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Ferrari F12 Berlinetta in the driving report: Most powerful road Ferrari

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Ferrari F12 Berlinetta in the driving report
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Well, it works. Successors don't necessarily have to get bigger - sports cars don't anyway. F errari is setting a good example with the new Super GT: the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta is 4.7 centimeters shorter, two narrower and 6.3 flatter than its predecessor, the 599 GTB Fiorano.

It should be clear that the V12 models in particular are good for surprises. After all, they established the fame of the brand, which is made up of adorable bodies, hot-blooded engines and technical innovations. However, since the Ferrari 355 GTB in the nineties at the latest, the eight-cylinder has overtaken its big brother in fascination - regardless of whether it is called the 550 Maranello, 575M or 599 GTB Fiorano. The latter became bigger and more sedate, of course getting stronger to compensate, but alienated themselves from the ideal of a sports car. That attracted a more sedate clientele. A turning point in this development is certainly the exceptional athlete Ferrari 599 GTO from 2010, which Roberto Fedeli, head of technology, proclaimed as the driving dynamics benchmark for the new twelve-cylinder generation during the conception

This announcement should actually raise expectations, were it not for the somewhat slowing-down experience with its predecessors. On the other hand, the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta sparked desire with its sculptural attraction when it was unveiled. And so the mind drifts in the morning in an indifferent dichotomy, which can hardly be articulated - in the awareness of being able to drive a Ferrari right away. One with 740 hp.

It's hard to believe that this is the most powerful road Ferrari of all time - with a performance on the level of current Formula 1. There was the F40, F50 and the Enzo, all of them were wild Fighter attire were immediately recognizable as hotspurs. And the wingless Ferrari F12 Berlinetta should put it in the shade?

Fiorano, pit lane. The 6.2-liter runs with a deep humming warmth. It is based in its main features on the Enzo and 599 engines, but now has thirst-restraining direct injection: 30 percent lower consumption than in the predecessor. When driving off, the sound stays clean, is present in the interior, not intrusive. Even when at full throttle the Ferrari's exhaust flapsOpen the F12 Berlinetta, the twelve-cylinder does not creak like in the 599 GTB, but tumbles into melodious screaming like a rock singer. Comparable to Metallica's orchestral version of “Nothing else matters”.

Formula 1-like howling from outside

From the outside, with increasing engine speed, a Formula 1-like howling mixes in, while inside the typical cooing of a large-volume intake system swells. Two ear tubes transport it as an amplifier to the bulkhead at the height of the A-pillars, which neither sounds artificial nor synthetic. On the contrary: The sound of the V12 of the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta comes closer to its legendary forefathers.

Including a hint of screeching, after all, the engine revs up to 8,700 rpm. It is hard to imagine that twelve giant pistons slide through the combustion chambers here. You react to the accelerator pedal as if with premonition: the moving mass of the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta seems reduced to the minimum of a racing engine. Anyone who accelerates while idling is almost shocked by the rate of speed.

Power development without fatal moment of surprise

Still Once the naturally aspirated engine proves its fine-nerved fascination, against which even the most modern turbos act like gross motorists. It makes a decisive contribution to the easy drivability of the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta: The power unfolds linearly without holes or plateaus, knows no fatal moment of surprise or pushing after the throttle valves have long been closed.

740 hp does not build up suddenly, but with unyielding persistence. As early as the second lap in Fiorano, you fine-tune the ideal line, shift the braking point ten meters further forward - because everything goes by itself and the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta lets it do it. And because the ceramic brake pedal finally has a wide pressure range.

Unshakable mechanical traction of the multi-link rear axle

For the first time in the V12 series, an electronically controlled differential distributes the torque to the rear axle. This means that the mechanical traction of the multi-link rear axle is unshakable - up to the point where the driver demands a drift when the ESP is switched off. But even then, you can measure the cockiness, as can only be done with a perfectly balanced chassis. Because the engine is completely huddled behind the front axle, only 46 percent of the fully fueled 1,630 kilograms weigh on it. In general, the engineers lowered the center of gravity, including the seats, significantly compared to the 599 and saved 50 kilograms of weight on the aluminum chassis. Overall, the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta should be 70 kilograms lighter than its predecessor.

The feeling of being integrated is similar to that of the mid-engined 458 Italia. Because theWhen the driver sits at the center of the feedback, he can also fully utilize the potential of the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta on country roads. However, with a standing start under optimal conditions, the permissible speed should be reached after 3.1 seconds, which is partly due to the jagged shifting strategy of the seven-speed dual clutch transmission.

Comfortable comfort in the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta

The worse the road gets, the harder you accelerate, the more the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta sucks on because it absorbs all the bumps in the depths of its adaptive shock absorbers and does not pass them on to the chassis. Neither a Mercedes CL 65 AMG nor the Lamborghini Aventador offers this spread between supple comfort and ambitious firmness. The Ferrari F12 Berlinetta even masters the swinging dance of the smaller 458 Italia, controlled by steering corrections, which are minimal thanks to a direct ratio of 1: 11.5. So he meanders through the hills and, thanks to 690 Nm, heaves himself energetically from the apex.

In Fiorano, his skills bring him the crown of the fastest road Ferrari of all time. In one race, he would beat the super sports car Enzo by two and the 599 GTO by one second per lap. While both can feel the ride on the knife edge with racing pulse and adrenaline flood, the driver in the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta Berlinetta never feels overwhelmed. The front-engine two-seater quickly makes that it is not extreme, but balanced. He rests in himself like a Buddhist, with the self-confident serenity of not having to prove anything - and yet being able to do everything.


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