 rpm), enabling the F12 to accelerate from a standstill to 100km/h in 3.1 seconds.

Unfortunately the roads of Leng Kee and Alexandra were busy during my evening drive, so frustratingly, I could not let the car engine rip.

The F12 is sharp and powerful, stylishly mature and an exhilirating drive but it was nowhere as exciting as the 458.

The 458, on the other hand, is on another planet. Flamboyant, fashionable, you can feel its throaty, lusty power at the wheel. In short, it will blow your mind and steal your heart.

The one thing about Ferraris is that they never fail to make heads turn -- I noticed drivers in the other cars looking over and kids pointing at the car when I drove -- and the 458 is the kind of car that will make your head spin.

The 4.5-litre V8 sports car is not as powerful or fast as the F12 on paper – 562bhp (at 9,000rpm) and 540Nm (at 6,000rpm) – but the short test drive left me wanting.

Both the F12 and the 458 come with seven-speed dual-clutch semi-automated transmission operated via paddle shifts mounted on the steering wheel.

Most of the controls are on the steering wheel, including signal indicators, engine start-stop buttons, wiper controls, headlight controls and the Manettino dial for driver electronics; thus it's easy to operate the cars.

YEARNING FOR WIDE, OPEN ROADS

But one of the big frustrations of Ferrari owners is that the highest legal speed limit in Singapore is only 90km/h on the expressways, which is “only up to fourth gear in a Ferrari” said Tan.

That's why FOCS arranges drive-ups to Malaysia where the cars can be pushed to the pedal.

Mr C also drives in to Malaysia alone though -- not in a convoy -- making sure he "does not take stupid risks to anger others on the road and invite trouble", as well as "avoid quiet and small roads".

Then again, all these inconveniences are apparently just small sacrifices to make in exchange for a drive that takes your breath away each and every time.

"The only perk from driving a Ferrari is the individual happiness you derive from it. There's something special about Italian supercars that are different from the German ones. There's a lot more gusto, flavour and emotion in the drive," said Mr C.

As Tan sums up aptly, “Every drive is an occasion – that, in one line, is why you buy a Ferrari.”