I took my wife for a 300km F 50 drive today and we enjoyed sunny hot weather on our trip over 2 passes in Switzerland. When returning home 2 hours ago, I realized that I have driven my F50 since purchasing it, now for over 3'000 km's. By now I have become probably a little more competent to report about the type, apart from the initial and still remaining euphoria. But again, of course, the written lines below represent only my 2 modest cents.
The drive over the passes once again "cemented" my understanding that the road holding qualities, (build up by the push rod suspension setup, carbon tube technology and directly mounted steel engine block) are as perfect as it may get for a normal street usable sports car (without any electric aids or ABS on board). There is no recognizable body roll, no question how hard you throw the car around the hairpins of a pass road. And the F50 is light, very light.
The steering (wheel) is clear, sharp and direct to the point you hold it. The gear stick is short, quick and exact and feels well ergonomically for me in my hands. Pedals are perfect, 2 pedals work on downshifting works very well.
The car is a rocket when treated between 5' and 8' rpm's. My wife could not stand it more than twice, after that (only on today's tour, her first as a co driver for a longer trip) I had to cut down in a major way to not risk having her lawyer at my door
. She used to sit in the F40 as well. Difference is that after blasting with the F40 nearing a curve you brake harder as the curve speed in the F40 is much lower than with the F50. With the F50 you approach any corner faster with much more secureness (thats maybe dangerous).
Brakes are from '95....that said, they are o.k. but not nearly comparible to todays Scud's and 458 CC brakes.
Since purchasing the F50, I drove it only with open top and this let me realize 2 relatively minor downsides of this car:
Firstly, when bright summer light is entering the whole cabin, the gauges-LCD display is hardly readable.
Secondly, the (MID-) engine air flows up and out of the engine bay thru the (Perspex?) plastic grill in the back behind the seats. The airturbulences channel the warm/hot engine air directly back into the open cabin area (when driving with open top). Well in winter, spring and autum, that is fantastic as you do not need any heater, even at temperature around 5-10 degrees. However on a day like today's almost 30 degrees celsius, the really good working air conditioning is hardly able to "counter-cool" that open turbulence hot air fact. For me, that was never a problem as I like to drive in a bed of hot air. However thanks to my lovely wife, which had experienced many "convertible" cars in the past said that she felt that the "real" convertible feeling was a little muted because of that and also because of the fact, that the more modern cars (because of safety reasons?) tend to have a "bulk" shape behind the passengers head which does not translates to the convertible "feeling" of the old 50/60/70 cars. (Is she a 275 GTS candidate?
Apart from the "listening" too often to F50's internals and trying to find some "unknown" noises and the fact that the air conditioner lost probably 10 drops of water while running on max. power for 3 hours in a row (the drops dropped on my wifes naked passenger legs in the cabin, otherwise we would probably not have found out) the car runs and behaves beautifully.
For the 3'000km's I hardly used half a littre of oil, however the gazoline consumption does not look that optimistic. The F50 is a dirsty beast when driven hard, much more than i.e. the F40.
The car was in service for an oil change, and check of everything and the change for all 4 tyres. The tyres are a very important part of the roadholding equation of this car and I strongly recommend to drive it on soft, new tyres to find out about the potential of this beautiful machine.
Finally, driving the F50 is more tyring than i.e. the F40 and of course "D". "D" with its front engine layout (as the 456/550/575/599/F12 (I guess)) really stays as my continent crossing machine. However continent crossing is/would be no problem at all with the F50...but with the right co-passenger !