Engine, transmission and technical details
The Superfast is powered by a 6496cc V12 that is 75 per cent new. It’s essentially the F12’s 6.2-litre V12 but has a longer 78mm stroke that stretches capacity, plus a compression ratio of, deep breath, 13.64:1. As a result of this, plus numerous other internal upgrades – predominantly to the intake system to maximise the efficiency of the combustion process and help it breathe better, basically – the new V12 produces 789bhp at 8500rpm, 529lb ft at 7000rpm (although 80 percent of this is available from 3500rpm) and revs to a quite magnificent 8900rpm before the limiter intrudes.
The shape of both the power and torque curves are quite different from those of the F12, in which the torque fell away towards the top end. In the 812, however, torque is stronger from the word go and builds to a crescendo until the rev limiter comes into play, pretty much mirroring the power curve. And this, says Ferrari, provides the 812 with a subjectively more exciting form of power delivery; one that builds very quickly as the revs rise, becoming stronger and more visceral the faster the engine spins.
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The exhaust features a six into one manifold that is, again, a fair bit more efficient than the system used in the F12, says Ferrari, allowing the engine to breathe better both in and out. And the sound it allows the V12 to emit over the last 3000rpm needs to be experienced to be believed.
Power is delivered to the rear wheels via the familiar seven-speed dual clutch gearbox, which has been tweaked with shorter gear ratios and shifts that are 30 per cent faster on the way up the ‘box, and 40 percent quicker on the way down. The electronically controlled rear differential also incorporates the F1-TRAC technology and the fifth iteration of the brand’s Slide Slip Control.
Highlights under the skin include a new electronic four-wheel-steering system that increases stability everywhere, while dramatically improving turn-in response and eradicating understeer. Called Virtual Short Wheelbase, it’s a development of the somewhat spikier-reacting set-up first seen on the TdF. There’s also a new F1-TRAC electronic differential and a fifth-generation version of Ferrari’s side slip control system, which is engaged (or disengaged) via the tradition manettino switch on the steering wheel.
At the front there’s a new electric power steering system with variable torque assistance, which sounds a bit weird and indeed is, slightly, to begin with. It’s especially so when you realise that the system is actively designed to help you apply opposite lock when the rear end steps out of line.
The brakes are by Brembo and feature vast 398mm carbon-ceramic discs at the front and almost as big 360mm CC rotors at the rear. Interestingly, the tyres are regular Pirelli P Zeros rather than Corsas, Ferrari justifying this choice on the grounds that it wants the 812 to be perceived as a fully usable road car first, not a full-on track weapon that can merely be tolerated on the road.