Ferrari has today launched the all-new Ferrari F12 Berlinetta in Australia, replacing the 599GTB as the flagship of the Ferrari range.
It will cost a cool $691,100 before on road costs, and while that's more than its predecessor's price tag of $677,250, most 599GTB buyers also bought the HGTE package, which added another $65,000. The F12 also comes with seven years free servicing.
The Ferrari F12 Berlinetta isn’t just the latest supercar to roll out of the factory in Maranello either. It’s also the fastest and most powerful Ferrari road car ever built and comes with a set of numbers that are mighty impressive.
Its front/mid-mounted 6.3-litre V12 is the most powerful V12 engine in Ferrari history and generates 545kW and 690Nm – enough to sprint from 0-100km/h in 3.1 seconds. Its top speed is 340km/h, and that’s on 95 RON unleaded (its preferred fuel).
Ferrari measures a car’s performance not just by how fast it can accelerate from 0-100km/h, but by how quick it can lap its Fiorano test track. The F12 Berlinetta clocked a time of 1:23 seconds, making it 3.5 seconds quicker than the 599GTB.
The numbers don’t end there, either. Here are some more: The F12 Berlinetta will go from 0-200km/h in 8.5 seconds and 80 per cent of torque (552Nm) is available from 2500rpm.
Ferrari claims the F12 Berlinetta leaps three generations ahead of the 599GTB in terms of technology, performance and design.
It’s a more compact car than the Ferrari 599GTB, too. Almost every key external measurement of the F12 Berlinetta is smaller. The rear overhang is nearly 80mm shorter and the wheelbase is smaller by 30mm. It’s also lower and narrower than the 599GTB.
Even the engine sits 30mm lower in the engine bay, helping improve weight distribution and lower the car's centre of gravity. The weight balance is more biased to the rear – the F12 Berlinetta having a 60:40 split, meaning 60 per cent of the car’s weight is at the back of the car.
On the flip side, every internal measurement is bigger than the 599GTB. The result is more space and a more comfortable cabin, making it a better car to travel in. It also weighs 70kg less than the 599GTB and wears a full aluminium skin.
The F12 Berlinetta is better aerodynamically, too. It cuts drag by a full 11 per cent, taking its drag coefficient down from 0.33 for the 599 to 0.29. At the same time there’s a 94 per cent increase in downforce, almost double that of the 599, depending on the speed of the car.
Among the more interesting features of the F12 Berlinetta that assist in reducing drag are the two air breaches shaped into each side of the bonnet. These two intakes channel air down the side of the car, producing a major low-pressure zone over the centre of the bonnet.
The two air scoops at the rear of the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta are there to suck air in through the negative air pressure under the car and provide cool air for the gearbox and the rear differential.
There’s more clever cooling technology for the F12’s brakes – and for good reason. The brakes on this car operate optimally at 250-300 degrees (centigrade) – any hotter and it can affect their performance. The F12 Berlinetta has two active cooling flaps on the lower side of the front splitter that open and close to maintain the most efficient operating temperature for the front brakes. But it’s not a simple temperature device that simply opens and shuts the flaps. The system is actually connected to all the car’s dynamic electronics and reacts to the driving style and conditions. It’s a remarkable piece of engineering, like so much on this latest Ferrari flagship.
Inside, it’s noticeably roomier than the 599GTB, with more legroom and headroom and up to 500 litres of boot space, making it a practical grand tourer.
The cockpit design is predominantly shared with the Ferrari FF, but with specific elements from the Ferrari 458 Italia such as the Manettino settings and the information displayed on the two TFT screens.
The 6.3-litre V12 powerplant is based on that found in the FF but with two very obvious visual differences protruding at the front of the engine known as resonators, which improve airflow into the engine.
Aerodynamic design elements aren’t just confined to the exterior of the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta either - they also include the engine. The counterweights on the crankshaft are aerodynamically shaped to reduce drag on the air inside the engine.
The F12 is also the first Ferrari with multi-spark ignition. The system ensures that the maximum amount of fuel is burnt in the most efficient way.
This engine is 30 per cent more efficient that the engine it replaces and that translates into a 16 per cent lower combined fuel consumption figure.
This allows for a smaller fuel tank than that in the 599 and one that sits lower in the body, once again, helping weight balance and centre of gravity.
Interestingly, the F12’s chassis is based on the 458 Italia rather than the Ferrari FF, which is four-wheel drive. However, there are a whole range of changes above and beyond the 458.
The most significant improvement is a 28 per cent increase in traction out of corners, which is remarkable considering the power and low-down torque this engine produces.
The magneride suspension can now react 25 per cent quicker to suspension inputs due to a new type of dual piston.
If you add up all the changes made to the chassis as a whole on the electronics side, there’s a 40 per cent improvement over the 599GTB.
The first customer deliveries of the new Ferrari F12 Berlinetta will commence in June/July 2013. Ferrari Australia and European Automotive Imports boss Neville Crichton told CarAdvice he expected that by the end of the week he would have up to 60 orders for the F12 following launch events in Sydney and Melbourne.
“My gut feeling is that we’ll have up to 30 orders by the end of tonight’s Sydney event and 60 on the list by week's end.”
That will mean a potential waiting list of up to 18 months for your new Ferrari.
Ferrari has had extraordinary success in Australia in the past seven years despite the global downturn, delivering over 1000 cars since Critchton took over the Ferrari franchise in October 2005.
Watch the stunning Ferrari F12 Berlinetta launch film here.