The most scintillating of entrées preceded the Geneva Motor Show last week. The world’s fastest-accelerating car was unveiled in the form of the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta.
In almost less time than it will take you to gasp, the car achieves the 0-60 sprint. It reaches 62 mph in just 3.1 seconds. Guaranteed to take your breath away with its beautiful looks as well as its effervescent performance, the price tag may also leave you speechless. Some may say however that the F12 Berlinetta is worth every penny of the £250,000 it costs.
The fluid design of this stunning new supercar shows just what is forthcoming in terms of acceleration, but the dynamic lines are also wondrous to the eye. Contemporary Ferrari hallmark front LED headlights are superimposed on a lowered and wider-aspect front grill. The bonnet leads the beholder to look at the continuing curve over the front wheel arches and along the superlative scarlet bodywork. Even this is an innovation in itself, being a new tone of Ferrari red, being catalogued as Rosso Berlinetta’ a three-layer colour.
Not only is the sculptured silhouette an artwork to enjoy visually, but it is easy to imagine how the aerodynamics contribute to the blistering pace of this car’s acceleration. It is not surprising therefore to learn that the car’s looks are the result of yet another partnership between the Ferrari Styling Centre, and the iconic Italian house of style, Pininfarina.
The F12 Berlinetta has been built to replace the 599 GTB Fiorano and should prove a worthy successor when it goes on sale at the Geneva Motor Show. Whilst the top speed of the F12 Berlinetta, at 212 mph, is not as high as that of the fastest ever Ferrari, the Enzo of 2002 with a top speed of 217.5 mph, it does surpass the 205 mph of the 599 GTB Fiorano. It also reaches 62 mph in 0.6 seconds less than the 599 GTB Fiorano. It gets to 124 mph in only 8.5 seconds, which takes the predecessor 11 seconds. It must be noted that the Enzo did not accelerate as fast, taking 3.65 seconds to reach 62 mph, and new it cost £365,000. A good second-hand Enzo will however cost up to a million pounds today.
In order to achieve this phenomenal performance, the F12 Berlinetta employs a 6.3 litre V12 naturally-aspirated direct injection engine, which lends over 740 bhp to the picture. Acceleration is of course aided by the seven-speed automatic dual clutch gearbox, to add true F1 performance to this production car.
The power to weight ratio also supports driving the car forward at such a blistering pace. The F12 Berlinetta is lighter than its bloodline relative, with a lower centre of gravity. The weight is also distributed further towards the rear of the chassis. This is made possible by the twelve kinds of alloy used to craft the immaculate body shell. Combined with improved aerodynamics and efficiencies, as well as new assembly techniques, these result in a twenty percent improvement in body stiffness and 70 kilo reduction in body weight. Even fuel efficiency is thirty percent better than before.
Indeed it is this focus on the total vehicle which has made the F12 such a staggering performer. Even drag resistance has been a topic of the research which brought the car to market. The beautiful bonnet is not just pretty to look at. It forms part of the ‘Aero Bridge’ which generates downforce by channeling air away from the upper parts of the car to its lower regions.
What is reassuring to know though is that development also focused on the car’s ability to stop, as well as making it go. Stopping distances have been reduced by better cooling to the brakes with the addition of a second Active Brake Cooling system, which opens flaps to the brake cooling ducts only when the pads get hot.
Immaculate Pininfarina styling continues inside the car, and yet the performance aspect is maintained, with Ferrari stating that the design specification was that the ‘cockpit is designed around the driver’. This is epitomised in the race-ready dashboard of F1-style steering wheel with gear change paddles, and carbon fibre and aluminium air vents, ensconced in sumptuous hand-stitched leather to surround the driver in this most luxurious of sports car.
Ferrari is suitably proud of its new supercar, rating it ‘at the top of the high-performance league’. They said that ‘this is, in fact, the most powerful and high-performance Ferrari road car ever launched thanks to the incredibly efficient engine. Together with advanced vehicle architecture, aerodynamics, components and electronic controls, guarantee unsurpassed driving involvement whatever the road or track.’ We prefer their statement that the F12 Berlinetta is ‘a perfect balance of uncompromising aerodynamics with harmonious proportions.’