Mike Stevens | Feb 10, 2009

Everyone loves hot models. There's just something coded deep into our genes which makes us irresistibly attracted to them. So what happens when you start off with something that's already pretty hot, and stoke the fires some more?

I'll let you know what it does in my case next month, during the Geneva Motor Show, when Ferrari introduces the 599 HGTE. The Handling Gran Turismo Evoluzione package for the 599 GTB offers a few small upgrades to what is already a pretty nice sports tourer.

The magneto-rheological suspension makes it soft when you're cruising and firm when you're cornering. The engine is Ferrari's, which means it is a work of art with enough power to light a small city and a note that will make grown men adjust their seating position. The interior has the inherent Italian flair that makes you wonder why everyone can't make cabins look so attractive.

So how do you improve it? Make the Ferrari bits even racier. For the interior, that means adding more carbon-fibre. Aside from the trim, the seats give way to carbon-fibre bucket replacements. The suspension will receive new springs and anti-sway bars, with the MagneRide shocks being recalibrated to suit the 20-inch wheels wrapped in performance tyres.

Of course, adjusting the car's handling means the F1-inspired Manettino chassis control system also requires some fiddling to make the most out of the new parts.

Ferrari 599 GTB

Above: The 'regular' Ferrari 599

While the HGTE is not meant to make any more power than the GTB it is based upon, with over 450kW and a 0-100 km/h time of 3.7 seconds, it will still be a jaw-dropper off the line.

Ferrari has said that the sound quality will be "altered", though. One can only assume that the active exhaust system is going to go from "loud" to "ear bleeding".

The HGTE will cost around AUD$37,000 more than the GTB. While that sounds like a lot for a handful of bolt-on modifications, when you look at the AUD$600,000 asking price for the base model, anyone who can afford to buy it won't even notice the difference.

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