Ferrari used the Geneva Motor Show to unveil the next – and what may be the final – evolution of their F12 berlinetta in the form of the ‘812 Superfast’.
The “Superfast” name, taken from a series of V12-engined Ferraris from the 1950s and ’60s, is appropriate for the new arrival, as it’s officially the fastest and most powerful series production model in Ferrari’s history.
Unlike limited-edition machines like the LaFerrari, which are restricted to those already on Ferrari’s Christmas card list, anyone with the right amount of cash (expected to be around AU$500,000) can walk into a showroom and buy an 812 Superfast.
While based heavily on the F12 berlinetta from 2012, the 812 Superfast trumps that model in the power stakes, as well as 2015’s F12 tour de france (tdf) offshoot, thanks to increased capacity, a redesign of the intake system and improvements in combustion efficiency.
The 6496cc (6.5-litre) V12 in the 812 Superfast is up 234cc from the powerplant used in the berlinetta and tdf, with a listed maximum power output of 588kW at 8,500rpm and maximum torque of 718Nm at 7,000rpm. This is 44kW more than the F12 berlinetta and 15kW more than the F12 tdf. In Ferrari terms, only the LaFerrari at 716kW beats it. And the Superfast does all this without superchargers or turbochargers.
Listed performance specs are 2.9 seconds for the 0-100km/h sprint, with 0-200km/h coming up in 7.9 seconds and a top speed of 340km/h. Those sprint times and top speed are the same as the tdf, but the Superfast is 110kg heavier than that model.
The front-mid-mounted V12 is connected to a seven-speed ‘F1’ dual-clutch transmission driving the rear wheels. To match the increased engine power, shift times for the DCT are now quicker.
It’s rumoured that the 812 Superfast may be the last to rely solely on an internal combustion engine, with future models expected to use a hybrid drivetrain, like that first seen on the LaFerrari.
Rear and Steer
The 812 Superfast uses a four-wheel steering system like the F12 tdf – what Ferrari calls their Virtual Short Wheelbase – but upgrades it for the new model and allies it with electric power steering (EPS), which is a first in Ferrari history.
The addition of steerable rear wheels aids cornering performance, obviously, but the new electric steering needed to be calibrated to support and enhance that. Added to the suite of tech that comes with the arrival of EPS are Ferrari Peak Performance and Ferrari Power Oversteer. The former adjusts steering feedback to let the driver know when the car is getting close to the limit of its grip, while the latter does the same to reduce oversteer when powering out of corners.
These new systems are combined with the fifth generation of Ferrari’s SSC (Side Slip Control) vehicle dynamics system to further improve steering response times and vehicle traction, but Ferrari makes it clear that the driver is still the ultimate controller and the new additions are more “enhancements” of the driving experience rather than safety nets.
The 812 Superfast features Brembo ‘Extreme Design’ brakes first used on the LaFerrari, while the new model’s tyres, offered by both Michelin and Pirelli, were originally developed for the F12 tdf.
More Aero, Less Aggression
Externally, the 812 Superfast differs from its predecessors through the adoption of a number of changes in the bodywork.
Active and passive aero elements claim to make the 812 30 per cent more aerodynamically efficient than the F12 berlinetta, with improvements including a ‘mobile’ aero system in the front diffusers that open or close vanes depending on whether the need for more downforce or less drag is pre-eminent.
An aerodynamic “bypass” reduces the lift caused by airflow running in the wheelarches by funnelling it via large vents aft of the front wheelarches to flow along the body to exit ahead of the rear spoiler. Similar vents are situated behind the rear wheelarches.
Much of this aero tech debuted on the F12 tdf, but there’s an all-new rear diffuser on the 812’s, while the rear spoiler is shorter. The drag effect of this has been cancelled out by modified bodywork aft of the rear windscreen.
Compared to the tdf, the 812 looks smoother and less aggressive, replacing that model’s bold side vents with aero openings that are more subtly incorporated into the overall shape.
Front styling is sharper, with a new grille and modification of the headlights to incorporate air intakes, while a quad tail light set-up has been added at the rear. Ferrari says the rear styling was inspired by the 365 GTB4 from the late ’60s, while an exclusive new colour, “Rosso Settanta”, debuts in honour of Ferrari’s 70th Anniversary this year.
Inside, the dash and console layout has been tweaked, with a new steering wheel and instrument cluster inspired by the LaFerrari. The 812 also adds new seats, which Ferrari say are more sporty and ergonomic.
A range of options will be available for the 812 Superfast, including an advanced vehicle telemetry system and upgraded 1280 Watt audio system with 12 speakers.
On sale now in Europe, Australian delivery for the Ferrari 812 Superfast is unconfirmed.