Ferrari’s F12berlinetta breaks cover, and records

F12berlinetta. Not just F12 Berlinetta, but F12berlinetta, complete with lower case ‘b’. That’s the odd name Ferrari have given to the fastest and most powerful production vehicle to have come out of Maranello, a car the world will simply call the F12.

Now we’ve seen the pictures, who’s going to care? We’ve not gone misty eyed over a Ferrari for a long time, agreeing that the 18 year old F355 was the last really pretty Ferrari. We appreciate the 458 Italia, but it’s brutal rather than pretty.

This new F12 though… it really is pretty.

It’s rather fast, too. The top speed is over 210 mph, but the 6.3 litre 12 cylinder engine also unleashes a monumental 730 bhp and 509 lb/ft of torque that propels the car from 0-62 mph in just 3.1 seconds. Similarly, standstill to 125 mph takes an incredible 8.5 seconds, thanks in part to a diet of aluminium and exotic alloys that reduces the weight of the F12 by 70 kg compared to the outgoing 599.

Thanks to that light weight construction, tipping just 1,525 kg on the scales, the F12 can also return some remarkable fuel economy figures. Company car drivers may not be impressed with 18.9 mpg on the combined cycle, but in supercar company that’s rather good.

Ferrari’s traditional transaxle layout has been fiddled with to match the more extreme performance of the car. The wheelbase has been shortened and the engine, dashboard and seats have been lowered in the chassis, while the new layout of the rear suspension and gearbox enabled Ferrari’s engineers to make the back of the car smaller. The overall result leaves the F12 as a very compact car with a low centre of gravity that’s further back in the chassis.

Similarly steps have been taken with the aerodynamic development of the F12. Downforce has been boosted by 76 per cent (123 kg at 125 mph) while drag has been reduced to just Cd 0.29, the same as the current Corvette.

A unique aero development on the F12 is the ‘Aero Bridge’ which uses the bonnet to generate downforce by channelling air away from the upper part of the car and down the sides via a ‘floating’ front wing panel where it interacts with the wake from the wheel wells to decrease drag.

Added to this is Active Brake Cooling, a system that opens guide vanes to the brake cooling ducts only when Ferrari’s latest generation carbon-ceramic brakes are running at high operating temperatures, again reducing drag.

Ferrari’s magnetorheological suspension control system (SCM-E) has again evolved, while the cars control systems (E-Diff, ESP Premium, F1-Trac, and high-performance ABS) are all fully integrated, giving immediate turn-in, with smaller steering wheel angles, and increased cornering speed. Mated to an F1 dual-clutch system, with closer gear ratios than on previous generations, the F12berlinetta laps the famous Fiorano circuit in just 1 minute 23 seconds, faster than any other Ferrari road car in history.

Inside, the all-new Frau leather interior highlights the balance of advanced technology and handcrafted detailing. 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 tail-gate.

As with all modern Ferrari’s, the ‘Human Machine Interface’ approach is emphasised, grouping all the major commands within immediate reach of the driver. Usually by sticking them on the steering wheel.

And did we mention it’s pretty?

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Phil is a motoring writer for print and web, failed racing driver, car hoarder and banger rally competitor. Nominated for the Headline Auto Rising Star award and a MGMW member, Phil freelances for outlets as diverse as Diesel Car magazine, DAD.info and Cambridge Magazine, amongst many others. He also maintains a fleet of unloved motors, but spends most of his time driving an old Corvette.

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