This is the successor to the F12berlinetta and while it sounds fancy to us non-Italian folk, it’s really just a coming-together of an alphanumeric designation.
Loosely decoding the F12berlinetta into English, it’s really just a ‘F’errari V ‘12’ ‘little saloon’.
But with the 812 Superfast, it now sounds a lot less exotic (at least to our ears) and a lot more egoistic.
Here, its name simply refers to the ‘8’00PS of performance and the ‘12’ cylinders in V-configuration before describing how it actually drives...’superfast’ indeed.
The 6.5-litre F140 GA naturally aspirated 65-degree V12 engine has been up-rated to an increased displacement of 6,496cc - producing a whopping 800PS at 8,500rpm and 718Nm of torque at 7,000rpm.
This is quite a significant improvement compared to the F12’s 6,262cc F140 FC engine that has an output of 740PS at 8,250rpm and 690Nm of torque at 6,000rpm.
Indeed the 812 Superfast is a lightning-quick ‘Cavallino’ (Italian for racehorse) capable of bolting off from 0 to 100kph in 2.9 seconds and onwards to a top speed of 340kph.
On top of that, it has a base price of almost RM1.388mil which excludes duties, customs and anything else because the customer is the one that dictates the way it will be bespoked and in turn will dictate how it will be priced.
It’s all about form-following-function for this car, with much of its looks carried over from the F12berlinetta, from its short rear overhang to its long disappearing hood and gaping wheel arches.
Inside, the driver-centric cabin is of typical ‘Ferrari’ in that it blends luxury with racing emotions.
Meaning, soft, smooth and supple Nappa leather stitched exquisitely together by a skilful artisan before pairing it up with elements of Alcantara, lightweight carbon fibre, aluminium, LCD panels and LEDs to add colour and contrast within.
Without any contest, the 812 Superfast proudly displays its heritage from the F12berlinetta with its long hood and stubby rear end or what designers call a two-box design.
But ultimately, it really takes after the 365 GTB/4 Daytona.
The body, while retaining much of the F12, includes a combination of active and passive aerodynamics that helps to improve the supercar’s drag coefficient over its predecessor.
The front air intakes and ducts not only direct air to the front brakes but also redirects air to the underbody and the sides of the car to ensure it gets suction-cupped to the road. At the rear, the 812 Superfast also has F12-inspired active flaps that operate at high speeds to reduce drag.
For added differentiation from the F12, it gets slapped with new full-LED headlights, revised air vents, quad circular taillights and a matching rear diffuser.
Depending on what’s been chosen on the options list, getting into this Ferrari can be akin to strapping yourself inside a fighter jet.
The interior of the 812 looks ‘Ferrari-ish’ and it’s no secret that its inspiration comes from the F12 with a highly driver-centric set up within.
Almost everything is within easy reach for the driver, leaving the passenger relegated to feeling like a weighted ballast.
The seats are stiff, but at least they hug well and the leather provides some semblance of luxury feel. Upfront, the combination of leather and carbon fibre on the dashboard and steering wheel sets the luxury-racing tone.
But here’s where things get a little more serious.
Looking forward, the driver is simply overwhelmed by a plethora of buttons, paddles and dials to name a few.
Not to mention, the large yellow tachometer staring back with its black needle dipped in white with a red inlay and an integrated gear indicator in the bottom right indirectly tells its driver to ‘watch the revs mate’.
This is flanked by two LCD panels with information from multimedia to car setup that the driver can cycle through.
The only time the driver needs to reach for a button is for the dual-zone climate controls, power window, multimedia, cruise controls or to activate Reverse and the Automatic mode or Launch (a personal favourite).
Other than it looking ‘bellisimo’ sitting there waiting quietly, firing up the 6.5-litre V12 engine sends its aggression factor rocketing skyward...exponentially. With a quick blip of the throttle, the engine’s evocative howl easily penetrates the cabin.
As the revs drop back down towards idle, it’ll pop and grumbling - as if disgruntled with the lack of conviction to bring the V12 engine to full voice at its 9,000rpm redline.
The 6.5-litre naturally aspirated V12 dishes out 800PS and 718Nm of torque for the rear wheels and is managed by a seven-speed Getrag dual-clutch transmission.
For a naturally aspirated car to be able to sprint to 100kph in 2.9 seconds is the sort of performance that definitely earns itself a spot on the ‘widowmaker’ list - as all supercars would.
Flooring the throttle turns all 800 ‘ponies’ into unicorns as the needle fast approaches the engine’s redline so drivers will need to get used to what the engine sounds like just before the limiter kicks in and paddle up a gear.
Regardless of what crazy levels of performance it has at the ready, the engine still allows for an easy drive.
At about 1.75 tonnes, the 812 Superfast is currently the company’s most powerful naturally aspirated production car ever, with a power-to-weight ratio of 2.18kg per horsepower (PS).
