FERRARI 812 SUPERFAST
The Prancing Horse has transformed the F12berlinetta into the 812 Superfast, the fastest and most powerful seriesproduction Ferrari ever.
FERRARI has rolled out the 812 Superfast, successor to the F12berlinetta – a supercar which was launched five years ago and still looks fresh. The 812 Superfast does not have the most inspired name. Its moniker pays homage to the limited-edition 500 Superfast from 1964.
Armed with a 5-litre 12-cylinder motor that produced 400bhp, the 500 Superfast was considered pretty potent back then.
Today, the 812 Superfast has double the power of its spiritual predecessor and 60bhp more than the F12berlinetta, making it the most powerful seriesproduction Ferrari to date.
Clearly evolved from the F12, the 812 retains the F12’s sleek design, with a long bonnet and a short fastback rump. It looks dropdead gorgeous from any angle.
Hinting at the 812’s higher performance are the more numerous slits and vents on its sensuous body compared to the F12. Apart from reducing aerodynamic drag, these elements also improve cooling of the engine and brakes.
Less obvious are the active front air-intake flaps that open when the car is driven past 200km/h, and the active rear diffuser that further improves high-speed aerodynamics.
The 812 is a tad longer (by 39mm) and wider (by 29mm) than the F12. But its 1525kg dry weight remains identical to its predecessor’s, thanks to the extensive use of lightweight materials such as aluminium and carbon fibre.
The dashboard’s layout is typical Ferrari, with an analogue tachometer dominating the instrument panel. There are configurable digital screens on either side of the rev counter, and an optional infotainment screen for the passenger.
Said screen, which is now a larger 8.8-inch full-HD unit, can also display the same info as the instrument panel. Turn it on to keep your co-driver involved, or switch it off so as not to scare the living daylights out of him/her.
Fine Italian craftsmanship is evident in the cabin, which has generous applications of leather,
AS A GRAND TOURER BUILT FOR BOTH ROAD AND TRACK, THE 812 SUPERFAST HAS FEW RIVALS.
carbon fibre and aluminium. Overall, the refreshed interior is even plusher than the F12’s.
Ferrari emphasised the 812’s touring abilities by highlighting its configurable 320-500 litres of boot space. There’s also a parcel shelf behind the seats for smaller items.
There are a few flaws, though. For instance, there is just a single cupholder on the centre console, the doorbins are too narrow and shallow to be of much use, and the passengerside window does not have one-touch up/down functions.
I can overlook everything except for the contrasting leather strips on the instrument panel, which cause a distracting reflection on the windscreen.
As mentioned earlier, the 812 is the most powerful series-
production Ferrari you can buy today. And its Italian stallions are still produced by a naturally aspirated 12-cylinder.
Said engine is based on the F12’s V12, which has been upsized from 6.3 litres to 6.5 litres. But the power gains didn’t just come from the motor’s increased displacement. Other upgrades include a new crankshaft, new con-rods and a more robust crankcase to withstand the higher loads.
There’s also a new highpressure 350-bar (previously 200-bar) direct injection system and F1-inspired variable-length inlet ducts, which are adapted from the track-tuned F12tdf. These enhancements have made the 812 Superfast go, well, super fast. Zero to 100km/h takes just 2.9 seconds, or 0.2 of a second faster than the F12. Going from a standstill to 200km/h is accomplished in 7.9 seconds, or 0.6 of a second faster than the F12.
The top speed, however, is still capped at 340km/h, which is on a par with the F12.
Responsible for the 812’s heightened handling are the electric power steering (the 812 is the first Ferrari to have this) and rear-wheel-steering system (officially known as Virtual Short Wheelbase 2.0), which is borrowed from the F12tdf.
With so many significant improvements, you might think that the 812 is Ferrari’s final 12-cylinder sports car.
Well, fortunately for Ferrari fans and general petrolheads alike, it isn’t. Stefano Lai, Ferrari’s senior vice-president of communications, confirmed that the carmaker will continue making V12 sports cars as long as it is able to push the boundaries of efficiency through natural aspiration.
Ferrari also revealed that almost 40 percent of 812 Superfast clients mainly buy cars with V12 engines, so this is one group that it will not want to disappoint.
My blast in the 812 Superfast, however, began with a crawl through narrow village streets. Even as I became more familiar with my thoroughbred steed, I was stuck in traffic, unable to get up to “gallop speed”.
Even then, the 812 impressed with its ability to trundle along at under 70km/h in 7th gear, with the engine barely ticking above 1000rpm. That’s how tractable the 6.5-litre V12 is.
But as traffic sped up, every gap that presented itself became a “yippee ki-yah!” overtaking manoeuvre. Such is the elasticity of the motor’s 718Nm of torque, 80 percent of which is available from just 3500rpm.
The 812 displayed its cornering finesse on the serpentine mountain stretches along the driving route. The sharpest of hairpin bends, even uphill ones, were dispatched with ease.
All I had to do was downshift a gear or two via the paddle shifter, give the throttle a light tap, and the coupe would surge forward with G-inducing surefootedness.
The 812 is wide and low, but still offers good forward and lateral visibility. With the raised front fenders defining the front edges of the car and the wing
mirrors acting as guides for the sides, I found it easy to thread my way along narrow Italian streets. For a supercar, the 812 was very manageable.
I was able to drive it in Race mode at Ferrari’s Fiorano circuit. Once again, I was blown away by the 812’s straight-line acceleration and cornering agility.
With the electric power steering, 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox and rear-wheel-steering all working in sync, I felt like a racecar driver. The Lamborghini Aventador S, which also has rear-wheel-steering, is probably a close
match to the 812 in terms of performance figures. But on track, the 812’s finely tuned chassis made it feel more nimble than the Lambo.
I never got anywhere near the 812’s handling limits, but Ferrari test driver Fabrizio Toschi certainly did. I took a “taxi ride” with him and watched as he induced oversteer and drifted out of each corner with surgical precision. Talk about an exhilarating “slide show”.
It may sound clichéd, but Ferrari has managed to create a superlative supercar. As a grand tourer built for both road and track, the 812 has few rivals.
IT MAY SOUND CLICHÉD, BUT FERRARI HAS MANAGED TO CREATE A SUPERLATIVE SUPERCAR.
The body of the 812 Superfast is sensuously curvy and looks, uh, super fast.
The 812 Superfast is so fast that most drivers will only see the back end of this super stallion as it gallops away.