FIRST CLASS SPEED DEMON
The ‘little limousine’ lives up to its image for style and pace, CRAIG DUFF writes
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.
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.
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