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Thread: 599GTB or HGTE?

  1. #1
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    Default 599GTB or HGTE?

    am seriously looking for a 599 but not sure to buy a GTB or the HGTE version

    i'm not looking to track the car or anything and would say that comfort is more important than overall performance

    should i try and find a HGTE model?...they are rare and i'm fussy as to the colour i want?

  2. #2
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    If comfort is your objective I think HGTE would be less attractive as my recollection is that it has louder exhaust and larger wheels so ride is less compliant - some good threads on Ferrarichat detailing the differences

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    Modificato is offline Nowhere to put the shopping -The Ferrari F40 Club Member
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    It’s a clear cut choice on U.K. and most European roads.

    The standard car is much better.

    The HGTE is very perplexing to me and my seat of the pants. I auditioned them when I bought mine. It was a buyers market at the time so I tried many many cars.

    The HGTE

    It just doesn’t work as it should IMO.

    Many of them are ‘collector’ cars so I don’t think they get used enough and suffer as a result that could be part of it but...

    Being blunt they are modified in a max power magazine kind of way where feeling fast is more important than being fast.

    The wheels and rubber are the culprit in my opinion.

    I modified my 599 (see running report) to go down the road quickly for road events in Europe and when we looked at the stock set up on challenge wheels it drove better having wound back the coils and taking the tension out of the anti roll bars via some custom drop links. The HGTE pack just tightens it all up and is too crashy. The wheels and rubber struggle to follow the road when pushing on on anything but Stuttgart smooth asphalt.

    I would swerve the HGTE unless you are a investment enthusiast or you like to feel thrilled and like you are driving on he edge a lower speeds, or you want to track drive it. On track it would be okay but my car on more modern rubber (Michelin homologated tyre) runs rings round the old rubber.

    Evaluate your needs and if residuals are important as well as keeping it low mileage then HGTE - if you want a long legged GT for epic journeys and cross country thrills then the stock car all day long.

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    F355GTS is offline Shocking waste of good kevlar - The Ferrari Enzo Club Member
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    My memories seem to differ, I had 2 GTB's and 1 GTB convereted to HGTE, I found the latter's handling more consistant and the ride better than the std car

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    Modificato is offline Nowhere to put the shopping -The Ferrari F40 Club Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by F355GTS View Post
    My memories seem to differ, I had 2 GTB's and 1 GTB convereted to HGTE, I found the latter's handling more consistant and the ride better than the std car
    Strange - maybe they handle better when freshly set up - the ones I auditioned were not good.

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    thanks guys

    not getting a definite feel for it!!

    think i may go for a GTB

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    If you are based in Spain and do most of your driving there I would definitely go for the HGTE. Feels much more 'together' on smooth roads and will most probably hold its value better. I've had both and even on UK's surfaces I prefer the HGTE. Whichever way you go they are great cars for spirited long distance driving.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 575mhgtc View Post
    If you are based in Spain and do most of your driving there I would definitely go for the HGTE. Feels much more 'together' on smooth roads and will most probably hold its value better. I've had both and even on UK's surfaces I prefer the HGTE. Whichever way you go they are great cars for spirited long distance driving.


    oh boy...now i'm even more confused!!

    you didn't find the HGTE harsh on uk roads?

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    Modificato is offline Nowhere to put the shopping -The Ferrari F40 Club Member
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    Best way to understand this if you don't have the pleasure of trying for yourself is to know what actually changed - note: there may be some informed opinion involved.

    Full disclosure - I like my road cars to have the 'lotus school' of suspension set up. This is to say plenty of wheel travel and more initial body roll compared to the stiffly sprung 'sporty-feeling-for-the-sake-of-excitement' approach to generic sports car set-up.

    Think about the way a Lotus Evora drives down a typical UK country road - (if you haven't tried one it is worth a test drive just for enlightenment) vs. The way something like an MSport BMW or at the extreme a Nissan GTR pummels its way down the road with high spring rates and stiff anti-roll bars.

    So What Changed?

    Ferrari measures and benchmarks progress of its road cars in terms of outright lap times around Fiorano along with and ever increasing escalation of specific engine power as its main messaging in marketing its product range evolution. The HGTE was -0.6 second quicker around Fiorano all of which can be accounted for by the softer rubber and quicker TCU software.

    This, along with how Ferrari launches product - i.e. journalists either driving or being taken on 3 passenger laps at Fiorano before road driving have therefore become a big focus of the story and the brand.

