Ferretti 860 review: The more things change the more they stay the same

Much changed yet still just as impressive as ever, the new Ferretti 860 is a worthy follow-up to the successful Ferretti 850…

Rethinking a layout in the way Ferretti has done with its new Ferretti 860 does underline how yacht interiors are always a compromise. Move one thing and you have to move something else to make way for it, and then move something else to make way for that, and so it goes.

Everything can be changed except the space available. But if all goes well, at the end of the process only the designers will know which decision it was that set off the whole reshuffle in the first place.

On the Ferretti 860, all does seem to have gone well. Although based on the same hull and machinery as the earlier Ferretti 850, of which some 30-plus were built in six years, everything else about the new 860 has been substantially rethought, from the flybridge down to the crew cabins in the bow.

I remember testing the Ferretti 850 on its launch at the 2016 Cannes Yachting Festival, and noticing how the raised half-deck for the lower helm gave it a big-yacht feel, which was slightly countered – in a good way – by the fact that the single-seat helm station itself felt so compact and enclosed that the owner of the first boat said it reminded him of his Lamborghini.

With the fundamental layout changes that have gone into creating the new 860, Ferretti’s designers have fully embraced the big-boat ethos, with a full-size, two-seat wheelhouse that still sits on its own half-deck, but now features a full-beam layout with a crew dinette to port.

And from being tucked down forward on the 850, the galley is now more conventionally located aft of the helm, which makes it much more handily placed to serve the dining table, while it also benefits from plenty of light and space – headroom is nearly eight feet (2.39m) – and a door out to the starboard side deck.

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The day head is to port. Visibility from the new helm station is no better than it was, however, thanks to the redesigned superstructure. The view out to the sides is very restricted and there is of course no view aft, so the only safe place to steer in crowded waters, whatever the weather, will be up top.

So repositioning the galley meant moving the main companionway, and that of course meant a pretty fundamental redesign of the lower deck accommodation.

The 850’s layout down here was unorthodox, but it worked, and the 860’s follows this asymmetric thinking pretty closely, retaining the two VIP double suites and the one twin-berth cabin that complement the big, full-beam owner’s cabin amidships.


Mirrored central corridor provides an illusion of space

The master now has a more imposing bathroom along the aft bulkhead, along with a substantial walk-in wardrobe, which between them help to insulate the sleeping area from the engineroom.

If one space is the loser in this lower-deck reshuffle, it is perhaps the forward VIP’s shower stall, which feels a bit squeezed. The twin cabin’s head compartment also has less floor area than the 850’s, but its proportions work better.

Ferretti went to the IdeaeItalia studio for the 860’s interior design, which comes in a choice of Classic or Contemporary themes. They both look pretty smart, with nods to Art Deco detailing in their cool flat panels and curved edges.


The expansive owner’s suite requires no such optical trickery

The Classic makes creative use of darker, more contrasting tones, while the Contemporary is altogether more pale in colour. Ferretti fit-out quality is such a given that it often goes unremarked. Needless to say our Ferretti 860 was put together beautifully.

With the cockpit companionway staying firmly put, on the starboard side, nothing absolutely had to change up on the flybridge, but the designers were getting into their stride by now and changed everything anyway.

Filippo Salvetti’s new exterior styling required completely new superstructure mouldings in any case and the curved sides of the 860’s uppermost deck have made it slightly wider – it feels absolutely huge. It has gained a large padded lounging area to port, opposite the helm.


Huge full-beam flybridge comes with a versatile hardtop and a choice of fit-out aft

This will be ideal for those who like to stay out of the sun as it is right beneath the substantial hardtop, which comes in three different configurations. There is also a well-equipped bar on the starboard side, opposite the long dining table and sofa.

Sun worshippers can congregate aft, where there are a number of options available, including free-standing furniture, a sunbed and a hot tub.

One of the more noticeable features of the new exterior design is the cool cutaway bulwarks level with the floor-to-ceiling glass in the saloon, to make the most of the spectacular views from inside.

Understated yet authoritative, modern without being too edgy – welcome to Ferretti’s world

The Ferretti 860 also sports a new and more adventurous foredeck layout, with a hi-lo table to create a sunbed, and a cockpit arrangement that makes an excellent feature out of the cool see-through transom.

The old 850 came with 1,800hp or 1,900hp MAN engine installations – which wasn’t much of a choice, so we didn’t feel too hard done by to discover that our test boat, at the 2016 Cannes boat show, had the lower-powered option.

MAN has had a look at its range since then, however, and without any significant alterations to its excellent machinery space, the Ferretti 860 we tested was packing a pair of 2,000hp V12s. Which turned out to be just as well, because in the course of its metamorphosis the new model has put on weight – about four and a half tonnes.

The transom door lifts to reveal a garage large enough for a 3.95m jet RIB and a PWC

It was a mild morning for our sea trial in the South of France, the weather was warming up, with very little wind and a flat Mediterranean Sea.

The big new Ferretti 860 felt reassuringly familiar under way, its electronic steering, automatic Humphree trim system, single Seakeeper gyro and Sleipner Vector fin stabilisers all talking to each other via the Xenta software and easing much of the helmsman’s workload, while with so much horsepower on tap it was easy to forget the sheer size and heft of this substantial motor yacht.

In these benign conditions the Ferretti 860 was happy to plane at 18 or 19 knots, and 22 to 23 felt quiet and comfortable and quite fast enough – although our captain, Gianluca, said he generally found 24 knots to be the optimum fast cruising speed.

Terrific one-piece windscreen is let down by restricted visibility on either side

Handling was impressive, feeling precise and predictable, and in our speed runs we did see 30 knots come up on the GPS, but only downwind. In a two-way average the Ferretti 860 topped out at 29.6 knots, which was – spookily enough – exactly the same maximum speed we recorded on the 850, back in 2016.

As a replacement for the successful 850, Ferretti’s latest model does an outstanding job. It’s a competent cruising boat and a superbly comfortable home away from home, and it deserves the same sales success.

It is very similar to its predecessor in many ways, and completely different in most others. The only puzzle is which of those numerous differences came first. Only the designers can tell – and they’re not saying.

First published in the June 2023 issue of MBY.

Price as reviewed:

£4,850,000.00 ex. VAT


Length overall: 85ft 5in (26.14m)
Beam: 20ft 5in (6.22m)
Draft: 6ft 10in (2.08m)
Displacement (light): 72 tonnes
Engines: Twin 2,000hp MAN V12
Fuel capacity: 1,540 gal (7,000 lt)
Water capacity: 308 gal (1,400 lt)
Top speed on test: 29.6 knots
Fuel consumption: 396 lph @ 18.3 knots / 65lph @ 10.2 knots
Cruising range: 302 nm @ 18.3 knots / 879 nm @ 10.2 knots
Noise: 59 dB(A) @ 18.3 knots / 56 dB(A) @ 10.2 knots
Design: Ferretti / Salvetti / IdeaeItalia

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