Chef d’oeuvre’s homage
"Ferrari 812 Superfast will remain a notable benchmark by the brand for another seven decades."
"This is the last, biggest and naturally aspirated engine."
"For me, it has the technology to spoil your drive!" said Issam.
"The 6.5-liter block is an absolute jet fighter!"
I still recall my first drive of the F12 Berlinetta back in Dubai couple of years ago. Honestly I loved it! It has the glamourous and driver-focused flair. Not to mention fast. The F12 delivered 730 horsepower. Believe it or not, it was a bolt of lightning! The one problem was it scared the hell out of me! Yes, and I’m not kidding at all. Here I am driving the 812 Superfast in Beirut…
The brand itself is sort of a benchmark and they keep surprising us, be it about the new engines, seductive designs or the exciting names. After all I got to drive the 812 Superfast (which is the sequel of the F12 Berlinetta). The lighter and more powerful F12tdf came in 2016 and was named after the "Tour de France" motor race regularly won by Ferrari 250s in the 50s and 60s. You could only dream about the special V12 of the F12tdf-such were the stories out in social media. Right when we all thought it time to bid farewell to the V12s and welcome the new V8 turbos forever, the 812 Superfast showed up.
The now uprated 6.5-liter V12 develops 800 horsepower at 8,500 rpm and 718 Nm at 7,000 rpm. With all honesty, how am I supposed to differentiate this with the F12tdf or for that matter, anything that is above 600 horsepower? But that’s exactly what Ferrari has been doing all this time, pushing further.
The 6.5-liter unit was an absolute cracker. Would you believe, almost 80 percent of the torque kicks in from as low as 3,500 rpm, and the initial launch was quite suggestive. Zero-to-100 km/h in just a mere 2.9 seconds, despite the fact that it’s a rear-wheel drive set-up, is just staggering. Ferrari, here, has applied a highly evolved transaxle architecture that couples a front-mounted engine with a rear-mounted transmission in the most efficient way in order to get the best out of its engine. The warble trilling out of those four tailpipes is nothing short of a rock concert. The exhaust system geometry has advanced, they say.
For me, the most important part is how resolutely the 812 grips. With so much power and torque in a front engine, rear-wheel drive set-up and on a not-so-heavy car, the obvious concern would be, is it really handy? You instantly get the confidence to tame the beast. 812 Superfast is the first Ferrari to sport EPS (electric power steering). Virtual Short Wheelbase 2.0 system (PCV) combines electric front-wheel steering assistance with the mechanical concept built around tire dimensions and the rear-wheel steering. Straight line shots were flawless and the rear-mounted Ferrari’s F1 seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox got the ratios shortened by about 6 percent to fully abuse the engine’s exceptional rev ranges. They say the transition time has been reduced by 30 percent; and it felt so. It’s the same case whether you run it on auto mode or use the sporty paddles. The suspension had a set of stiffer springs for less body roll and to limit understeer, as expected. The 812 Superfast gets the same PZero Corsa tires used in the F12tdf, developed especially for Ferrari by Pirelli. The ultimate aim is to offer the best performances in the dry and in track use. To keep things in check, Ferrari has deployed the best Brembo extreme design brakes that were used in the LaFerrari. Combined with the high-performance ABS and 9.0 Premium ESP, they deliver absolutely unmatched stopping distances. Stats suggest they’ve improved over the F12 Berlinetta’s performance to 100 meters by 11 percent. There were a few instances where I thought I was poised and tried too many tweaks around corners with some immature maneuvers, but then the whole control system kicked in, avoiding the unacceptable. Mind you, they didn’t interfere often, so no joy was taken away. At this point, our tester won the confidence.
Designed by the Ferrari Styling Centre, the aim seemed to be to work out an aero package that looks chic and compliments the handling part. To better the old V12, they had to optimize the intake system and combustion efficiency to uprate the displacement from 6.2 to 6.5 liters. To channel the airflow, there were things like a turning blade on the front bumper (to the side of the air intakes)-good for engine and brake cooling. Ultimately, the objective is to reduce the overall drag and boost the downforce further. We had a range of equipment at our disposal, starting with diffusers with a mobile aero system and the spoiler on the car’s tail. The rear diffuser is given a system of three active flaps that rotate to a 14-degree angle in the minimal drag configuration to completely stall the diffuser, thereby reducing overall drag.
Sharply skewed pleat lines and remarkably muscular wheel arches get the fastback sleekness on a two-box design to impose the ever present V12’s aggression visually too. Full LED headlights in the front, four round taillights, vents behind the front wheels, and a rear diffuser with a suspended splitter were the key highlights that stood out.
Ferrari wants to get that GT element in here, meaning it must be a comfortable long distance tourer. While there’s not much softening expected, there’s enough cuddling offered by the lavish leather interior and an evolved infotainment system that we’ve seen in the Lusso. By the way, the access inside was much easier than any other super car around.
The Ferrari 812 Superfast is so beautifully crafted that you could be excused for just parking it in your driveway and staring at it every single morning before going to work. The model is an institute of aerodynamics best done for a road legal car, and to know it’s one of the best the Italians have made so far is in itself a tribute to the anniversary occasion. After all is said and done, I urge you do take it out and drive it: rain, shine, dust…whatever. You won’t be disappointed and it won’t kill you. It whispers loudly, "Push me and I’ll handle you!"
Pros: 6.5-liter V12 is a work of art, F1-type exhaust notes, throttle and gearshifts are a new level, exotic and aerodynamic design, steering control and traction, easy access to the door, comfortable seats
Cons: Can’t complain at all!
Rivals: Aston Martin DBS Superleggera
one word: precious jewel
6.5L V12, RWD, 789 hp @ 8,500 rpm, 718 Nm @ 7,000 rpm, 7-speed automatic
0-100 km/h: 2.9 secs, top speed: 355 km/h, fuel consumption: N/A
Weight: 1,630 kg