Mamma mia, Italy rules

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 June, 2011, 12:00am


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There has been a resurgence, or risorgimento, of Italian cars in Hong Kong this week. Members of the local Italian community celebrated their national day on June 2 and then toasted their compatriots' automotive expertise at three events.

The first was at the Jockey Club's Happy Valley racecourse on Wednesday to celebrate the launch of Taikoo Motors' dealerships for Fiat and Alfa Romeo. That's good news for the local Alfa Romeo community who have seen their marque's advances in performance cars such as the 8C, Brera and the stylish MiTo. Fiat also makes terrific inner-city cars beyond the hip 500, such as the Punto and Bravo, and the marque's turbocharged 1.4-litre TwinAir dominated last month's International Engine Awards. But neither marque's representation has been constant, and the local Alfa Romeo and Fiat lovers might wish for a permanent, brand-building dealer.

Like Lamborghini Hong Kong, which presented its Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 Bicolore at Elements' Civic Square on Thursday, Motors was delighted with the 560-horsepower V10 Superleggera version, but the two-tone Bicolore gets a two-tone finish and a black roof with matching interior. Fitted with an e-gear automated transmission, the Bicolore hits 100km/h in a Ferrari 458-worrying 3.7 seconds and a maximum speed of 325km/h. The highlight of risorgimento week is arguably Italian Motors' launch at The Peninsula this afternoon of the Pininfarina-styled Ferrari FF, a four-wheel-drive four-seater with a mid-front V12. The fastie whacks 660hp at 8,000rpm via a seven-speed F1 dual-clutch gearbox, belts up to 683Nm of torque at 6,000rpm and wallops 500Nm at just 1,000rpm, the marque says.

The FF is also green for its size, with fuel consumption at 15.4 litres per 100km, and CO2 emissions at 360g/km, 'a 25 per cent reduction compared to the previous V12s', thanks to the marque's low emissions system which incorporates stop/start technology.

But many of Hong Kong's rich will also compare the stretch of the FF's rear seats with those in the 380hp Porsche Panamera S hybrid, and the vroom of the 550hp Panamera Turbo which promises 100km/h in 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 306km/h. Italian Motors wouldn't reveal the FF's price before its launch, but that's the spirit of the risorgimento: passion rather than its cost.