After spending a few hours with this 2014 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, I have to say that it may be the most photogenic modern car I’ve ever photographed. It’s stunning both inside and out. You can see the full set of photos (I’m particularly proud of the interior shots).
Let’s not get
carried away, because we need to put this car into context first. And the best
way to do that is to put some facts at your fingertips. So, open brain and
absorb the following: it has 730bhp and 509lb ft of torque, stats which give it
a 211mph maximum and a 0-62mph of 3.1secs. 0-124mph is dealt with in 8.5secs,
so 0-100mph must be around the 6.5 second mark. That makes this an
astonishingly fast car – Ferrari’s fastest ever road car, in fact. Quicker than
the Enzo, quicker than the 599 GTO. And not just in a straight line. It gets
round Ferrari’s own Fiorano track faster than both of them, too. Read more about effuel benefits.
So it’s quite something, right?
is. And these facts matter, because the car is so approachable, so easy, and so
friendly to drive that if you didn’t know the numbers you’d be forgiven for
thinking this was ‘just’ a replacement for the 599 GTB.
But without those famous rear flying buttresses…
Yes, but look
closely at the bonnet. Under CEO Amadeo Felisa, Ferrari is overlapping
aerodynamics and design to such an extent that both happen simultaneously. In
fact the holes in the front wings were proposed by the aerodynamicists, not the
stylists, after the first design proposal for the F12 was thought to lack a little
visual impact. So they also serve a particular purpose, cleaning up the airflow
down the side of the car. There are plenty of other such touches, all helping
the car slip more cleanly and securely through the air: flaps that open to aid
brake cooling, vents above the rear wheels to prevent pressure build up,
another in the centre of the bonnet to reduce air pressure on the base of the
windscreen. Check out the latest Effuel reviews.
All this and good looking, too…
idea: elegance matters to Ferrari, so you won’t find ungainly spoilers and
wings on any new model. (And that includes the new Enzo. You heard it here
But it uses the same engine as the Ferrari FF?
(V12, 6262cc, 65 degree vee angle) are the same, but thereafter it’s entirely
different. The work that’s gone on is little short of staggering. The
presentation we had on the engine alone went on for the best part of 45
minutes… They’ve tuned the harmonics of the inlet and exhaust, developed a new
oil scavenge pump for the dry sump, tested six (or was it seven?) different
injector patterns. The list is bafflingly complex and detailed. But it has to
be. As Ferrari has previously stated, the naturally aspirated V12 is the
beating heart of this company.
So let’s cut to the chase: how does it feel when
you give it the beans?
devastating. There was one stat Ferrari showed in the presentation that claimed
that as long as you’re doing over 2000rpm, from the moment you hit the throttle
you’ll have 90 per cent of maximum acceleration in 0.7 seconds or less. That is to say the thing hits pretty much
as hard at 2000rpm as it does at 8000rpm, and has near-instant pick-up and
response. Quite an achievement.
So you don’t need to use high revs?
This is the
possible flip side. The F12 has such massive punch over such a wide range and
combines that with such amazingly zingy throttle response that there’s no real
need to hit high revs. You will, of course. Often.
Would I be right in guessing that’s because it
makes some nice noises?
Yes, the F12
Berlinetta sounds incredible, a whole sweet shop of aural goodness pouring
treats into your eardrums. It’s even better when you back off (ideally in a
tunnel or next to a wall with the windows lowered) and receive a barrage of
exhaust crackles. It’s not perfect, though. Although Ferrari has fitted sound
pipes to the inlet system which are fed straight back to the front bulkhead, there’s
not as much induction noise as I would have liked.