July 18 2013
Ferrari F12 Berlinetta Driven
RMA Track Days talk about the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta...
What is it?
The Ferrari F12 Berlinetta is Ferrari’s replacement for the 599 GTB and the company has thrown everything at it to ensure it’s vastly quicker than its seminal predecessor, but also that it’s more enjoyable at low speeds. It claims to be both GT and supercar, mixing front-engined packaging and civility with exotic, F1-inspired dynamic ability. The headlines are that’s it’s considerably smaller (50mm shorter, 60mm lower, 20mm narrower and with a 20mm shorter wheelbase), 70kg lighter at 1525kg (dry), produces more downforce and has a much lower centre-of-gravity. But you’ll need to have exceptionally deep pockets to get into one: it costs from £239,352.
Where to begin? Let’s start with the V12. Similar in size to the Ferrari FF's engine but significantly re-engineered to produce more power, rev higher and ensure much quicker throttle response. It produces an almost unbelievable 730bhp at 8250rpm (it revs to 8700rpm) and 509lb ft at 6000rpm. All that mumbo is transmitted to the 315-section rear tyres via a 7-speed dual clutch transaxle and Ferrari’s E-Diff – the 599 made do with a single clutch ‘box and a normal mechanical limited slip differential.
The results are startling: 0-62mph in 3.1-seconds, 0-124mph in 8.5-seconds and a top speed of over 211mph. Those acceleration figures put it ahead of a McLaren F1. Around Fiorano it’s faster than an Enzo or even the ultra-extreme 599 GTO.
Of course there’s so much more. The F12 gets the latest evolution of Ferrari’s adaptive magnetorheological dampers (SCM-E), which react much more quickly, improved carbon-ceramic brakes and, as ever, the relentless evolution of the many traction and stability systems sees huge gains in control and speed. Then there’s the already famous ‘aero-bridge’ – ducts set into the front wings – which reduces drag and improves downforce, plus active brake cooling ducts that only open when the discs are getting really hot, to reduce drag. The list of technical highlights is almost endless. Ferrari has retained an aluminium chassis for the F12 but new materials increase stiffness and reduce weight.
The aim was to create a car with mid-engined agility (and traction) but in a more usable package. Ferrari’s V12 customers tend to do higher mileage than those rather gauche V8 clients, apparently.
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