No one in their right mind would buy a vehicle from Scuderia Ferrari bearing the ‘prancing’ Cavallino to fit the family because this car only serves one purpose - to go fast and make its driver look good while at it.
There are only two heated 16-way powered stiff sports seats available and that means a single front passenger gets the honour of becoming a weighted ballast.
However, despite the seemingly taught interior, the wide stance of the 812 Superfast accords plenty of shoulder room from the front passenger and at 175cm-tall, headroom isn’t an issue.
This two-seater is a mixed bowl of nuts with the ability to overload the senses with excessive speed and yet remain docile and putty while in traffic.
There’s only one way to drive a Ferrari of this calibre - hard, and that’s why the 812 rolls on 20-inch forged lightweight wheels with staggered 275/35 (front) and 315/35 Pirelli P Zero tyres that have been paired with a stiff suspension setup.
Blipping the throttle will do little to help prepare for an onslaught, but it can provide occupants with a glimpse of what to expect, which is anything but a plush ride and a quiet interior.
This supercar is meant to go around corners as fast as possible and feel stable on the straights while at a top speed of 340kph.
It is for these reasons that the suspension will feel almost as rough as a racecar and this experience can never be omitted - so long as Ferraris continue to be built the infusion of its racing heritage will never be omitted.
Such heritage may be watered-down or intensified and in this case, it is properly intense.
The sporty ride will assure its owner that it will remain flat around corners when at speed while being fed with details of what each wheel is doing.
Rear-wheel grunt is ever-present regardless of driving mode.
In Race, CT Off (traction control off) or ESC Off (Electronic Stability Control off) modes, less experienced drivers will need to properly acclimatise to them.
Venturing into these modes will be unchartered territories for many and experiencing the car’s handling limits (while in such modes) is ill-advised when on uneven roads.
When in capable hands, drivers will generally experience a neutral feel thanks to the engine being mid-mounted at the front (ie behind the front wheels) which gives the 812 a weight distribution of 47% (front) and 53% (rear).
Playing along tight winding routes, the steering will feel accurately sharp and highly responsive while gearshifts will feel rudely abrupt when punching the throttle - almost racelike.
The top of the steering wheel will illuminate its blue LEDs before flashing red, reminding the driver that it’s ready to up-shift on the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission via the right paddle-shifter located behind the steering wheel.
At this point, a quick glance down at the speedometer can alarm the senses when noting the triple-digit speeds while sling-shotting from one apex to another.
Don’t forget to periodically take note of the fuel-gauge though, because as alarming as this writer’s heartbeats per minute were after a drive, so was how fuel-thirsty this Cavallino was.
Under heavy braking, the 812 will pressure-test blood vessels in the head every time the 398mm (front) and 360mm (rear) carbon-ceramic Brembo brake system gets abused.
Toning things down, the 812 Superfast can be putty in anyone’s hands when in a crawl, but it’ll feel unnatural after having experienced some of its abilities.
Options to go
As with all Ferraris, there are a plethora of options for owners to choose from under the company’s Personalisation Programme in order to provide a unique and tailored service for its clientele.
This includes a 12-speaker audio system boosted by a 1,280-Watt amplifier with Quantum Logic to up-rate sound quality.
For this vehicle, the options list include:
> adaptive headlights with SBL function
> yellow brake callipers
> carbon fibre driver zone with LEDs
> coloured inner details
> coloured safety belts
> suspension lifter
> Cavallino stitched on headrest
> ‘Scuderia Ferrari’ shields
> front and rear parking cameras
> 20-inch forged painted rims
> yellow rev-counter
> powered seats
> coloured special stitching.
Basically, the more options added the higher the price point gets.
All Ferrari vehicles are accompanied by a seven-year maintenance programme with unlimited mileage and the 812 Superfast is no different.
Regular maintenance intervals are recommended at every 20,000km or once a year (whichever comes first) and are conducted by staff trained directly at the Ferrari Training Centre in Maranello, Italy.
Such service is also available to owners buying pre-owned Ferraris.
This is undoubtedly one of the sharpest and exhilarating Ferrari vehicles to have ever rolled out.
Not only does it look smart, but there’s also an element of beauty, elegance and sophistication beyond the sporty vents and ducts.
Sure, it has a hard ride, but that’s all in line with its provisions for a racing-like experience.
Any driver - amateur or connoisseur, needs to learn to respect this car’s 800 willing ‘horses’ that can let loose within a moment’s notice.
Although it might feel hard to make a mistake with what seems to feel like a fool-proof car, underestimating it would prove highly detrimental.
It’s blindingly quick and feels rather well-balanced with plenty of traction from the wide tyres.
Equally enough, the brakes will help its driver stop on a dime if needed.
This supercar may be capable of being in stop-go traffic, but all-round visibility might require some getting used to - especially the long reach of the hood, low ride height and wide stance.
Nonetheless, this particular Ferrari is one for the purists that can go at it hard on the track and then maybe cruise through a few congested routes on the way home, but for sure, this Ferrari is definitely “for those who dare”.