Road Test: Ferrari F12 Berlinetta
A complete road test of the new flagship of the Ferrari model range, the F12 Berlinetta.
Ferrari renews its V12 GTs on a 7 year product cycle, and the F12 was right on schedule on the brand’s booth at the 2012 Geneva autoshow. To improve on the 599 GTB it replaced, the marketing brief had to be ambitious. A seemingly impossible combination between world domination in terms of performance and, at the same time, exceed customers expectations in terms of every day usability. The new car had to be beautiful and distinctive, emotional at first sight. The verdict was immediate on this last point. As of March 5th 2012, it was clear that Ferrari and Pininfarina had penned another masterpiece.
In this Rosso Berlinetta livery, the F12 Berlinetta has fascinating visual presence. One of the two launch colors, it is a deep, slightly ruby red, rich but not vulgar. Certain lines remind me of the 550/575 Maranello. Pininfarina returned to a more horizontal waist line, while the 599 Fiorano signature was a wedged stroke, linking a low front and an elevated stern. The F12 is also more compact than the 599. Shorter by 47mm, the F12 is only 4.62m long. It has also shed 20mm in width and a massive 63 mm in height. The difference is striking, furthermore when the F12 is parked alongside the two previous models. The 599 almost looks like an intruder in this trio, and the modern features of the F12 brings bold contrast with the classic and contained styling of the Maranello. Where the Fiorano looked imposing in comparison with 550, the F12 looks compact and well proportioned.
Pininfarina has done outstanding work on the F12, both from an esthetic and functional standpoint. Design highlights include the Aero Bridges. Grooves dug in the bonnet run on either side of the V12 then dive on the flanks under these blades. It is difficult to assess the aerodynamic, but the styling feature is very distinctive. At the rear, Ferrari has adopted a “Kammtail” design, a sharp cut named after an german aerodynamics pioneer. Wunibald Kamm established that most of the air flow advantages of a water drop shape can be achieved by cutting the tail abruptly. On the tail, a fold runs from the circular lights and converges on a F1-styled fog light and the diffuser outlets.