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Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Ferrari F620GT Is Actually Called 'F12berlinetta' And Looks Like THIS

2012 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta
So we've seen spy paintings, a teaser shot, and then a wooden display model was leaked out a few days ago, but now Ferrari is the one showing us what their own V12 GT looks like, and telling us what it's called... which isn't a great name. You see, it's called the F12berlinetta, which is all one word, thus ranking it highly among the List Of Annoying Deliberate Grammar Errors with the Volkswagen Up! and the GTbyCITROËN. So you don't think my typing is lazy, I'm going to do what every person on Earth with a brain stem will do and space them out to make it the F12 Berlinetta. Also, if there's one company that can do a side profile, it's Ferrari. Like the equally divisive F599 GTB Fiorano before it, while the front and rear are an acquired taste, from the side this car just looks fast. More pics and official details inside.

So here's the headline statistic: what you're looking at (unless you're still reading) is the most powerful Ferrari ever made. It's also the fastest road car to lap Ferrari's Fiorano test track - a 1:23 if you're keeping score - meaning that while you get a luxurious interior, you also get a car faster than a 458 Italia, an F60 "Enzo Ferrari", a 599 GTO and indeed any other Ferrari with a number plate, making it faster than several other cars as well. This ferocious speed comes courtesy of a 6262cc (6.3-litre) 65-degree V12 engine producing, in the end, 730bhp (740PS) and 509lb/ft of torque. 80% of that torque is available from a mere 2500rpm, all the way up to the screaming 8700rpm redline. The results are as you might expect; that engine hurls the entirely aluminium Berlinetta from 0-60mph in just 3.1 seconds, 0-125mph in 8.5 seconds - the time it takes a normal car to reach 60 - and the top speed is over 210mph.

While you will hopefully make your own mind up about the styling, I have to say the 458 Italia looks better too. The F12 Berlinetta (that's Italian for Coupé) looks slightly overdone, perhaps because the mentality these days is that more is better, not only in terms of speed and gadgets but in the styling department as well. It's gained 458 headlights and the FF's smiley grille, not to mention the Pagani Huayra's front aero (with a splitter on the bottom for good measure), but the big central bonnet scoop is pure 550 Maranello, which is a good thing. The heat vent ahead of the door seems to create a huge dip in the side of the car, but it actually follows the path of the air which exits the vent. It must've looked good on paper, and it looks all right in these studio press photos, but out there in real life, it will end up looking either muscular or a bit bulge-y.

At the rear, which we can see for the first time, things are even more...... challenging. IMO they have taken inspiration from the "New Lancia Stratos" that Pininfarina (who have played a major part in the design) made for German squillionaire Michael Stoschek, particularly in the top half of the tail (image to compare). Below that, it would appear Pininfarina and the "Ferrari Styling Centre" have had two very Italian sources of inspiration. One is a Formula 1 car, hence the rear diffuser and what appears to be an LED rain light, which doesn't look right on a road car and is probably the rear fog light, while the other inspiration is a woman wearing a thong, hence the, er, thong. The four exhaust pipes are low and wide-set, adding menace, while the side windows appear to be from a 612 Scaglietti (which was replaced by the FF a year ago). It also has a slightly inset rear window, something I will say more about in the next post as it appears on a concept car designed by Pininfarina.

The front-on shot is far more menacing than the rear, although it does look a bit like a highly-evolved fire-type Pokémon. Controlling all that anger is where Ferrari's computer geniuses come in, and when I say "geniuses", I mean the system on the 599 GTO can learn the track you're on lap after lap and adjust the traction/stability control bit by bit to make your laps faster and faster. Yes, this is cheating, but it's still a very impressive thing. The F12 Berlinetta is harnessed by third-generation carbon ceramic brakes, magneto-rheological suspension that's electronically controlled, an "E-Diff", traction and stability control systems, and finally a "high-performance" ABS. If all that sounds horribly complicated, don't worry - it's all controlled, as usual, through a little "Manettino" dial on the steering wheel, with different settings that put the different systems in different modes for different driving experiences. Unfortunately, having made all that very simple, Ferrari have gone and made the steering wheel horribly complicated by putting the indicators, lights controls, engine start button, windscreen wiper controls AND the horn on it, à la 458, along with two menu control buttons for the two little screens either side of the rev counter (one of which sometimes displays how fast you're going...). Adding to the liveability and the slight GT-ness is a nice big boot and extra storage space behind the only two seats. Weirdly, they've also put a digital speedo and tachometer above the glove box for the passenger to read...

Along with the Huayra-esque front bumper, the rest of the body is designed to have "exceedingly high aerodynamic qualities", so form is following function to an extent, although that peculiar thing is surely just for styling's sake. Ironic, considering it isn't particularly stylish...
One clever bit of aerodynamic trickery is a hole in each side of the bonnet (2nd picture down, you can see one) that channels air out of the vents in the side. Well, I'm assuming that's clever, otherwise they wouldn't do it. Air channelling is an increasingly popular thing these days, with BMWs upcoming i8 sports hybrid channelling air through the entire car, starting with holes below the headlights, so I'm assuming is has a purpose and somehow smooths the airflow or reduces drag. Actually, it probably follows the same path as the bulge in the side of the car once it exits the vent. Maybe.

Other than a kerbweight 70kg lighter than the F599 (at a still-meaty 1525kg), that's all we know thus far. Pricing hasn't been announced yet, but, if you have to ask......



Air flow through the front of the car
[...you can't afford it]

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