Ferrari – F12 Berlinetta
Super car manufacturer Ferrari and the all new high performance F12 Berlinetta
Earmarked to be the fastest production car in the world the F12 is set to drive out of Maranello’s gates in 2013. Kevin Taylor investigates the making of the latest offering from Ferrari, its several technological breakthroughs and why its proud manufacturers refer to it as ‘an engine with a soul’
It all started with a press release from the house of Italy’s motoring mega-giant: ‘Ferrari set to launch the fastest production vehicle ever produced.’ Immediately social networks were awash with the news and everyone – from pre-pubescent youngsters to retired businessmen with a newfound vice for motoring – was flooding the Ferrari website to view a first glimpse of the latest offering.
Along with the terms ‘fastest’ and ‘most powerful,’ I immediately expected a shell of a car, with little attention paid to detail and a lot paid on the reduction of weight and increase in aerodynamics and efficiency. Speed and performance almost always go hand in hand with a compromise in aesthetics and personally, I expected the newest Ferrari offering to be far from a good-looking car. Then, suddenly the all-new F12 Berlinetta was revealed in Geneva amongst all of the hype and hullabaloo, and I had no option but to eat my words, coupled with a large side order of humble pie.
This car is beautiful, in every sense of the word. Succeeding the Ferrari 500 GTB Fiorano, aesthetically, the F12 compares to the styling and lines of the California and performance wise, it knocks every other Ferrari out of the ballpark to become the fastest offering by Ferrari yet. The Ferrari stand at the Geneva Motor Show was by far the busiest of the lot, with thousands of enthusiasts, journalists and die-hard yellow-badge fans flocking to get a glimpse of both the red and matte silver versions of this Italian beauty, perched proudly on their respective displays.
Technically speaking, there is a multitude of advances under the bonnet and around the body of the Berlinetta. As a result of the engine sitting 30cm lower and further back into the chassis compared to the 599 there is a noticeably lower centre of gravity. A dual-clutch F1 transmission coupled with a 6.3ℓ V12 engine pummels out 29kW more power to the rear wheels than the Lamborghini Aventador, the Berlinetta’s closest rival. The increase in power and torque has not hindered the clever folks at Maranello from reducing overall fuel consumption by 30 percent and carbon emissions to a surprisingly low 350g/km, 65 grams less than the 599. The cockpit has been maintained to optimise luxury and comfort, with a sizeable storage compartment behind the seats as well as an impressively sized 320-litre boot, large enough to fit a set of golf clubs. Two extremely stylish leather luggage pieces also come with the purchase of the F12 as a classic Ferrari value-add.
Aerodynamically, years of research and development have gone into the body of the Ferrari F12. One of the car’s many features include the automatically closable air vents in the front of the car allowing air to flow in and cool the brakes when they are being pushed to their limits. Two bridges on the side of the bonnet above each wheel arch have also been installed to allow for air to travel over the bonnet and down through the bridges and across the side of the car’s body, significantly reducing drag and turbulence around the front wheels when at speed. This helps to reduce the overall drag co-efficient to less than 0.3, even with an incredible 123kg of downforce in the bonnet at a speed of 200km/h. This is all impressively accomplished with no bulky and unsightly rear spoiler, retractable or otherwise, and no other protruding parts of the vehicle to increase or decrease drag in relation to speed. I can’t help but be amused with the thought of Christian von Koenigsegg sitting in his Swedish design studio, pondering over how Ferrari accomplished this.
To me, it seems Ferrari has built the impossible with the F12. In comparison to the 599, the Berlinetta is 70kg lighter, 47mm shorter, 63mm lower and 20mm narrower, however, with all this nipping and tucking, it can still accommodate two passengers of 1.95m tall quite comfortably. The new chassis also meets all future safety norms, with side intrusion and roof roll protection systems a standard. The latest generation Magnetorheological damping system (SCM) means a more intelligent car, responding faster to changes in the road surface and driver over-compensations.
All-in-all, Ferrari has managed to combine the legendary and time-old tradition of front-engine V12 cars, with the aerodynamics and performance expected in the supercars of tomorrow. With a modern rear end, two LED round lights pay homage to the legendary models of old while moving forward to a new age of Ferrari technology ushered in by this beast of a beauty. One of the signature cabin features is the F1-inspired gearbox and hazard warning lights, and the general feel of the cabin is sophisticated and luxurious without taking away too much of the sportiness and brut power of the engine growling under the bonnet. The dash is encased with luxurious leather, carbon-fibre panel shifters and metallic controls – all adding to a very solid feel.
|0 – 100km/h||- 3.1 seconds|
|0 – 200km/h||- 8.5 seconds|
|Maximum speed||- 340km/h|
|Gearbox 7-speed||- F1 dual clutch|
|Max power||- 544kW|
|Estimated Price||- Over US$300 000|
|Service plan||- 7 years (Claimed by Ferrari Italy)|
Set for European release in mid-2013 and, judging by the massive success during the Geneva Motor Show, the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta is set to become one the most successful additions to their fleet of renowned supercars.