For some makers, function drives form. Ferrari has traditional argued that when it comes to an Italian supercar, both matter. Take the slick new Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, which Ferrari revealed at the Geneva Motor Show today – and which is earning buzz as not only the fastest Ferrari ever, but also the sexiest.
The replacement for the outgoing Ferrari 599 – originally expected to get a 620 nameplate — is the fastest, as well as the most powerful automobile ever to wear the prancing pony badge. Its 6.3-liter V12 will be able to launch the Ferrari F12 from 0 to 60 in about 3 seconds – with a top speed of more than 310 kmh – or nearly 200 mph.
The new model will land in an increasingly crowded supercar market that will feature the likes of the function-over-form McLaren MP4-12C and the extreme-styled Lamborghini Aventador, so the opportunity to deliver anything but extreme performance would have been minimal.
Of course, Ferrari also put a premium on luscious Italian styling, an advantage it figures it can leverage over the incredibly competent competition. The good news is that much of its most distinctive styling elements also have a practical purpose. 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.
While there may be subtle visual similarities to the outgoing 599, the Ferrari F12 is a completely new car, the maker insists, with an all-new chassis that features a slightly shorter wheelbase. The engine, seats and other key components have been lowered to improve the center of gravity.
Ferrari also concentrated on lowering the new supercar’s overall weight, which comes in at 3355 pounds, about 155 less than its predecessor. That helps enhance acceleration, handling – and fuel economy, which is reportedly 30% than the old Ferrari 599.
Under the hood: a naturally-aspirated, 6.26-liter V-12 making 740 horsepower and 509 lb-ft of torque. The maker says that will propel it to 100 kmh (62.5 mph) in 3.1 seconds, with 200 kmh (125 mph) in 8.5 seconds, with the top speed 340 kmh. The F12 reportedly cut something on the order of 2 seconds off the laptime record for a production car at the Fiorano race circuit, at 1:23.
By comparison, the old 599 made 611 horsepower.