Well this was a complete surprise that greeted me when I woke up the other day. The new Ferrari 812 Superfast. The front-engine V12 coupe, Ferrari’s pane e burro since Truman was president just got a big update, and put everyone else on notice. I’ll just get this out of the way right off the top: Porsche, Aston Martin all the rest of you meager little lumber carts: this, this is the car.
Your woeful attempts at performance fade in comparison to what Maranello does as a side job. So sit down, listen up, and take notes.
The fact the Ferrari 812 Superfast dropped out of the sky was surprising for a number of reasons. First and foremost: Why replace the F12 Berlinetta? Have you seen those things? Have you driven one? I swear to Gozer those F12s are monsters. Even a knuckle-dragging lack-wit like Jeremy Clarkson, a man not known for his subtlety or reserve behind a wheel said the F12 had “too much power.”
The F12 Berlinetta has nearly 70 horsepower less than the 812 Superfast.
Let that settle in. Consider how the outgoing F12 puts out 730 horsepower. That’s more than an Australian V8 Supercar. That’s within shouting distance of a NASCAR stocker. That is 30 more horsepower than an Indycar.
Ferrari’s new 812 Superfast puts out almost 800 horsepower. In Euro-parlance, it works out to 800 cv, hence the name: 812 Superfast. What, you didn’t think Ferrari put an 8-liter V12 in this thing, did you? C’mon, these people might have the self-discipline of Caligula, but they’re not completely round the bend. Engines that big belong in ocean going tugs and railroads and such.
Historic Identity, Modern Performance
The other part of that name, Superfast, is also worth noting. It’s an old Ferrari moniker from the 1964 500 Superfast, and although it sounds kind of goofy, it is also true. The gearing for the 64 model was set high, and the engine was squeezed enough that it was, indeed, Superfast.
The specs for the modern version are knee-weakening. For starters, let’s cover some basic performance numbers with Ferrari style mathematical reinforcement. How about 0-100 kph (62 mph) in 2.9 seconds? Top speed? Over 211 mph.
The plant for the new 812 Superfast is a 6.5-liter V12 that, as mentioned, puts out nearly 800 horsepower at 8,500 rpm, and pulls with 530 lb-ft. of torque at 7,000 rpm. The car is smaller than it seems, clocking in at just over 15 feet long, 6-and-a-half feet wide, and four feet tall.
It tips the scales at a little over 3,300 pounds dry weight, which is not Miata-like but is still very impressive, given the mass of the engine. The weight distribution is an attractive 46-53% front/rear. So that number, combined with the wompin’ stompin’ horsepower and torque numbers, means the tail is going to want to come around like a cat on linoleum.
Exacerbating this perceived tail happiness is the inclusion of Ferrari’s Virtual Short Wheelbase 2.0 system. This is a four-wheel-steering scheme lifted directly from F12tdf, which everyone said was pretty bonkers to experience in real life.
The new outfit bolted to the Superfast further enhances the litheness of the handling and sharpens vehicle response.
The front wheels, you know, the ones that are supposed to turn, sport Ferrari’s new Electric Power Steering arrangement, the first Ferrari to do so. Since both the front and rear turning systems are fully electronic, they bring out the potential of the car’s performance and, are completely integrated with all the electronic vehicle dynamic controls – including Ferrari’s patented Side Slip Control. Ferrari says it makes the Superfast “easier to handle and even more thrilling to exploit.”
“Thrilling to exploit.” That makes me feel dirty.
Styling & Design
I was going to delve into the styling, but why bother? Just look at the thing. It looks like a red running show Mercury himself would covet. Do Italians have style, or do they have style? The exterior design is functional, not surprisingly, with active flaps on the front and an aerodynamic by-pass to increase downforce on the rear flank.
Inside, the cabin features a “floating effect,” meaning everything from the dash to the air vents is polished and sculpted. Ferrari says the interior has been given a “sportier, more radical look” to create an element of “thoroughbred racing eagerness and lean elegance.”
No arguments there.
The Ferrari 812 Superfast is set to debut at the upcoming Geneva International Motor Show. Now, why don’t the rest of you children get back to Gaydon and Stuttgart and Munich and Yokohama and play with your toys. The adults have some more records to set and world championships to win. È dilettanti!
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias towards lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.