The F12 continues Ferrari’s recent trait of extremely light and remarkably quick steering, as Maranello attempts to make its cars feel more agile than their kerb weights – in this case, a respectable 1715kg full of fuel – would suggest.
At just two turns lock to lock, and with a decent turning circle, the F12 feels endowed with the steering DNA that runs through Ferrari’s other models. The Ferrari’s steering is so quick and light that this car belies its weight, albeit not its size, on turn-in, which is notably brisk. Then it settles into steady-state understeer if you let it.
There’s so much power here, though, and it comes in so quickly, that you can push through any understeer at any speed, in any gear, with a flex of the right foot.
That’s when you’ll feel the need to be on top of your game, because such is the ferocity and immediacy of the response – of both throttle and steering – that it can get quite unsettling. Keep your nerve, though, and you’ll find that this is a faithful, well balanced car that can be steered on the throttle easily and without fear.
At lower speeds, that makes the F12 feel like an easy-going companion. The magnetorheological dampers have soft and firm settings, and you’d use both, because neither is pushed to an extreme. And with a progressive clutch take-up and tractable engine, only the car’s physical bulk, of which there is plenty (although much of it is unseen ahead of the windscreen), makes it feel a little unwieldy.
That said, because the reserves of power are always there and always so accessible, it pays to keep the steering wheel’s Manettino switched to a conservative ESP mode if you are just ambling around. The electronics are involved frequently at even a modest pace and, coupled to the steering’s quickness, make the F12 a less relaxing drive than, say, a V12 Vantage S.
Similar things apply with increased speed, only they (naturally) happen more quickly. The F12’s ride is adeptly controlled, and it’s only ever visibility and the law that limit the speed with which you can cross country, such are the F12’s levels of ability.
On a circuit, at first it will be as much your nerve as the Ferrari’s power that limits the speed at which you’ll travel. We can’t think of a race track where you’d crave more poke. Traction is actually very strong in a straight line, but put cornering forces into the mix and the available power will always find a way to overwhelm the rear tyres.