FIRST CLASS SPEED DE­MON

The ‘lit­tle limou­sine’ lives up to its im­age for style and pace, CRAIG DUFF writes

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE -

THERE are sharks and then there are great whites. We in­stinc­tively flee from them all but whites mes­merise us with their size power pace.

It’s the same sce­nario aboard the Fer­rari F12 Ber­linetta. There are (marginally) quicker cars but none can com­mand at­ten­tion this two-door grand tourer gets.

Those in know will recog­nise the long, sweep­ing bon­net as the re­cep­ta­cle for a race-bred V12 that will pro­pel F12 to 200km/h in 8.5 sec­onds and sit at speed for hours if au­to­bahn traf­fic obliges.

It’s not the mako the Fer­rari fleet; that role goes 488 with its mid­mounded V8 fir­ing it into and through

turns a touch more com­po­sure. The F12 has ex­pan­sive task of be­ing im­pos­si­bly quick while ac­com­mo­dat­ing the valises for week­end jaunt.

DE­SIGN

Ber­linetta is Ital­ian for “lit­tle limou­sine” and that’s its role in the Fer­rari sta­ble. The curves con­tours are wind tun­nel-tested to do their bit in keep­ing car on road.

Open the mas­sive doors it is pos­si­ble to slide into low-slung leather seats rather than hav­ing fall into them. That can’t al­ways be said for su­per­car seat­ing.

The steer­ing wheel is a work of art, even if the car­bon-fi­bre in­lays and LED shift-in­di­ca­tor lights are a $9200 op­tion. But­tons levers min­imised — there’s not even reg­u­lar lever for seven-speed dual clutch au­to­matic.

Choose first gear by tap­ping the right pad­dle-shifter. Tap again and F12 as­sumes you want to han­dle gearchang­ing, oth­er­wise there’s a but­ton for auto shift­ing on the bridge link­ing the centre con­sole and dash, along with a switch re­verse one omi­nously marked “launch”.

Out­ward vi­sion is — by su­per­car stan­dards su­perb. The raised wheel arches on the bon­net give some idea of where nose ends and you can see more through rear win­dow than just grille of car be­hind.

ABOUT TOWN

Put­ter­ing around in traf­fic is hardly the high­light of F12 own­er­ship but the fact is it can be com­fort­ably done with­out stress­ing oc­cu­pants or the ve­hi­cle.

At low revs the V12 is stut­ter-free smooth as auto grabs gears with in­de­cent speed to keep en­gine awake arous­ing it. The ride height is just enough that you don’t wince ev­ery time the Fer­rari rides over a man­hole cover (though still pay close at­ten­tion to drive­ways . . . and use the ride lift but­ton).

The side mir­rors give a re­spectable view of ad­ja­cent lanes steer­ing isn’t so sharp you’ll ac­ci­den­tally end up in them.

wide-open­ing doors are the big­gest im­ped­i­ment to city liv­ing and care needs be taken when en­ter­ing or ex­it­ing a packed carpark. Never mind the other ve­hi­cle — you don’t want paint chips on F12’s doors.

Ex­pect fin­ger­prints, though: the F12 will pho­tographed move and sta­tion­ary and smudge marks in­di­cate hands of­ten connect with win­dows in pur­suit of an in­te­rior shot.

ON THE ROAD

It takes just 3.1 sec­onds to ques­tion the in­tel­li­gence of reg­u­larly driv­ing an F12 on Aus­tralian roads — this thor­ough­bred is thor­oughly nob­bled by our speed lim­its. The nat­u­rally as­pi­rated en­gine

does its best work high on the

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