2013 FERRARI F12 BERLINETTA=>Talk about speed!!!


It wasn’t a scream, or even
a stifled shout. To be
honest, it wasn’t much more
than a yelp from the
passenger seat, but it was
all I needed to assure
myself that it wasn’t just
me. Despite all that’s been
written about the 2013
Ferrari F12 Berlinetta since
it was unveiled at the
Geneva auto show in
March, I wasn’t the only one
to be reduced to
involuntary oral emissions
on experiencing its full
force for the first time.
The F12 isn’t just an
extraordinary device
compared to normal cars;
it’s on another level even
by the standards of
Ferrari’s very fastest
street machines. It’s much
more than just numbers,
but is still worth noting
some of its more prominent
specifications.
It has a 6.3-liter V12 motor
producing 730 horsepower,
nearly 120 hp more than
the
Ferrari 599 GTB it
replaces. Then consider
that it’s also 129 pounds
lighter. Forget the 3.1-
second 0-62-mph time; it’s
a meaningless, traction-
limited statistic. Focus
instead on the 0-124 mph
time of 8.5 seconds, which
is quicker than a
McLaren
F1. No wonder my
passenger yelped.
Putting the Power
Down
To me the question in
greatest need of an answer
was just how do you put
730 hp through the rear
wheels of a car and still
end up with something that
will actually work as a
practical, effective,
everyday car? It’s
important, as Ferrari
estimates that one in five
customers will use their
F12s as daily drivers.
You won’t find the answer
on the spec sheet.
Naturally Ferrari has aimed
all its technological
firepower at this car, from
its carbon-ceramic brake
discs and double-clutch
gearbox to its electronically
controlled differential and
electronic dampers. But
other Ferraris get those,
too. With the F12, the devil
is in the details.
Consider this: Despite the
engine being in the nose,
the F12’s weight
distribution is actually
rear-biased to the tune of
54 percent. But Ferrari also
has a completely new
design for the rear
suspension compared to
the 599 and has just
completed an exhaustive
tire development program
with Michelin, Pirelli and
Bridgestone. The result,
says test and development
driver Raffaele di Simone,
is a car that’s “much faster
than the 599, but easier,
too.” We shall see.
Getting Slowly
Underway
Rolling south out of
Maranello in heavy traffic,
I’m heading for hills once
used by Enzo himself to
test his cars and plied by
generations of Ferrari
test-drivers for decades
since.
For now though, the 2013
Ferrari F12 Berlinetta is a
model citizen. You wouldn’t
call the ride good, but it’s
good enough: firm but
sufficiently well damped to
soak up the worst of these
poorly surfaced streets.
The car is quiet, too, even
on the autostrada at
speeds I’d never own up to
in public. So long as you
hold the throttle steady,
the F12 is commendably,
surprisingly civilized. How
Ferrari has persuaded a
730-hp motor to shut up
like that is not known, but
it’s an admirable
achievement.
The route into the hills
spears off the main arterial
road so we go from traffic
jam to automotive heaven
on earth in a few seconds.
The time for full experience
immersion has arrived.
At first the F12 seems
shockingly, violently fast,
almost uncontainable on
these narrow lanes. That’s
when and why my co-pilot
yelped. The engine is
inexorable, building
performance in layers but
with gear ratios close
enough that, if you so
choose, you need never
sink below 6,000 rpm.
That’s the point at which
the thrust moves to the
outer edges of what
conventional road cars can
do. For a moment I question
the wisdom again: Can this
really make sense? Can
you really deploy 730 hp
through the rear wheels of
a car designed for
everyday use?
Getting Used to 730
Horsepower
In fact you can. Formula 1
drivers will tell you that
when they return to their
racecar after the winter
break, the machine feels so
fast they wonder how it can
be managed. And then,
within a one-hour session,
they’ll be telling their race
engineers the car is so
slow it can barely get out of
its own way. In a similar
way, we acclimatize to the
F12’s speed.
The car helps out
considerably in that regard.
It’s a much more stable
platform than a 599 GTB so
it feels even smaller
relative to its predecessor
than it actually is. And you
can leave the little
manettino controller in
Sport or Race and be
reassured it will never
deploy more power that
those hard-pressed rear
tires can cope with. The
traction is something to
behold, as it gets out of
corners almost as fast as
the expletives get out of
your mouth.
Yet there’s a problem here.
Ferrari makes much of the
fact that the F12 has not
only a shorter wheelbase
than the 599, it’s also got
much faster steering. I don’t
remember ever driving a
599 and thinking its
steering was in any way
sluggish, but I’ll now always
wish the F12’s helm wasn’t
quite so aggressive.sily
with the electronics off, you
need to be very accurate
with your correction.
Slowing the steering would
widen that window of
retrieval and make the car
more, not less, fun to
drive.
Again, you get used to it
but I found that the best
way to drive it was without
the electronics, but as
cleanly as I could. Then you
realize the feel from the
chassis itself is sublime,
and that the car can be
balanced in wonderful
neutrality, right on or
slightly beyond the
technical limit of adhesion
without a corrective input
worthy of a mention.
Less Remarkable
Inside
Compared to its
performance, the cabin of
the 2013 Ferrari F12
Berlinetta is much less
revolutionary. Quite the
reverse. In fact, its
dashboard architecture and
execution is very similar to
that of a
Ferrari 458, which
is, of course, a far cheaper
car. There’s nothing here
to say this car is different,
even from any other
Ferrari. A certain sense of
occasion is undoubtedly
lacking.
That said, it’s perfectly
comfortable in here. The
F12 is actually a smaller car
than the 599 in all three
dimensions, but Ferrari
insists that passenger
space has not changed. I
don’t like the steering
wheel bristling with buttons
any more in the F12 than I
did in the 458, but at least
the TFT instrument
graphics are similarly clear
and easy to read.
And while there’s not much
space in the cabin for the
everyday accoutrements of
life, the trunk is
surprisingly big. Remove
the dividing shelf and use
the space behind the rear
seats and it’s downright
practical. This, in the most
powerful Ferrari ever.
A Landmark Ferrari?
Ferrari describes the F12
Berlinetta as a
breakthrough car and, in
the context of its previous
front-engined, V12 two-
seat sports cars, it’s a fair
contention. Even if you
extend your search past
the 599 GTB and other
mainstream Ferrari product
to esoterica such as the
599 GTO and even the
Enzo, you’ll find nothing
this powerful, nor so fast
from one point to the next.
All of which is highly
impressive, but not actually
this car’s greatest
achievement. It’s the F12’s
ability to offer extreme
performance while at the
same time possessing
greater grand touring
credentials than many GTs
that makes it so incredible.
It’s not Ferrari’s most
exciting car — for me that
remains the F40 by a
distance — but surely its
most capable yet. In short,
the 2013 Ferrari F12
Berlinetta is one hell of an
achievement.

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652 thoughts on “2013 FERRARI F12 BERLINETTA=>Talk about speed!!!

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