Ferrari 812 Superfast: The natural order

Some things never change, and we can leave it to Ferrari to stick stubbornly to tradition in the face of an electrifying world — Maranello is launching a naturally aspirated V12-engined Berlinetta that screams to well over 8,000rpm, with a name to match…
By Dejan Jovanovic, Features Writer
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February 25, 2017
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There must be something in that Lake Geneva water. Next month is the 87th running of the annual show in Switzerland and the stars are already lining up. It remains to be seen which ones Geneva will rise to its pedestal of icons — along with the Mercedes SL and Jaguar E-Type and Lamborghini Miura revealed there to gasping onlookers in the Sixties; the classic Range Rover, the Citroën SM in the Seventies; the Audi Quattro and Ferrari 288 GTO in the Eighties… It’s where legends are born.

Maranello wants Geneva 2017 to remain long in memory too, and Ferrari has selected the Palexpo as the place to reveal its most powerful and fastest Berlinetta ever. Seeing as the new 812 Superfast is also likely the final naturally aspirated front-engined V12 Ferrari driving the rear-wheels, Geneva won’t forget it any time soon.

What’s more, 2017 also marks 70 years of Ferrari and the Scuderia says the 812 Superfast will “usher in a new era in Ferrari 12-cylinder history”, which suggests one chapter is being closed by the Superfast. Moving on from the F12 Berlinetta and the succeeding F12 Tour de France, the new model is now the most powerful and exclusive Ferrari in the range with 800 horsepower from its V12 (hence the name) displacing 6.5-litres. This makes the Superfast a
naturally aspirated benchmark with production figures of around 120 horsepower per litre with a rev limit at 8,500rpm. Ferrari claims no other front-engined car has come close to achieving that figure, except it forgot about the 1998 Honda S2000, which also made 120bhp per litre with its little four-cylinder 9,000rpm screamer…

But we’ve always forgiven Ferrari for skewing facts, and you’d be surprised how forgiving you become faced with 0-100kph in 2.9 seconds and a 340kph top speed. Maximum torque in the Superfast is quoted as 718Nm at 7,000rpm, and Ferrari adds that 80 per cent of that is available from 3,500rpm, thanks in part to a new 350 bar direct injection system paired with fancy variable geometry intakes derived from Formula 1 cars. You know, the ones that haven’t won since Singapore 2015, but never mind that.

The 812 Superfast’s 65-degree V12 comes mated to a dual-clutch transmission with improved shift times, and it’s also the first Ferrari ever to come with electric steering. We’ll see how it works partnered up with the company’s latest 5.0 version of the black-magic Side Slip Control drift mode.

You’d have also noticed by now that the Superfast looks rather good, the work of in-house designers at the Ferrari Styling Centre with no input from Pininfarina or anyone outside Maranello. The two-box fastback is inspired by high-tail designs of the past such as the 1969 365 GTB4. The front gets full LED headlights and traditionalists will love the rear, with four round taillights present and correct.

With a dry weight quoted at 1,525kg the 812 Superfast will hit roads as one of the lightest offerings on the market, benefitting from a rear-biased weight distribution of 47:53. wheels will be in Geneva for a closer look next week, bringing you all the news from the show floor. We have a feeling it’ll be a good one.

 

What’s in a name?

Enzo pretty much despised the fact that he had to bother with the riff-raff and make half-butted road cars for those pesky customers… But he did, just to fund his one passion, racing. And in order to do that in a post-war world, he had to go where the money was: America, the land of opportunity. And that opportunity was in, er, Paris… At the 1956 Mondial de l’Automobile, Ferrari first displayed a car it called the 410 Superfast, a car that demonstrated the Italian brand’s desire to cross the Atlantic to what would become its most lucrative market by far. And suitably, the 410 Superfast was as Yank as the Modenese could make ‘em. First of all it wasn’t even red, and it obviously didn’t wear an Italian name tag. Secondly PIninfarina (which used to do most of the Ferrari designs back in the day) styled the body inspired by the ostentatious tail-finned Cadillacs of the day, with a huge amount of chrome added for good measure. Today we’re glad to see this delightfully juvenile name back in the stable.