Teased last week as "the most powerful Ferrari ever," the latest and arguably greatest road car from Maranello officially broke cover en route to its Geneva debut wearing a Ferrari F12 Berlinetta badge and finished in striking new three-layer Rosso Berlinetta paint. Ushering in a new generation of V12 models, this clean-sheet replacement for the Ferrari 599 matches its potent engine with a host of design innovations that promise to set new standards for all-around performance.
As expected, the new F12 Berlinetta gets its motivation from an enhanced version of the naturally-aspirated 6.3-liter V12 engine also found in the Ferrari FF. Here, it makes a heady 730 horsepower at 8,500 rpm and 509 lb-ft of torque at 6,000 revs - gains of 80 ponies and five twist units compared to Ferrari's all-wheel-drive GT. That extra muscle translates into some stunning acceleration figures, including the ability to hit 62 mph in 3.1 seconds and 125 mph in just 8.5 ticks. Despite its added might, the overachieving 6.3-liter also delivers 30 percent better fuel economy than the 6.0-liter in the 599 along with a commensurate reduction of CO2 emissions - at least when fitted with the optional Start/Stop system.
Slightly smaller than the 599, the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta also rides on a somewhat shorter wheelbase. The car's Scaglietti-designed aluminum-intensive spaceframe structure and bodyshell uses 12 different kinds of alloys - including several in their first automotive applications - to help trim weight by some 154 pounds compared to the 599 and increase structural rigidity by 20 percent.
To suitably elevate the dynamic character of the new F12 Berlinetta, the Ferrari engineering team spared no effort to optimize the packaging of every element. It began with the deep-and-low front-mid positioning of its V12 engine and a comprehensive redesign of the rear suspension and F1-style dual-clutch transaxle into a smaller, more efficient configuration. The dash assembly and seats also are mounted lower to improve the car's center of gravity.
Complementing those basic design elements, the F12 Berlinetta is underpinned by the latest iteration of Ferrari's magnetorheological suspension control system and features a fully integrated package of support functions that brings together the E-Diff, ESP Premium, F1-Trac, and Gen III high-performance carbon-ceramic antilock brakes. Brimming with functional synergies, the new F12 Berlinetta has already lapped the automaker's Fiorano test track in 1 minute 13 seconds, the quickest time ever for a Ferrari road car.
That same attention to detail is equally evident in the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta's stunning exterior that reflects a collaborative effort between Pininfarina and the Ferrari Styling Center. Its boldly flowing lines and dramatically sculpted panels were directly influenced by hours of computational fluid dynamics simulations refined by extensive windtunnel work. Those efforts contributed to major reductions in drag and over a 76-percent increase in downforce compared to a 599.
Ferrari attributes these huge improvements to two innovative solutions. The primary one has been dubbed the "Aero Bridge." It uses contours in the hood to generate downforce by channeling air away from the upper part of the car towards its flanks, at which point, it interacts with the wake generated by the wheel wells to decrease drag. The second bit of trick tech being introduced on the F12 Berlinetta is Active Brake Cooling. This drag-reducing feature functions by only opening guide vanes to the car's brake cooling ducts on an as-needed basis to keep the binders from overheating under sustained hard-use conditions.
Inside, the F12 Berlinetta features premium Frau leather upholstery set off with carbon fiber and aluminum trim bits. The Human Machine Interface design concept introduced in the Ferrari 458 adds user friendliness to the positioning of all major controls here as well, and the more spacious cabin also offers even more luggage capacity. Sales of the new 2013 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta are expected to start in late 2012 or early next year. So far, non final word on its U.S. arrival time or price.