In Paris in 1992, Pininfarina presented a true Prancing Horse classic: a front-engined GT, driven by a traditional 12-cylinder engine and capable of exceptional performance. The Turin-based design house and coachbuilder fulfilled the task in admirable fashion by creating yet another simple and elegant shape, and adding yet another Ferrari of incomparable class and charm to an already extensive list. The “theme” of the 2+2 coupé reached its apotheosis in the 456 GT of 1992, after three years with no similarly configured V12 model in the Prancing Horse range.
Announced in September 1992, at the 40th anniversary of an important Belgian dealer, the 456 GT made its public debut in Paris the following month. The soft, rounded lines drawn by Pininfarina, as a modern reinterpretation of the unforgettable 365 GTB/4 “Daytona” with its long bonnet and retractable pop-up headlights, which then move up towards the passenger compartment, immediately received unanimous praise from the public and critics. The design of the tail and the cockpit also drew inspiration from the “Daytona” – the car’s shape is quite modern but contains classic elements referring to the history of the company. The motorised spoiler underneath the tail panel provides a special, almost imperceptible aerodynamic effect: its angle of incidence varies depending on the speed and acts on the downforce of the car.
As with all other models in the range, the car was designed from the outset for all world markets, with a specific version for the American market. However, while previous GT 2+2 models could come with an automatic transmission, the 456 GT was initially offered only with manual transmission. Another analogy with the Daytona is that the gearbox is mounted in a single unit with the differential and final drive: the well-known transaxle system.
The engine was completely new: the first 12-cylinder unit after the famous 12 “Boxer”, 20 years earlier. With a total capacity of 5,474 cc, the engine produces 442 hp at 6,200 r/min. The stylish leather finish interior came as standard and the electrically adjustable front seats automatically move forward to make access to the rear easier, where two adults can fit in adequate comfort. To fully utilise the boot space, the car came with a set of suitcases as standard.