Purchasing new hardware? Read our latest product comparisons

Ferrari F12 Berlinetta - the fastest Ferrari yet built


February 29, 2012

The unveiling of the Ferrari F12berlinetta at the Geneva Auto Show

The unveiling of the Ferrari F12berlinetta at the Geneva Auto Show

Image Gallery (24 images)

When Ferrari's new 740 bhp, 6262cc, 65° V12, F12berlinetta hits showrooms later this year, it will be the fastest naturally aspirated car to see series production, taking over from the McLaren F1. The replacement for the 599 is the fastest Ferrari ever and boasts an array of technologies we haven't seen before, such as Aero Bridge, Active Brake Cooling, a new generation of carbon-ceramic brakes (CCM3), a further evolution of the magnetorheological suspension control system (SCM-E) plus the usual E-Diff, ESP Premium, F1-Trac, and high-performance ABS control systems.

It's such a remarkable car in every respect that it's almost hard to know what to mention first.

The body of the Ferrari is the first thing you notice - a collaboration between the Ferrari Design Centre and Pininfarina, plus lots of time in the wind tunnel have resulted in another instant classic. The most expensive Ferrari road car available will be a very hot seller, a collector car.

Sculpting a thing of beauty in a wind tunnel must involve great difficulty, but the integration of the design process with extensive computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations and has given not just a good looking car, but one with desirable aerodynamic qualities.

Ferrari claims downforce has been increased by 76 per cent to 123 kg at 200 km/h in comparison with the 599, while aerodynamic drag has been reduced to just 0.299. Toyota claims 0.25 for the Prius and while the real number is less than 0.3, the fact remains that the Prius is slipperier than the new Ferrari.

The new aerodynamic approach uses what Ferrari terms, "Aero Bridge" technology which "uses the bonnet to generate downforce by channelling air away from the upper part of the car to its flanks where it interacts with the wake from the wheel wells to decrease drag."

The all-new spaceframe chassis and bodyshell using 12 different kinds of alloys has been a collaboration with Scaglietti, a company well known for its its expertise in lightweight metal construction. Though the alloys aren't named, Ferrari says that some are being used for the first time in an automotive application, and that new assembly and joining techniques are to be employed.

The result is a 20 per cent increase in structural rigidity and a reduction in weight to 1525 kg, 70 kg less than the previous V12 coupé, with the ideal 46% front and 54% rear weight distribution.

The F12berlinetta's 6262cc 65° V12 engine delivers unprecedented performance and revs for a naturally-aspirated 12-cylinder. Its maximum power output is 740 CV which translates to a specific output of 118 CV/l.

To find the previous record holder for naturally-aspirated vehicles, we had to go back to the 1992 McLaren F1 supercar designed by Gordon Murray.

The F1's 618 bhp V12 gave it the title of the world's fastest production car for a decade, and it still holds the non-supercharged record for production car speed. The F1's carbon fiber monocoque chassis enabled it to tip the scales ready to roll at just 1,140 kg (2,513 lb) - considerably less than the F12berlinetta's 1550 kg.

The performance figures are in the elite league, with a 0-100 km/h time of 3.1 seconds and from 0-200 km/h time of just 8.5 seconds. The F12berlinetta's V12 engine has a peak torque of 690 Nm, with 80 per cent of that torque available from 2,500 rpm to the 8,700 rpm redline, driving through an F1 dual-clutch transmission.

It also completes a lap of the Fiorano test circuit in 1'23", faster than any other Ferrari road car. The previous record for a Ferrari road car was 1'24.00 by a 599 GTO in 2010, preceded by an Enzo which went around in 1'24.90 in 2002 and a 458 Italia 1'25.00 in 2010.

The Ferrari press statement is clear about the handling of the new F12berlinetta, claiming "Benchmark performance and maximum driving involvement are guaranteed by immediate turn-in, with smaller steering wheel angles, and increased cornering speed.

The Active Brake Cooling system

The Active Brake Cooling system is another innovation first - when the carbon disks start getting past their optimum operating temperature, guide vanes are opened to the brake cooling ducts. Not surprisingly, Ferrari is claiming that braking distances have also been drastically reduced.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon

Looks like the Italian folks took lots from the Chevy Corvette, too bad they did not look instead at vintage Ferrari's instead!


Looks like a Corvette.


Technically very nice car. Asthetically, great interior, nice front and rear exterior designs, but what's up with the ugly sculptured side panels. Seem to be trying for the BMW Z3/Z4 look with a little bit of Viper near the hoodline. Not their prettiest car, but it should be a screamer.


Did an American design that? So f'ing terrible. Oh but wait, it's a red Ferrari so people have to act like it's great. You could slap a Chevy badge on that thing and no one would know the difference.

Who needs 750 bhp on a street car? So stupid. Buy a real race car if you want a race car.


I would say that the side panels are to channel the heat coming out of those bonnet ducts for that 'air bridge' downforce. lol the Chevy reference


"The Ferrari F12berlinetta will become the fastest naturally-aspirated road car ever produced, the fastest Ferrari ever produced, and if it can back up its claim of a 340 km/h top speed, the fastest road car ever produced."

You may want to check your wording there... it's not the "fastest road car ever produced" not by a long way. There are many more that are faster the Ultimate Aero TT and Veyron to name two.

Also slippery is not always what they are looking for, unlike the prius it needs downforce because it can reach high speeds, something the prius has no need for.

Robert Sanderson

Chevy could only dream of designing a car shape like this. I agree there are some similarities, but the f12 has much smoother, more delicate haunches and nose than a corvette. As for why do you need a 740hp road car? You don't, same as you don't need a Ferrari at all. I mean in Australia this thing will cost $750,000 + I mean you'll be weighing up if you should by a mansion by the beach or a car and you'll say to youself, "well I already have enough beach mansions. I think I'll get a Ferrari."


i'll be a lopp eared mule.i stand in respectful awe at the Italian genius for designing beauty and soul into a machine.

Cowfy Kaufman

Looks like they took design cues from the Corvette Stingray.

Dave Andrews

No matter how far I stretch my over-active imagination, I can't see how any of the design resembles anything American, certainly not a Stingray of all things. I can't see BMW either. It's Italian and it sets the standards in dramatic inspiration, the rest follows or recoils in horror to a Bauhaus style :)

Nicolas Zart

Looks like something that will be taking in the next Cars movie.


Gotta say, I'm stunned by some of the comments. Given that taste is why Chevy came up with colors for cars..."Take that Henry!" However, some folks here, it seems, when you mention femme fatale, or sexy babe for that matter, can't spock any difference between Ma Kettle and Venus de Milo...or Angelina Jolie or Alison Kosik;o) Styling notes stolen from a Corvette? Who needs a 740hp road car? Folks, go read the Daily News or the Mall Gazette.

Richard Graham

That rear end looks like a G-string.

Denis Klanac

people are gonna talk so much crap until it comes out when it'll be beautiful from EVERY direction and it drives like a 740hp ferrari would be expected to. faster than maybe anything else comparable.


The Megapixel is one hell of a lot better designed.

Why is it that the Ferrari's now have waxed uber contived?

Bill Dickens

Island Architect

Staggering! There's genius in those lines, in that engine.


If there were to be a new Dodge Viper this is the vehicle I would expect to see. But I like the viper so I like this design as well. It looks as though Ferrari is either mimicing American cars or American cars are mimicing Ferrari. Take a look at the 599 GTO as well, it looks just like the new Corvette and the Vette was out 1st. Regardless the cabin still screams Ferrari.

Matt Fletcher
Post a Comment

Login with your Gizmag account:

Related Articles
Looking for something? Search our articles