The name tells you a lot about Ferrari’s muscular new front engine coup. It has 800 horsepower—well, 800 European horses, at least, which translates to 789 American ponies. It has 12 cylinders under the hood. And yes, it’s super fast. Ferrari claims a 060-mph time of about 2.8 seconds, with 124 mph coming up in 7.9 seconds, and a top speed of 211 mph. But there’s more to the 2018 Ferrari 812 Superfast story than just the raw numbers: This might just be the most desirable front-engine Ferrari road car since the legendary Daytona.
The 812 Superfast is fundamentally a rework of the acclaimed F12berlinetta. With no need to reinvent the wheel, the engineers at Maranello were able to instead concentrate on sweating the details, focusing on engine, chassis electronics, and aerodynamics to create a car that combined the Berlinetta’s everyday usability with the edgier, track-focused F12tdf’s performance, agility and responsiveness.
The F12’s 65-degree naturally aspirated V-12 has been taken from 6.2 liters to 6.5 liters courtesy of an increase in stroke. There’s a new crankshaft, new connecting rods, and new pistons, as well as material upgrades to the block aimed at increasing strength around the main bearings. But the real focus, says powertrain engineer Andrea Napolitano, was on improving breathing efficiency, optimizing combustion, and reducing friction. Redesigned cylinder heads therefore feature larger diameter intake and exhaust valves and new runner designs. Reprofiled camshafts push the inlet valves deeper into the combustion chamber and hold them open longer.
Ferrari likes to suggest the Superfast is a sports car with GT capability, and that duality of purpose is reflected in an interior that’s a halfway house between the pared-down cockpit of the 488 and the lavishly equipped cabin of the GTC4Lusso. There’s no big infotainment screen in the center of the dash as in the GTC4, for example, but the Superfast is available with the narrow, passenger-side mini-screen that’s a feature of the luxo-Ferrari. The instrument panel is dominated by a giant tachometer—of course—flanked with a pair of configurable screens that handle everything from auxiliary instrumentation to navigation, phone, and audio. All minor controls, including the iconic manettino, are located on the steering wheel.
Grand Tourer. Supercar. The 812 Superfast is equally at home playing either role. It can be driven comfortably and quietly, the engine note and tire noise pleasantly subdued, phone and music and sat nav at your fingertips. But when the mood takes you, and you have the room, flick the manettino one stop past Race mode to disable the traction control, unleash that mighty V-12, and feel the rear tires struggling to tame all that power through each and every gear. This is a Ferrari in which you can feel sublimely relaxed, or thrilled to your very core. Just like the Daytona.