Ferrari introduces its fastest model yet
Italian automaker officially unveils its 211 mph F12 in Geneva.
Ferrari F12 Berlinetta
My word, the Ferrari stand is exciting here at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. Let me paint a picture: Two examples of the new F12 Berlinetta takes center stage, overshadowing the stunning 458 Spider and making last year's sexy FF look decidedly gawky.
A giant video wall behind the cars shows the 740-horsepower supercar being fishtailed around mountain roads. It's the sheer high speed in the movies that impresses and scares at the same time. Only the most accomplished driver is ever going to do this, and that includes most media road testers in attendance here in Switzerland.
Ferrari F12 Berlinetta
What is it? The F12 Berlinetta is the fastest Ferrari ever. Powered by a 6.3-liter 740-horsepower V12, this front-engine rear-wheel-drive supercar does zero to 62 mph in just 3.1 seconds and has a top speed of more than 211 mph. But it's relatively spacious and fuel-efficient, and packed with incredible technology.
What's hot? This thing just exudes supercar sex appeal. It has cutting-edge aerodynamics; a brand-new space-frame chassis constructed from no fewer than 12 alloys; an integrated suite of electronic control systems; reduced weight; and a lower center of gravity that's pushed farther back in the chassis compared with the Ferrari 599 it replaces. Did we mention the 740-horsepower V12?
What's not? Even if it's not a conventionally gorgeous car, can you name the last Ferrari that was? Some of the visual details are out of this world. Just look at that back-end treatment and the muscular flanks.
How much and when? First hints are that the F12 Berlinetta should just squeeze in beneath $3.9 million before you've even tackled the options list. If that makes you nervous, don't even ask about the price of the show car's three-layer Rosso Berlinetta paint. You can join the queue now, but prepare for a lengthy wait.
Anything else I need to know? As well as zero to 62 mph in 3.1 seconds and that 211 mph-plus top speed, the F12 will hit 124 mph in just 8.5 seconds. Weighing 3,362 pounds, it's 154 pounds lighter than the 599, yet is 20 percent stiffer. The 740-horse engine revs to 8,700 rpm but also produces 509 lb-ft of torque. A 30 percent improvement in fuel economy sees 18.8 mpg combined.
Ferrari California Handling Speciale
What is it? A slimmed-down Ferrari California. It now weighs close to 70 pounds less and produces 30 more horsepower. Clever new aluminium forming techniques take care of the weight loss without compromising the strength, while the extra power comes courtesy of a remapped electronic-control unit and new exhaust manifolds.
What's hot? Beyond those obvious positives, however, there is also the new Handling Speciale package, which adds faster-acting adaptive dampers, stiffer springs and faster steering. The upgrade is said to make the California sharper to drive without ruining the ride comfort.
What's not? All the updates are hidden under the skin, so how exactly is anyone supposed to know your California is a better California?
How much and when? Ferrari is already building the upgraded California, so if you want to join the inevitable waiting list, the car you'll get will benefit from the reduced weight and extra power. At what cost is between you and the dealer.
Anything else I need to know? Adding 30 horsepower takes the California's 4.3-liter V8 engine up from 460 to 490 horsepower and drops the zero-to-62-mph time from four seconds to 3.8. Ferrari hasn't released any economy or emissions data, but expect similar to the current 21.5 mpg.