The Ferrari 400 is one of the Italian automaker's ventures into the grand tourer category, produced from 1976 to 1989. Characterized by its distinctive design, front-mounted V12 engine, and the introduction of an automatic transmission, the Ferrari 400 remains an intriguing chapter in the storied history of the brand.
The Ferrari 400 was fitted with a 4.8-litre Colombo V12 engine, known for its smoothness and power. In its initial configuration, the engine produced 340 horsepower and 402 Newton-metres of torque, achieving a top speed of 240 km/h (150 mph) and a 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) time of around 7 seconds.
The engine sat at the front of the car, a configuration synonymous with grand tourers, which are designed to comfortably cover long distances at high speeds. The power was sent to the rear wheels either through a 5-speed manual gearbox or, for the first time in Ferrari's history, a 3-speed automatic transmission.
The 400's design was a step away from the aggressive, angular shapes common in the '70s. Instead, Ferrari opted for a more stately, elegant look, with a long, sweeping bonnet, a low, wide stance, and pop-up headlights. Read more
One of the main features that set the 400 apart was the introduction of an optional General Motors-sourced 3-speed automatic transmission. This was a significant shift for Ferrari, making the 400 the brand's first model to offer such an option. The move was aimed at expanding Ferrari's appeal, particularly in the American market, where automatic transmissions were more popular.
Over the 13 years of its production run, the 400, and its upgraded model, the 400i, and the 412, sold around 2,900 units. The relatively high sales numbers (by Ferrari standards) can be attributed to its broader appeal compared to its more sports-oriented siblings.
The legacy of the Ferrari 400 is somewhat mixed. On the one hand, it is praised for its luxurious ride, comfort, and ease of driving, particularly the automatic versions. On the other, it faced criticism from purists who argued that the automatic transmission diluted the Ferrari driving experience.
However, the Ferrari 400 series marked a significant turning point in Ferrari's history. The model was a bold attempt by the Italian automaker to blend its racing heritage with the comfort and convenience of a grand tourer. The 400 series laid the groundwork for future four-seater Ferraris and the brand's later foray into the GT category. Today, the 400 series remains an integral part of Ferrari's legacy as the brand continues to produce high-performance, luxurious grand tourers.