    When the standard 599 came out it was possible, at launch for a small number of the more capable journalists in the three laps allowed to provoke understeer at Fiorano on cars with the base level standard 19" front and 20" rears and steel brakes. Tiff Needell in particular criticised the car publicly for that. EVO magazine by contrast called it the best handling GT in the world at the time and it was indeed EVO's car of the year, a rare event for the brand. Harry Metcalfe had lived with its predecessor as a long termer and so was probably the better placed journo at the time to evaluate the car but that's partially subjective on my part. The issue with a few laps at Fiorano for Tiff is that racing drivers rightly think all road cars are by comparison to an actual track / race car terrible on track as in most cases after half a lap the tyres are usually overheated, brakes are fading and warning lights are flashing all over the dash. With only three laps to do it in what are you going to do?

    So the standard optioned car had too much tendency to understeer?

    On standard wheels - yes, it seems so (from one report).

    I can't verify that but can imagine its possible.

    It is easy to adjust out this tendency out with the rest of the stock component set-up if the components are in good condition however the stock wheels are said by Ferrari themselves to be not as good selection as a base and hence why they are not valued at all in the used market. On the optional challenge wheels however and with the right geo and suspension set-up almost all of the understeer can be eliminated by set-up alone. The 14k optional HGTE pack was in the words of EVO magazine "essentially a suite of suspension, tyre and rim changes – which are, at best, a finessing of the 599’s already exemplary road manners, essentially bumping the car up a couple of notches on the hardcore scale."

    Industry cynics would call it what used to be a decals and rims flagging sales figures upgrade. [Think Vauxhall's tired model refreshes of the 80's]

    The actual changes made were minimal - monogrammed but existing sports carbon seat option, CCM brakes as standard, different compound Pirelli's, 16% and 10% Stiffer springs (front and rear), 10% stiffer (and thicker) rear anti-roll bar, -10mm ride height necessitating upgraded bump stops. Leaving the factory half a degree more negative camber at the front and faster gear change software loaded into the TCU. Cosmetically the sports seats got some stitching and there was a specific to type wheel sized just like the original challenge wheel option but in a split rim design.

    Of all of things that matter to a 599 the wheels are the key.

    Mine already had the seats and challenge rims 20" (front and rear)
    So I did a geometry adjustment on my car (see my 599 thread) - Labour cost
    Springs - kept them stock as I didn't want extra stiffness
    Ride height actually +5mm over stock as I do road events with it and from the factory it was too low for me.
    Anti-roll bars kept them stock but with custom made adjustable drop links and upgraded bushes - One hour labour and materials
    Tyres upgraded to the later homologated (and far superior Michelins)
    Gearbox and ECU software upgraded by my local dealer during routine service (note only possible after a certain chassis number - later cars)

    If handling better means 'goes down a typical road quicker and with more composure' then my car now does that far better than an HGTE and GTO variant and I will take that Pepsi challenge all day long. If better means does better lap times on track again I would take that challenge too - tbh the michelins are most of that difference anyway. If however handling better means 'feels more dramatic and exciting' or 'more planted' then the HGTE and GTO variants would win with drivers that value that.

    Personally I think the HGTE variant is not worth any kind of premium unless you really want the wheel design and / or the added kudos of 'limited' status or any 'added value' that may confer.

    If you think you may reach the limits on the standard car on 20's then have the geo done and try again. If you need to go beyond that get some GTO wheels, if you unstick those especially the front end on the road then hats off. It took two further runnings of the Mille Miglia to find the upper limit on the road of the front end for me and it happened once in a 1,000 miles on the Futa Pass. I subsequently have switched to a GTO wheel set and its trick rubber but it is now right on the point of the benefits barely outweighing the down-sides on the road with only a meaningful gain on track.

    The 599 is a ridiculously capable car on 20inch wheels and fresh rubber.

    If it has sports carbon seats then tweak the geo change a couple of rear ARB bushes an you pretty much have the HGTE.

    Lowering and stiffening is easy with the stock coilovers.

    15k was a stiff premium in period and nothing like the targeted 40% of sales optioned it so...

    Try them both and see what you really need.


    OG press release here http://joemacari.com/downloads/pdf/5...age%20text.pdf

    Period review https://youtu.be/MVQs33b1Q50

    Tiff's response (note: Stirling Moss's priceless reaction @ 5:20) https://youtu.be/Ic_Cox7F0-g
    Last edited by Modificato; 15-04-2021 at 04:48 PM.

  10. #10
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    excellent
    thanku very much


    seems like a non HGTE with 20" wheels would be best for me


    Is there a model year after which any changes were made......is a 2010 a better car than say a 2007?

    you say: 'Gearbox and ECU software upgraded by my local dealer during routine service (note only possible after a certain chassis number - later cars)'

    What year did this start?
    Last edited by lotusk; 30-04-2021 at 07:06 PM.

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