Most of the time, comparing a brand new sports car with an older one is just for fun and doesn’t actually prove anything. As times change, cars change, so there’s no sense in actually comparing cars with decades in between them. But it’s still fun so we’re going to take a look at an “Old vs New” comparison anyway.
Autocar just recently tested a brand new 2015 BMW M4 up against a 2006 Ferrari 612 Scaglietti. Why? Well, because they can and the two cars are about the same price. That’s right, for the same price as a brand new German sports car, you can have a V12-powered Italian thoroughbred. But would you actually want to? The Ferrari in question is almost a decade old but only has 18,000 miles on its odometer.
When brand new, the Scaglietti cost around $325,000, but depreciation is a fickle beast and reduces the Ferrari’s worth to a price in the same ballpark a six-cylinder sports car’s. So naturally, Autocar decided to find out if it was worth getting the older Italian supercar over the new German sports car.
The BMW M4 brings a 3.0 liter turbocharged inline-six engine and 425 hp to the fight, while the Ferrari 612 brings a 5.8 liter free-breathing V12 and 540 hp. While the Ferrari has 115 more horsepower than the BMW, it doesn’t make peak torque until 5,250 rpm, whereas the BMW hits its stride at 1,850 rpm. So the M4 launches much harder than the 612 allowing it to get from 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds, compared to the 612’s 4.4 seconds. BMW limits the M4’s top speed to just 155 mph, though, while Ferrari allows the 612 to reach its 196 mph top speed. So the M4 accelerates harder but runs out of breathe while the Ferrari can keep going.
For the rest of the car, it’s a similar story. The BMW M4 is the much more modern car and uses a more sophisticated dual-clutch transmission, more advanced electronically controlled dampers and a new-age rear differential. So it’s easier to drive fast and at the limit. The Ferrari 612 has two-stage adjustable dampers, but their of a much older breed, and it’s ancient F1-style single-clutch automated manual gearbox is nowhere near as smooth or as fast as BMW’s modern DCT. Even the steering in the M4 is electronically controlled and adjustable, whereas the Ferrari’s is old-school hydraulic and its weighting is fixed. Though, that is actually a plus for the Ferrari.
In terms of steering and handling, the Ferrari outshines the M4 in terms of feel and excitement. The BMW M4 is likely the faster car around the track, thanks to its clever electronics, brutal turbocharged torque and lightning fast DCT. But the Ferrari is the more enjoyable car to drive, where as the M4 feels a bit too digital, according to Autocar. It’s suspension, though only two-stage, is more compliant and stable than the BMW’s harsh and twitchy-feeling suspension and it’s steering has much better feel and is more enjoyable to use. The Ferrari is the more analog and more enjoyable car to drive. But the M4 is undoubtedly the more dynamic.
There’s definite reasoning to buy either car. The BMW M4 is more modern, the faster and better performing car, it’s more reliable and more livable everyday. The Ferrari is more exciting, the thrilling V12 engine note is worth the money in itself and it’s probably more fun to drive. But when it comes down to actually spending your money, the BMW M4 is the car to own. The Ferrari will cost an extra $10,000 in service every other year, and that’s just routine, not for anything that goes wrong (it’s a Ferrari, things will go wrong). The BMW M4 comes with one of the best warranties in the business, so you won’t need to sell a child to pay for repairs. It’s fun to make these comparisons and think about which you’d buy, but in reality the BMW is the clear choice. The Ferrari is tempting, though.