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Ferrari 612 grand tourer to challenge Bentley GT

Ferrari is mounting a major challenge to Bentley's new Continental GT with the launch of the 612 Scaglietti. Named after Italian coachbuilder Sergio Scaglietti, this 4.9-metre long two-plus-two grand tourer replaces the 456M GTA.

The six in 612 refers to the leap that's been made over the previous model while the 12 refers to the 12 cylinders under the bonnet.

Using an uprated version of the 575 – Maranello's 5.75-litre powerplant – the V12 engine has an output of 540bhp and develops 434lb-ft of torque. That means a 0-62mph time of 4.2 seconds, just beating the Bentley thanks to the lightweight aluminium chassis built in-house at Modena in northern Italy.

Fitted with a six-speed mechanical gearbox with the choice of manual and F1-style paddle shifts, the car has a top speed of 196mph. The Continental can reach 198mph.

Luggage capacity in the Ferrari is 240-litres – the Bentley boasts 370-litres. But where the Bentley really shines though is on price. With the current 456M GT costing £170,000 the 612S is expected to be shy of £200,000. The GT retails at £110,000.

First deliveries of the 612 Scaglietti in Europe are set for March next year, with right-hand drive models hitting the UK in mid-2004. Prices and specification will be confirmed closer to launch.

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