2013 Ferrari F12berlinetta is the Fastest Prancing Horse Ever [w/ Video]
In the world of front-engine, two-passenger, V12 grand tourers, Ferrari has arguably been the most prolific and most proficient manufacturer in the segment for decades. The lineage is a roll-call of some of the most iconic continent-scarfers in history: 330 GTB. 365 GTB/4 Daytona. 550 Maranello. And the most recent addition to this noble bloodline, the 599 GTB Fiorano.
But the 599’s day in the sun has come to a close, and Ferrari is faced with the Herculean task of topping it. But the storied Italian firm isn’t going to top the Fiorano. No, it’s going to top every one of its previous production models (at least with regard to engine output and lap time around its private test track, also called Fiorano) with its newest nose-motored, dozen-cylinder two-seater, the F12berlinetta.
About that name: We aren’t sure if Ferrari’s legal eagles were in a hurry to get the application to the trademark office and, in their haste, neglected to notice that they forgot to leave a space between the “F12” and “berlinetta,” or that they had also in fact forgotten to capitalize berlinetta. Whatever the case, we’re guessing the “F” is for front engine (or Ferrari), 12 for the number of cylinders, and “berlinetta” because it’s Ferrari’s traditional name for coupes. If it were up to us, we would have gone with something like “630 Mugello.”
Why the “630?” As a reference to the 6.3L V12, of course. It serves up (Are you sitting down?) 730hp and 509 lb.-ft of torque. Both those figures, while insane enough for an extended vacation in a padded cell, are a bit short of frothing-at-the-mouth numbers put up by the 7.3L V12 in the Aston Martin One-77, the king of atmoproduction engine outputs. Still, those are ridiculous sums for a normally-aspirated production car engine, and the most ever for a street-legal production Ferrari. Also: It revs to 8,700 rpm, 200 rpm above the horsepower peak. The engine is matched to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission which, together with aerodynamic advancements and efficiency improvements inside the engine, boost fuel economy by a claimed 30% over the 599.
Naturally, all that brio under the bonnet means the fuel economy isn’t the only thing that’s improved. Ferrari claims the F12berlinetta sprints to 62 mph from a standstill in 3.1 seconds on its way to a terminal velocity in excess of 211 mph. Even if you disagree that those are genuine supercar numbers, you should take note that the F12 set the lap record for a production road car around the company’s Fiorano test track, stopping the clocks at a minute and 23 seconds. That’s one second ahead of the previous recordholder, the 599 GTO, which was itself a second faster than the exhalted Enzo.
But while the F12 puts up supercar numbers, it has looks worthy of the Ferrari V12 GT family legacy. The wide, grinning grille is similar to the one found on the FF, while the side sculpting is definitely a riff on that found on the California‘s flanks, and the T-shaped layout of the rear-fascia and diffuser is clearly 458-inspired. It’s a hodgepodge, but one that actually works quite well. The body is constructed from a dozen different alloys, and the complete car weighs 3,362 lb., or 154 lb. lighter than the 599.
Inside, the cabin is swathed in leather, carbon fiber and aluminum. It’s thoroughly modern, yet easily recognizable as a Ferrari GT cockpit, with some Daytona and Maranello cues. In short, it looks like a great place to spend time behind the wheel.
And speaking of spending, you will be doing a lot of that to get your hands on an F12berlinetta. Figure on an MSRP somewhere north of $350,000, which is quite dear, but when you consider the caliber of cars (and what those cost) that it will run with, it seems like a pretty good deal. Even so, most of us will never be in a position to put one in our garages. However, there are some sweet pictures and videos (including one with Ferrari’s two Formula 1 drivers, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, bombing around Fiorano in a camouflaged prototype) that you can check out.