Forget Superfast, we’re running out of superlatives for Ferrari’s latest range-topper. The 812 Superfast replaces the F12 and is astonishingly quick. Yet it remains comfortable enough to be enjoyed anytime, anyplace, anywhere. Somehow, Ferrari has managed to squeeze even more power from a newly-enlarged 6.5-litre V12 engine, while the seven-speed dual clutch transmission is arguably the best according to multiple reviews. An almost faultless supercar.
Or is it? To me, when I think of a Ferrari, the design of the 812 or the California for that matter doesn't come to mind, it has always been more along the lines of an F40. Yes, that design is outdated, but the same can be said for the 458 and the newer 488. But I guess they have to cater for a greater market.
The figures are breathtaking: a 6.5-litre V12 engine producing 590kw and 718Nm of torque, a top speed of 340km/h and a 0-100km/h time quicker than you can read this sentence. It’s 2.9 seconds, by the way.
Superfast by name, super fast by nature, then? Whatever your thoughts on the slightly dubious name, there’s no denying this Ferrari is more than able to live up to its moniker. And oddly enough, there is no other automotive manufacturer on the planet that can be taken seriously after naming their car "Superfast" other than Ferrari.
It is, of course, a replacement for the old F12 Berlinetta, which at the time was the fastest and most powerful car to emerge from Maranello. A case of history repeating itself and evidence that the front-engined, rear-wheel drive Ferrari V12 is alive and kicking, despite rumours to the contrary.
The 812 Superfast stems from a rich bloodline: before the F12 Berlinetta there was the 599, while the F140 V12 engine dates back to the 480kw Ferrari Enzo of 2002. The V12 is as old as Ferrari itself, with the 125 S powered by the iconic Colombo motor of 1947. The 812 Superfast is, if you like, Ferrari’s way of celebrating its 70th anniversary. Unsurprisingly, nothing was left to chance in the development of this latest masterpiece.
Ferrari would like us to think of the 812 Superfast as an entirely new car, not a replacement for the F12, and it’s not hard to see why. Nothing has been left to chance in the pursuit of perfection. So much so that it’s difficult to know where to start.
The 75 per cent-new V12 motor will grab the headlines – and rightly so – but the engine is merely one part of a supremely effective package. For a start, it’s 60kg lighter than the F12, which makes a huge amount of difference in the real world, especially when paired with the extra horsepower.
Ferrari has also reworked the seven-speed dual clutch transmission to provide 30 percent quicker upshifts, and 40 percent faster downshifts. Merely statistics, you might say, but we’d go as far as saying the 812 Superfast changes gear better than any other road car in history.
Other changes include the torque-variable electric power steering – a first for Ferrari – along with the rear-wheel steering, a new electronic differential, a revised traction control setup and a development of Ferrari’s Side Slip Control.
Combine this arsenal with the new active and passive aerodynamics systems, and you have the makings of an absolute weapon. You need a circuit to be able to enjoy the full breadth of its talents but there’s no disguising the fact that the 812 Superfast was developed primarily for the road. At 4 657mm in length and 1 971mm in width, the 812 Superfast is longer and nearly as wide as a Land Rover Discovery, but a Disco doesn’t have 789 horses attempting to gallop out of the rear wheels. And yet, within minutes, you feel at ease, such is the sophistication of the driving experience.
Assuming you can live with the thirst, this is a Ferrari you could use every day. It’s so usable – from the soothing suspension to the phenomenal traction. Floor the throttle and the 812 will provide limpet-like levels of grip, right up to the 8 900rpm limiter. Of course, turn the traction control off and it’ll slip and skid as you wish.
With such a tech-fest, there’s a danger that the technology can work against you, but in the 812 that’s simply not the case. Everything behaves impeccably, from the brakes to the electric power steering. And yet it rides on relatively conventional Pirelli P-Zero tyres. This truly is a remarkable machine and one that Ferrari will be hard pressed to beat.
Check out what Chris Harris has to say in the video below.