Ferrari launches its fastest road car ever, the F12 Berlinetta

Ferrari has taken the wraps off its quickest, most powerful series production car ever, the F12 Berlinetta.

Due to debut at the Geneva Motor Show shortly, the F12 will replace the 599 GTB Fiorano and become Ferrari's flagship supercar.
A 6.3-litre V12 engine with 730bhp gets it to 62mph in just 3.1 seconds and onto a top speed eclipsing 211mph. It is more powerful than the Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4, and will race to 124mph in just 8.5 seconds.

Each and every one of those 730 figurative horses is sent to the rear wheels through a seven-speed, twin-clutch, paddle-shifter gearbox.

Ferrari claims the F12 sets new standards for aerodynamic efficiency, which is to say that it's extremely slippery.

Compared to the 599, it has a shorter chassis and a significantly lower centre of gravity, while the aluminium spaceframe chassis is lighter and a whopping 20% stiffer.

More impressive than that, though, is that despite being 118bhp more powerful than the 599, the F12 is 30% more economical.

Emissions are 350g/km. That's so high as to make no difference to the taxman, yes, but still 48g/km fewer than the Aventador's, if we're counting. The F12's official combined economy is 18.8mpg, a significant improvement on the 599's 15.8mpg.

The bodywork, styled by Ferrari in conjunction with longstanding design partner Pininfarina, might have clear hints of the 458 Italia, but there's not much on the F12 that isn't dictated by aerodynamic efficiency; the F12 has spent a whole lot of time in a wind tunnel.

The F12's body generates 76% more downforce than the 599's, while drag is significantly reduced, thanks in part to a clever bonnet that directs air away from the upper half of the car. It also has active air vents over the brakes, which only open when the stoppers really need cooling down.

Once again, Ferrari has been breaking records on its own Fiorano test track - the F12, says the company, goes around it quicker than any other road car it's ever made.

The steering rack has been sharpened so that it takes laughably small inputs to get the car turning in, while all kinds of Formula One-inspired electronic trickery has gone into ensuring it corners with unfathomable speed and agility.

The latest iteration of Ferrari's magnetorheological suspension setup controls the minutiae of wheel travel at all times, while the electronic differential, stability control and anti-lock braking systems all work in harmony to aid speed rather than stifle it.

Stifling speed is sometimes necessary, though, and to that end the F12 has the biggest, finest set of carbon-ceramic brakes ever fitted to a Ferrari road car.

The cabin takes its inspiration from Ferrari's FF 'family car', and gets an added dose of usability compared to the 599 courtesy of a luggage space behind the seats. It's a hatchback, too.

The cockpit is awash with proper carbon fibre, including for the air vents, gearshift paddles and, naturally, the cup holder.

It's all good...except that Ferrari appears to have stuck a 1980s-style LCD rev counter on the passenger side, above the glove box. Look closely above and you'll see it. Maybe they're planning on selling the F12 to driving instructors?

No word on the price of this very lavish L-plate runabout, but the F12 will be on sale before the end of the year and cost somewhere in the region of £250,000.
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