Ferrari F12 vs Aventador vs Vanquish
The finest V12s from Ferrari, Lamborghini and Aston Martin head to wildest Scotland for a 36-cylinder shoot-out. Stand back
Posted: 30 May 2014
But, finally, the kittens were sated and we were free. Traffic clear, up through the Lake District and into Scotland on the near-empty M74, sky blue, sun falling to our left, the odd passing car honking and waving at the sight of three supercars sweeping north in formation. Somewhere near Moffat, I remember grinning like an idiot and deciding that, no matter how glorious the Highlands might prove to be, nothing could top right now. Not troubling the speed limit - because, let's be honest, in the best part of a million quid's worth of supercar, you're hardly going to sneak under the radar of any motorway traffic cops - just skimming easily along Britain's prettiest, quietest motorway on a spring afternoon on three dozen cylinders of atmospheric goodness. Couldn't be topped. Of course, it could.
About half an hour later, in fact. Glasgow dispatched, up Loch Lomond and then a cheeky left into the Highlands proper. Snow-dusted peaks, dark-heather glens and God's own driving roads. I was in the F12, and very quickly my face started to hurt a lot. You know how, under heavy acceleration, you clench your neck and jaw muscles to stop your head snapping back against the headrest? In even the very quickest cars - Zondas, Ageras, the lot - there's at least a momentary blip in that acceleration, as the gearbox flips ratios or the power spools up. Fast-blip-fast-blip-fast, a moment for your muscles to recover. But the F12, with its vast, free-breathing V12 and nanosecond double-clutch 'box, serves up the most extraordinary surge of savage, linear acceleration I have ever experienced, the relentless thrust of a jet fighter on take-off. You find yourself gurning like a weightlifter to keep your head from flopping back and your eyes snapping up towards the headrest, every sinew straining against the violence being unleashed around you. It feels... well, for very good reason I've never been permitted to drive one, but it feels as an F1 engine from the Nineties must feel, revving with dizzying, mass-free hunger to a distant, mad-eyed red line.