Excluding its limited-series hypercars (Enzo, LaFerrari et al), the 812 Superfast is the most powerful production road car that Ferrari has yet made. It has 789bhp, which comes exclusively from an atmospheric 6.5-litre V12 engine.
If the rumours are to be believed and the next ‘all-new’ front-engined V12 Super GT car from Ferrari, due in 2020, will be turbocharged, hybridised or both, we should certainly take the opportunity to salute what is, both in prospect and in practice, a quite monumental piece of engineering.
The heavily modified ‘Tipo F140-GA’ 6496cc V12 has enough new internals that we might as well consider it an entirely different engine even to the F12’s 6262cc unit, although it can also trace roots back to the Ferrari Enzo’s 5998cc mill.
Having been ‘stroked’ to produce the necessary additional cubic capacity, the V12 also has a higher compression ratio than the F12’s engine, as well as a higher-pressure fuel injection system, a redesigned exhaust and the ingenious variable induction system of the F12tdf.
It revs all the way to 8900rpm and it produces 530lb ft at 7000rpm, but 80% of the torque is on tap from just 3500rpm. Aston Martin’s DBS Superleggera, which has yet to make it onto UK roads, won’t get within 70bhp of the 812 on peak power and that’s with the help of turbocharging.
Meanwhile, just like in the F12, the 812’s ‘front-mid’ layout means the entirety of the car’s engine block sits behind the car’s front axle line. A rear-mounted seven-speed twin-clutch transaxle gearbox (with intermediate ratios shortened by an average 6% versus the F12) contributes to a claimed weight distribution of 47:53; on our scales, it showed as 49:51.
The car’s steel coil suspension has been stiffened slightly compared with that of the F12, and its adaptive dampers retuned, while the car’s power finds its way to the road via a retuned electronically controlled ‘e-diff’ active differential.
The rolling chassis departs more notably from the template of the F12’s in two key areas: by the addition of the F12tdf’s ‘virtual short wheelbase’ four-wheel-steering system and by the switch from hydraulic to electromechanical power steering. The 812 also borrows its steering rack directly from the F12tdf, while its forged alloy wheels – now fully 10in wide on the front axle – are also the same size as those of the F12tdf.