Saddle the prancing Stallion
By: Ray Leathern
The F12berlinetta is for the Ferrari enthusiast who doesn’t get out of bed for less than 544 kW.
The F12berlinetta (correct spelling) ushers in the final act in the new generation of V12 prancing horses and replaces the outgoing Ferrari 599 front-engined GT-come-supercar. It also completes Ferrari’s range of V12 models that also includes the all-wheel drive, four-seater Ferrari FF.
Ferrari now offers a different range of Ferraris for different Ferraristi. This refers to Ferrari’s expansion with the front-engine V8 California 2+2 and the aforementioned all-wheel drive V12 FF.
As for the F12berlinetta, well, this V12 beast matches the ever-increasing power outputs of the world’s lavishly-powered, new breed of supercars and until LaFerrari arrives (and it’s doubtful one will ever actually make it to South Africa), it is quite simply the most powerful and most high-performance, road-going Ferrari ever built. That’s quite an impressive statement when you consider the illustrious history of Ferrari.
The F12berlinetta is built around highly evolved transaxle architecture and features state-of-the-art components and control systems. The F12berlinetta’s aerodynamics has also been honed to the extreme in an innovative body design that builds on that of the 599, but in many respects redefines classic Ferrari themes.
The F12berlinetta’s wheelbase is shorter and its engine, dashboard and seats are lower in the chassis. A new suspension and gearbox layout helped reduce the car’s rear volume. The result is a shorter, lower and narrower car than the 599. The F12berlinetta boasts ideal weight distribution (54% over the rear axle) as well as a lower centre of gravity that is further back in the chassis.
The space-frame chassis and body shell are completely new, and now incorporate no less than 12 different alumminium alloys, some of which have been used for the first time in the automotive sector. New assembly and joining technologies were also adopted in its construction. This has allowed the car’s overall weight to be kept to just 1 525 kg and has maximised its performance efficiency with torsional rigidity boosted by 20%.
At the heart of the machine is the direct-injection 6.3-litre V12 engine which delivers unprecedented performance for a naturally-aspirated powerplant. It punches out a maximum of 544 kW at 8 250 r/min, with a specific power output of 87 kW/L and maximum revs of 8 700 r/min. Responsiveness and strong pick-up is guaranteed with maximum torque of 690 Nm, 80 per cent of which is readily available at 2500 r/min.
With a Fiorano lap time of just 1-minute 23-seconds, 0 – 100 km/h acceleration in 3.1 seconds and 0-200 km/h in 8.5 seconds, the F12berlinetta is as mentioned before, quite simply the most high-performance road car in Ferrari history.
And yet greater efficiency results in reduced fuel consumption and emissions by an impressive 30%; achieved through in-depth, 360-degree research into all vehicle systems; the engine, aerodynamics, tyres, brakes and ancillaries. This places the F12berlinetta at the top of the segment with 15 L/100 km and 350 g/km of CO2 respectively. Not exactly low figures, but for 544 kW, we suppose that’s not too bad.
A host of new aerodynamic solutions have been discreetly integrated in the F12berlinetta’s styling. These include the ‘Aero Bridge’ which is a first for a road car – and uses the bonnet to generate down force. It employs Active Brake Cooling; a system that opens guide vanes to the brake cooling ducts only at high operating temperatures. The result of these interventions is that the F12berlinetta has the highest overall aerodynamic efficiency of any Ferrari ever built (a value of 1.2 which is double that of the 599 GTB Fiorano) with downforce of 123 kg at 200 km/h and a Cd of just 0.299.
The result of collaboration between the Ferrari Styling Centre and Pininfarina, the F12berlinetta features harmonious and balanced proportions. It is a truly original, innovative coupé with all of the signature features of an authentic Ferrari V12. Clothed in sleek, aggressive lines, it offers superb occupant space and comfort despite its relatively compact dimensions.
The rear is characterised by a modern, functional reinterpretation of the ‘Kamm tail’ which seamlessly integrates the two vertical fences of the rear diffuser. The resulting, original T-shape also incorporates two full-LED circular tail-lights and the clearly F1-inspired rear fog light.
The F12berlinetta’s technical specifications are completed by the very latest version of the carbon-ceramic braking system, a further evolution of the magnetorheological suspension (SCM-E) and the latest development in electronic vehicle control systems (E-diff, ESC, F1-Trac, and high-performance ABS). All controls are integrated in a single, fast-responding, CPU featuring newly calibrated software.
The interior focusses on something intrinsic to Ferrari’s DNA; the advanced technology that comes in the form of the ‘Human-Machine Interface’ which places all controls within easy reach of the driver. The cabin has been optimised to ensure maximum usability of the interior space with additional luggage capacity behind the seats, which can also be easily reached thanks to the large aperture offered by the tail-gate.
Ferrari say the F12berlinetta offers unprecedented levels of sportiness, high-performance character with incredible versatility, superb comfort and sophisticated elegance, guaranteeing both driver and passengers an absolutely unique driving experience. Price is on application (POA), but rumour has it that it’s about R5-million and people are buying F12s to ensure they qualify to buy LaFerrari. That’s a great investment we say.