Despite that last-minute name change you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone unhappy with Ferrari's announcement considering the Italian maker kept its word when it comes to what matters: The Ferrari F12 Berlinetta will be the fastest and most powerful car ever to wear the prancing horse logo. Better yet, if initial reviews reflect what buyers have to say, it just may be the sexiest Ferrari ever.
As with any supercar, form has to follow function, but the replacement for the outgoing Ferrari 599 is decidedly more curvaceous than the function-over-form McLaren MP4-12C, while not quite going as far over the top as the Lamborghini Aventador.
Nonetheless, the F12's luscious Italian curves aren't there just for looks. Most of the distinctive styling details have very practical application. That includes the new Ferrari F12's Aero Bridge, a new concept that generates additional downforce by funneling air flowing over the hood to its flank. Then there's the Active Brake Cooling system, which uses active vanes to guide air, when needed, through ducts to improve brake performance.
Weight was at the top of the list when Ferrari engineers set out to design the new F12 Berlinetta. The maker has able to drive down mass by about 360 pounds compared to the old 599, the new supercar coming in at 3363 pounds. One trick was to slightly shorten the new model: overall length down by 2 inches. Another was more extensive use of lightweight materials including a new, aluminum-intensive spaceframe.
Better yet, the overall mass is closer to the ground. It sits 2.5 inches lower. By repositioning the engine and other key components Ferrari has notably lowered the center of gravity, which should mean a definable improvement in handling, as well as performance.
The F12 engine is a naturally aspirated 6.3-liter V12 making 740 horsepower and 509 pound-feet of torque, with power routed through a 7-speed double-clutch gearbox. Compare that to 611 hp for the old Ferrari 599.
Ferrari claims the new V12 will launch the F12 from 0 to 100 kmh (62.5 mph) in just 3.1 seconds, which should translate to a 0-60 time of 3.0 seconds, maybe just slightly under. But 60 is just warming up, with the F12 rated for a top speed of 212 mph.
Perhaps the most telling statistic comes from preliminary testing on the grueling Fiorano race track, where the F12 reportedly cut something on the order of 2 seconds off the laptime record for a production car, at 1:23.
There are a number of performance-enhancing features, including Ferrari's E-Diff, F-1 Trac and magnetorheological damping system. Also standard: carbon ceramic brakes.
The interior has also gone through a significant upgrade. All infotainment-related displays are routed through the new Human Machine Interface cluster that first appeared on the Ferrari FF.
Ferrari plans to launch the new F12 Berlinetta in June 2012, though Americans will have to wait until later in the year. Precisely how much cash will you need in hand? Ferrari isn't saying yet, but expect it to carry at least a moderate premium over the current $312,993 for the outgoing 599.