1985 Ferrari Testarossa 5.0 Litre from North America


What ferraris should still be like..


Only maintenance Parts (Assuming perfect care)

General Comments:

As Enzo said before he died, "a real Ferrari has 12 cylinders and 2 seats"...the Testarossa is the "sleeper" choice of Ferrari connoisseurs since they can be purchased for under $100K and exhibit everything a Ferrari has traditionally embodied; with its Bosch K-jetronic and roomy engine bay, an owner can perform all, but the most complex operations himself; its Pininfarina styling is superior to ALL 2006 models and creates buzz, where newer models are confused with Toyotas and Nissans... anyone with the funds can buy a new Ferrari - it takes someone with taste to enjoy a Testarossa... and as for the lack of power steering?? any owner can tell you that you never start turning the wheel until it's rolling, and then it can be turned with one hand, but you have to own one to know this.

Thorn McDaniel, Coconut Grove, FL.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th June, 2006

1991 Ferrari Testarossa V12 5.0 Litre from UK and Ireland


Fabulous design and performance - an absolute classic, but over-priced at present


Heater/air conditioning fan would not switch off.

There are 2 engine management units - each one monitors 6 cylinders. Maintaining the 'equal balance' between the two to ensure correct fuel flow for smooth running, was a job that had to be done 3 times in 1 year.

General Comments:

A head-turning stunner - this was the largest road-going Ferrari made - a real big-boy's toy!

Acceleration and performance was absolutely phenomenal, and the car was as steady as a rock at all times.

The car can be driven at low speeds around town very easily - just use the gearbox as you would any other car - it's very docile and behaves nicely.

The design was magnificent - mine was Rosso/Crema (red with cream leather interior) which was the traditional Ferrari colours and the most popular.

Rearward vision is restricted unless you have the model with 2 exterior mirrors, (the early ones only had one exterior mirror which also made it look somewhat strange).

The lack of power steering in all Ferrari Testarossas makes the car very difficult to park or manoeuvre at low speeds.

Do not buy one if this is going to be your only car - the noise level inside is very high (forget the radio- you won't be able to hear it - ever!), and the lack of any sort of luggage space will soon get to you.

Brilliant as a second (week-end) car. Even washing and polishing it is an absolute delight.

Having had the car for nearly 3 years I have now got Ferrari's out of my system. Given the choice I would now go for something less aggressive, quieter, and more refined - such as an Aston Martin or Bentley, but it was great fun at the time.

If you can afford it - go for a post-1998 model - they had significant improvements, and even better: go for a Ferrari 512 - these were much more refined and had uprated styling.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 9th April, 2004

19th Jan 2006, 12:39

So what you can't hear the radio - with sound of this engine you will turn it off anyway to hear the real music, a symphony of 12.

23rd Feb 2007, 20:33

What beautiful music it is :)

20th May 2007, 08:04

The Testarossa looks like a big hairdryer.

5th Jul 2008, 16:21

And, oh, baby, what a hair dryer it is.

27th Jan 2011, 08:35

Each to their own, but why on earth would you want to listen to the radio whilst driving a flat 12 4.9 litre-engined Ferrari??? Traditional Ferrari body/interior is rosso corsa/black leather. I don't know where the cream interior came from.

29th Jun 2018, 16:57

Old but great review.

1988 Ferrari Testarossa 5.0 flat 12 petrol from UK and Ireland


80's icon which is ruinous to run, but a sheer joy to own


Usual Italian electrical glitches - a few blown bulbs, failed wiper relay, failed starter motor.

Clutch failed at 23,000 miles. This is a good life apparently (!)

Battery goes flat very quickly if the car is not used.

General Comments:

A childhood dream was realised in the Summer of 2001 when I collected my Testarossa from the dealership.

The surprising thing about driving the Testarossa is the sheer width of the thing. From behind the wheel, it feels quite intimidating on first acquaintance, and the heavy steering, and heavier gearbox and clutch are pure old-school supercar, and a real culture shock to those used to more modern machinery. It's a bit of a quirky car to drive in some ways too. For instance, you can't engage 2nd gear cleanly until the gearbox oil has warmed, and the electrics are temperamental to say the least. However as this is a toy, and not an everyday car, I see these things as a reminder that I'm driving something a bit special. Call it character.

On paper, the Testarossa isn't particularly quick by modern supercar standards, but one drive is enough to blow the figures out of the water. This is one seriously fast car. The big flat 12 has grunt virtually everywhere, although really comes alive in the upper half of the rev range. The back squats, and the car howls off towards the horizon with a force and noise that will make you grin for a week. If you can listen to this flat 12 singing its heart out as it spins past 5,000 RPM, and have a single hair not standing to attention on the back of your neck, you are definitely not in possession of a soul. It's engines like this which will make me cry the day that oil runs out, and we're all wafting round in silent fuel cell powered cars. It's engines like this which the internal combustion design will be remembered for.

Although Testarossas are now relatively affordable to buy (by Ferrari standards), the running costs are still tragic. Services cost anything up to £2,000+ and the car seems to deteriorate whether it is used or not. As for insurance, even a specialist insurer on a limited (5,000 mile) policy still wanted well into four figures. If you do decide to realise the dream, look into all this first, and make sure you want it badly enough. I'm actually tempted to sell mine this year and get something a little lower maintenance (another 911 perhaps), but I just know that I will miss this Red Head the second I hand her keys and paperwork over to someone else. She's exotic, achingly beautiful, demanding, and sometimes a bit stroppy, but I'm head over heels.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th January, 2003

27th Aug 2004, 07:42

What a great review!

I have never felt about a car the way you do, but then I've never owned a Ferrari.

3rd Mar 2005, 23:27

Excellent review! I am looking for a Testarossa and was especially surprised about the 2nd gear problem. My recommendation... keep the car! Porsche 911's will be around forever, but not Testarossa's!