Ferrari 456 GT: The Forgotten Four-Seat V12 Cruiser
Four-seat sports cars are nothing new, however, it’s not every day that you see one with a usable back seat. What’s more, you would be even harder pressed to find a Ferrari with a rear seat, let alone one that can actually fit four adults. And even more rare would be seeing a Ferrari 456 GT.
What is a Ferrari 456 GT?
Exactly! The Ferrari 456 GT is what we like to call “the Ferrari that everyone forgot about.” It’s no wonder really, especially since it’s over 20 years old and most people’s recollection of older Ferraris starts and ends with the Testarossa. It’s a shame though because the 456 GT was probably one of the most underrated and unique cars to don the prancing horse badge.
The 456 GT was produced from 1995 to 1998 and was designed by Pininfarina, a renowned design company that has had a hand in car designs for everything from Ferraris to Fiats. Unlike most of its Ferrari brethren, the 456 GTs design was more subtle and indicative of its mid-90s production times; complete with pop-up headlights and rounded taillights.
Instead of the typical harder angles and steep, sporty rakes like those found on the F355 Berlinetta that was sold alongside it, the 456 GT had much smoother, rounded edges that exuded elegance as oppose to exhilaration. The side vents that start from the front fenders and extend past the rear doors give the car subtle character lines, while the long hood and front overhangs give it an undeniable coupe-like silhouette. Did we mention that it was a front-engine car?
Under the hood
Speaking of engines, the 456 GT was powered by a 5.5-liter V12 that produced 436 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. The stout engine was mated to either a six-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic (456 GA). Yes, you read that right, an automatic with only four gears, just like the Toyota Camry at the time.
As stated, it was one of Ferrari’s front-engine, rear-drive cars, but don’t count it out as being a slouch. The 456 GT was able to pull off 0-60 times in about 4.9 seconds and run the quarter-mile in 13.2 seconds. The automatic version had similar numbers.
As you can imagine, the interior of the 456 GT had the premium fit, finish, and quality that you would expect out of $215,000 sports car. Leather seating and soft-touch surfaces were just about everywhere that you could put your hands and polished allow metal filled in for a trim.
Sit in the front seat and look behind you and you’ll notice two bucket seats that are actually fit for regular-sized humans. According to Motortrend, it’s difficult to get a sense of the car’s dimensions from pictures. Pininfarina’s exquisite design architecture actually hides its grand scale, but just know that the 456 GT was actually 3.6 inches wider than the Lexus LS400 at the time and about as long as a Toyota Camry.
While the 456 GT wasn’t exactly a raw racehorse like other Ferraris in its stable, it did prove to be a comfortable cruiser that “transformed into an unholy she-beast from another dimension” when your right foot buries the throttle. When it was new, the 456 GT retailed for over $200,000.
Now that it’s old and mostly forgotten, you can find them on the used market anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000. Is that a bargain? We think so. They’re pretty rare now and if you can afford one, then it’s probably a good chance to actually own a Ferrari without spending your whole life savings.