Amber Rowe, AKA Miss Arabia Motors fly’s to Marenello, Italy to test out the new Ferrari 812 Superfast.
I’ve never been a low key person, I like to show off, I like expensive designer goods, and more importantly I love anything with a cool factor. Something that gets the blood boiling in those that are perhaps a little less fortunate then me. Call it bad? I call it honest!! Growing up in Bahrain I’ve been privileged enough to be able to experience the finer things in life. Travel, food, cars…however nothing and I mean nothing could have prepared me for the once in a lifetime experience I had last month.
Initially when my boss told me I would be driving the brand new Ferrari 812 Superfast around Ferrari’s private race/test track in Fiorano, Italy I was dubious, well I’d say nervous is more the word. Little old me throwing a 6.5 liter V12 round the Ferrari test track at 200KPH is a dream come true for some folks. For me it was met with sheer fear…but it ignited something in me much like the petrol hitting all 12 cylinders that push the 812 to a whopping 789hp. That feeling of coolness, the “I’ve made it” factor and the jealously burning deep in the heart of every man reading this article.
What’s in a name?
First of all lets talk about the name, 812 Superfast. The 8 denotes the 800 horsepower the engine generates on the metric scale. This is an extra 59hp more then the F12berlinetta that this model replaces. It is amazing to see what a bunch of mechanics can achieve with an engine thats already pumping out 730bhp - especially when given the brief to go crazy! What they did was borrow the variable intake from the TDF, added the highest pressure injection system ever put in a car (350 bar), increased the capacity (stroke minus the bore) and changed all the V12’s internals. To be quiet honest nobody thought the F12 would need more power, but then again it was time for a new car which obviously means more power, and hence this car! As for the 12 on the badge that’s because there are a dozen cylinders beneath the hood duh!! And in keeping with typical Ferrari fashion, Superfast is both a name from Ferrari’s history and a promise delivered.
First to the road!!
I was very aware of the fact that this superbeast was being pegged as a daily driver, and from my previous experience with these ‘daily driver sports car/supercars’ I’d learnt that only a fool would think they could be driven daily. Especially somewhere like Bahrain, with very uneven roads, a life time of speed bumps, endless amounts of traffic and police radars. However, in spite of these bummers, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the 812 isn’t just a car that you would want to drive daily, it’s a car that you easily could drive daily.
Making my way out of Fiorano, and around the impossibly small Italian towns - despite the looks of shock and awe - you could be forgiven for feeling as though you were driving any other high end luxury car, and I mean this in a good way. You don’t always need to drive with all that power... you know it’s there but you don’t and aren’t realistically always going to be driving in race mode, pedal to metal cracking out 8,900rpm. That was however until I opened it up on the long, winding, empty, Italiano country side. And when I say winding hair pin turns down sheer cliff faces, I mean it. Its enough to make anyone sick. But here is where the 812 really shows its grit. Gripping the corners like a baby monkey clinging to its mother. Those brakes sure do grip hard which is comforting allowing you to fire it up on the corners safe in the comfort knowing the computers will kick in when things might get tricky. The electronically controlled differential was already connected to the traction and stability control, but now its managing the rear steering too. It is an intelligent car which can sense driving conditions and then adjust the steering force automatically. For the layman driver this means better information about road conditions, more feel through the steering grip and much more time to concentrate on taming the massive power and torque from the back wheels.
Then to the track!!
After a combination of relaxed driving, and really seeing what this baby could do on the roads. It was time for the track!!! Stepping into a different colored 812 with Luigi my professional Ferrari test track driver, I got a chance to see what the pros could do with this car. With a massive roar from the exhaust accompanied by an even more massive shriek from my mouth along with a whole bunch of profanities, we were already halfway through the track! Luigi smirked, while I fought with all my might to ignore my “you are going to die in a Ferrari 812 Superfast next to a man named Luigi on the Fiorano test track” natural instincts. Not a bad way to go though!!
Let’s get Technical. Up close - and even afar - the 812 is a close rendition of its predecessor, as far as aesthetics are concerned. And that is certainly not a bad thing since the F12 is a beautiful car. So the styling changes are technically a reworked and much improved aerodynamic revision of the whole car. You’ve got the pair of air intakes which divert underbody flow using just air pressure. This allows the Superfast to not only stay composed at high speeds by reducing lift and drag, but also hit 211mph brutally fast just by flowing air through it. The car feels consistent and if you do happen to understeer as Luigi deliberately did beautifully to show me what happens. Interestingly enough the 4WS can slightly increase the tow angle allowing for the car to maneuver or rotate, thereby giving you the chance to power slide or twitch the tail when desired.
At the heart of it the 812 is a basic old school racing car, but a whole lot easier to control and understand. Its got four wheels steering and the differential changing its strategy and recalculating things by the second. Quiet honestly it is everything you would expect from a massive Ferrari engine. It screams and pounces forward with the slightest bit nudge of the throttle. It is composed and elegant but still purely mechanical which I guess is what keeps the purists entertained. Luigi was clear, that the 812 is actually quite close to the racing version F12, but had been slightly toned down to retain its grand touring characteristics.
A work of art in my opinion. Designed by the Ferrari Styling Centre, the 812 Superfast has been restyled and is now accented by aerodynamic aids that are effective yet discreet – making a welcomed change to the massive slots and vents and wings of so many other performance cars. The 812 also marks the debut of a new bodywork colour, Rosso Settanta, a lovely deep red, which marks Ferrari’s 70th anniversary this year. The revised cabin is architectural perfection and demonstrates a realist approach to ergonomics. The new and improved LCD screens either side of the rev gauge are sharper and much clearer to read. The boot is a decent size, the optional bucket seats allow for a bit more practicality and the steering wheel feels like your driving an F1 car. Drive it and you instantly know that no one except Ferrari are capable of producing a car like this.
It has the booty of Beyoncé and the front of Adriana Lima or quiet simply cross breed a 488 and a GTC Lusso . It’s quick and nimble, yet deep and aggressive. It sticks to the road and you can fully put your trust in it unlike most overpowered cars these days. Not to sound cliche or anything but the 812 Superfast is like getting yourself a girl thats capable of being a lady on the street and a freak in the sheets - or track in this case.