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The Top Gear car review:Ferrari F12
For:Not only one of the fastest Ferrari road car ever, but also amongst the best
Against:Interior is a bit too similar to the FF. We know, clutching at straws...
What we say:
LaFerrari apart, this is Ferrari's fastest ever road car. A genuine tour de force
What is it?
Until the LaFerrari came along, the Ferrari F12 was Ferrari’s fastest road car ever. Quicker than a 599GTO, quicker than an Enzo. That should all help put it into context: It is astonishingly fast – and not just in a straight line, either. It goes around Ferrari’s Fiorano test track quicker than either of those two past-masters as well. And then there’s the new tdf version: 110kg lighter, 39bhp more powerful, faster gearbox, higher red-line, 230kg of downforce: Ferrari is revealing once again that too much is never enough.
Thing is, from behind the wheel, the standard version is approachable, friendly and easy to drive. It even looks elegant and, although beautiful, relatively understated with it. The tdf, that’s much more of an animal…
Ease the throttle into the floor and performance is devastating. The normal F12 hits 211mph all out. 62mph arrives in an eyeblink, 124mph from rest in 8.5 seconds (8.5 seconds!) – yes, this 6.3-litre V12 is exceptional. It also sounds blindingly good, an overload of aural goodness. The exhaust crackles when you back off in a tunnel are unbelievable. The double clutch gearbox is a honey, too.
The chassis is just as well honed. It has the fastest steering of any Ferrari, nearly a third less body roll than the 599, there’s a total lack of slack or slop and the whole car’s a clean and precise doddle to drive. Not as satisfying as a 488, maybe, but very rich and rewarding all the same.
This focus is intentional. Remember, the front-engined V12 is the most heavily used of all Ferraris: people drive them every day. They have to be as comfortable and as reliable as they are searing to drive. This is all that and so much more. And although there are a conspicuous lack of wings, boy, does this thing grip. The gaps in the front wings clean up the airflow, vents above the rear wheels prevent pressure build up, flaps open to aid brake cooling: it all combines to make the F12 a beautifully balanced thing.
As for the tdf, it has even tighter body control, yet is beautifully damped - a sharper, harder device, less suited to daily use, but otherwise magnificent.
On the inside
Well, you can see from the pictures it’s beautiful. Similar to the FF, yes, but that’s no bad thing. The driving position is also spot on, the steering wheel is sublime, while the seats are comfortable (although the optional fang-like sports seats are a bit too firm) and stowage space is fine. Even the boot is good – at 320 litres, it’s just 30 litres smaller than a VW Golf hatch. It can extend to 500 litres, matching a Ford Mondeo. All of which makes it a brilliant daily driver if you’re very rich and lucky.
Drive it and you’ll be convinced it’s worth every penny of £241,053. That even includes a seven-year unlimited mileage maintenance package. Despite the power, fuel economy is better than before too, and CO2 of 350g/km is positively earthly for a 730bhp hypercar like this. Not that F12 customers will care about that. They’ll just want to get into the thing. Best join the queue, then…