When Maranello announced the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta on the eve of the 2012 Geneva motor show, its billing as the fastest road-going Ferrari ever made, either in terms of bald acceleration or around the firm’s Fiorano handling circuit, or indeed anywhere, was formidable.

The supercar cognoscenti would probably still be in awe of all that now, if it weren’t for the models that Ferrari has unveiled since: specifically, one headline-stealing 950bhp hybrid.

Overshadowed or not, though, the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta is a landmark in its own right, and having been to Italy to sample it, witnessed it disdainfully dismiss the equivalent Lamborghini in a comparison test and seen it come painfully close to scooping our 2013 Best Driver’s Car title, it’s time to get well and truly under this car’s ingeniously sculpted aluminium skin.

Although Ferrari has been making front-engined V12 grand touring sports cars for the road for almost six decades, the car to which the new F12 owes its biggest debt is probably the 275 GTB of 1964.

Since the 275, Maranello has made equivalent front-engined V12 models in the form of the 365 GTB/4 (Daytona), 550 Maranello, 575M and 599. But during a 23-year gap between the Daytona and 550, it abandoned the front-engined V12 concept to experiment with mid-engined flat 12 models such as the Testarossa.

It’s not just those with a cool quarter of a million pounds of vested interest in this car who will be interested to discover the full breadth and scope of the Ferrari F12’s talent and stature, however, and nowhere will you give a fuller picture.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Alpina B4 S
    First Drive
    25 September 2017
    Our first UK drive in Alpina’s more potent sports coupé emphasises the breadth of ability on offer from this Bavarian alternative
  • Genesis G70
    First Drive
    22 September 2017
    Based on the Kia Stinger, Genesis' new G70 saloon shows plenty of promising signs that it could be a hit in Europe
  • Lamborghini Aventador S
    First Drive
    22 September 2017
    Still visceral and dramatic as ever, but does the vast number of mechanical changes and tweaks help make the Lamborghini Aventador S more engaging?
  • Renault Koleos
    Car review
    22 September 2017
    Renault’s new crossover sees the Koleos name return, attached to an SUV of a quite different stripe
  • Nissan X-Trail
    First Drive
    21 September 2017
    On our first chance to get the facelifted Nissan X-Trail on UK roads, the petrol proves a viable alternative, although for outright pulling power the 2.0 dCi is the better bet