What is a Manettino Dial and What Does It Do?
A manettino dial is a rotary switch on certain Ferrari vehicles that enables quick adjustment of the car’s suspension, traction control, electronic differential, and electronic gearbox to suit a variety of different driving conditions. In Italian, the word manettino means “little lever” or “little switch,” and this little lever produces big results behind the wheel. Each of the Ferrari driving modes enabled by the Manettino provides a different driving experience, engaging and utilizing different components of the powertrain to quickly adapt to changing conditions on the road or track.
What is the Ferrari Manettino?
The Ferrari manettino is a red lever — or twistable knob, depending on the model — on a Ferrari’s steering wheel. This is called the Manettino Switch; these are sometimes colloquially called Ferrari dials due to their proprietary nature. The manettino allows you to seamlessly adjust the vehicle’s electronic systems to optimize for road conditions or driver preference.
The Ferrari manettino was created by Frank Stephenson — designer of the Ferrari F430 — after he was inspired by the controls on the steering wheels of Formula 1 cars. The first Manettino debuted in the Ferrari 430 in 2004, and has since become an integral feature throughout the Prancing Horse lineup.
Worth noting, however, is the fact that Enzo Ferrari himself employed a similar control system, though his design used individual buttons rather than a unified rotary dial. Clearly, Enzo recognized the need to easily adjust on the fly from the Prancing Horse’s earliest days!
Ferrari Manettino Driving Modes
While the options and naming of each Ferrari driving mode may differ from model to model, you can generally expect to see the following options on a manettino dial:
- Snow / Ice Mode: Maximizes the intervention of the stability and traction control systems and significantly restricts performance to maintain driver control in slippery conditions.
- Low Grip / Wet Mode: Optimizes for stability on both wet and dry surfaces in part by optimizing the suspension to provide a comfortable ride without impeding handling in rainy conditions or on gritty roads.
- Sport Mode: The default setting, which is designed to balance stability, performance, and safety.
- Race Mode: Optimized for the racetrack, enhances gear-shifting times and minimizes the influence of stability- and traction-control systems.
- Comfort Mode: Emphasizes a smooth, comfortable driving experience at the expense of peak performance. This is for the highway rather than the track.
- ESC-OFF Mode: For expert drivers only! This driving mode disables the car’s Electronic Stability Control system entirely.
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