If you get a chance to drive a Ferrari, you say yes without thinking twice about it. When the Ferrari in question is the latest 812 Superfast flagship, your question is when can I drive it? That’s exactly what happened with us. I got a call from Ferrari asking whether I’d like to test out their latest creation. Naturally a positive response from me followed, and the entire trip was planned out in a matter of hours. Planes are usually boring and dull, but they’re even more so when you’re extremely eager to get behind the wheel of, what might be, the best Ferrari ever made. Ferrari LaFerrari excluded of course.
Naming your car Superfast takes a lot of courage. Ferrari has used the moniker in the past but even still, you have to make sure whatever you make turns out to be simply remarkable. They’ve done the same thing with the GTO nameplate, but Superfast implies that the car is special even if you don’t know anything about Ferrari history. So then, the question we’ve all wanted to know: “Is it really super fast?”
The short answer to that question is “Yes”, but more on that in a bit. Upon arriving in Maranello we had an hour or so to kill before we had to rush to Fiorano. Ferrari’s test circuit in Fiorano is the birth place of all things Ferrari. It’s where the company tests its new cars and sees how they stack up against the entire lineup. The track is astonishing, but the facilities surrounding it aren’t far behind. From the massive entrance to the incredible lab-like showrooms and offices. It’s an experience in and of itself.
Then we got to see the car, and wow is it gorgeous in person. I’ll be honest when I say that I wasn’t too thrilled on its looks from the pictures.
The F12 seemed to be a lot more aggressive and nicely proportioned. Seeing it in person though changed everything. The 812 Superfast is every bit as beautiful as the F12 it replaces. The fang-like headlights stand out when looking at the car head on, and the redesigned opening at the bottom of the bumper is even bigger now. It’s all functional of course, but there’s no denying that it looks as cool as you like.
From the side it’s not that different from an F12, but it shares the same basic formula so you can’t really blame them. Plus no one ever criticized the F12 for its design. The 812 is long and low, as any GT car should be. The elongated hood makes the long wheelbase appear even longer, but the short front and rear overhangs ensure it still remains proportional. I especially liked the little crease behind the side windows with an integrated vent. It makes the top half look like a jet canopy.
The rear houses the biggest difference (in my opinion). The new twin taillights replace the old single units, but opinions on the matter seem to be split down the side. I personally like how it looks because it separates it from the F12. It’s not better but different.
The cabin is F12-like, but Ferrari has introduced some changes here and there. The materials are great as usual, but the fit and finish seems to be perfected even more. If you’ve been in an F12 or a 488 you’ll be accustomed to the 812. My favorite part? The HUD screen in front of the passenger with gear, rev and speed info.
At the heart of the 812 Superfast lies a 6.5-liter V12 with 800 horsepower and 530 lb-ft of torque. Start it up and it greets you with a rumble only a V12 can emit. Despite its massive capacity its eagerness to rev is still mind-blowing. Peak power comes at 8,400 and peak torque arrives at 7,000 rpm. The rev limit is 8,900. You don’t get that out of small four-cylinders, let alone a big V12.
Fiorano proved to be a great place to let the 812 stretch its legs a bit. The sprint to 100 km/h takes just 2.9 seconds, but the 7.9 seconds to 200 km/h time is even more impressive. It will break the 330 km/h barrier without breaking a sweat but we didn’t have a chance to test its top speed. Acceleration however, can only be described as brutal. The actual power arrives in a linear and smooth manner, but there’s so much of it that the car never stops pulling. Third to fifth takes less than first to third in most modern hatchbacks. No, really… it’s that fast.
The suspension feels stiffer when compared to the F12, but that simply translates to better feedback on track. Leave all the systems on and the 812 Superfast is a rollercoaster you can control. Turn them off though and you better know what you’re doing. There’s a ton of grip but unless you’re careful the rear tires will have no trouble letting go under all that power. Powersliding is possible even in fourth and fifth with long sweepers. That’s right, I said fifth gear.
To get an idea of what it would be like in the real world (because it’s a GT car after all), we took it around Fiorano on some small twisty roads. The 812 is impressive on the track, but it’s unbeatable on the road. Its (relatively) compact size means it doesn’t feel big even for narrow Italian roads, and the suspension coped beautifully with holes and bumps. The softest setting turns it into a true GT car, much more so than the F12.
You can never escape that big V12 up front though. On public roads, the F12 feels borderline insane. Two seconds of full throttle mean you’re definitely breaking the speed limit, and 5 to 6 seconds will see you up there in potential jail-time territory. It’s too fast for the road, there’s no two ways about it. You can of course lift off at any moment, but that 8,900 rpm redline urges you to nail the V12 and hear it scream.
The way I see it, the 812 has two problems. You’ll have to constantly change rear tires and pay for speeding tickets. On second thought, if you can afford an 812 those aren’t issues.