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The 820bhp Ferrari 12 Cilindri is named after its mighty 9,500rpm V12 engine

No turbos. No hybrid. A big V12 meets active aero in Ferrari’s latest super-GT

Published: 03 May 2024

The Italian language is very good – molto bene – at translating ordinary car names into lyrical poetry. ‘Four doors’ becomes ‘Quattroporte’. ‘Red head’ becomes ‘Testarossa’. This new Ferrari ultra-GT is called the 12 Cylinder. But Maranello would prefer you wrapped your lips around their way of talking… and called it the Dodici Cilindri.

It’s an on-the-nose celebration of Ferrari’s signature dish: a big V12. A mighty 6.5-litre orchestral instrument, mounted way behind the front axle under a gigantic clamshell ‘cofango’ bonnet designed to showcase the engine bay more dramatically than the 812 Superfast or F12.

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It shuns turbochargers or any form of hybrid boost, but lighter titanium conrods and forged pistons mean it’s now even revvier. Power matches the wild 812 Competizione’s 820bhp. Maximum torque is 500lb ft at 7,250rpm, but more than three-quarters of that overtaking oomph is on tap from 2,500rpm. The redline’s a heady 9,500rpm – kiss the limiter a couple of times and you’ll find yourself doing 0-62mph in 2.9 seconds, 0-125mph in 7.8 seconds, on your way to over 217mph.

No, those aren’t huge leaps over the 812 Superfast. You get the sense Ferrari has decided enough is enough. Its V12 ultra-GT doesn’t need to be any faster. Want warp factor? Buy an SF90, and a barf bag. Here, the chief job was to keep the keystone V12 alive.

The engineers admit it’s been tough to meet not just the emissions legislation, but the ever-harsher noise limits which muffle the exhaust note to the tune of 72dB. Apparently more of a focus has been spent on piping those rich V12 sonics into the cabin, instead of deafening everyone outside. A more selfish car, perhaps – less of a crowd-pleaser.

And then you’ve got the way it looks. There’s some challenging, ambitious design going on here – more radical than the 812 or F12 for sure. The dark front ‘mask’ strip evokes the 365 GTB/4 ‘Daytona’ wedge front, and no, you can’t have it body-colour. It’s black only. Design boss Flavio Manzoni says he will allow owners to have it painted ‘over his dead body’.

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Same goes for the black sections of roof around the ‘delta wing’ motif, and the outer edges of the tail. They’re actually active aero devices, popping up by ten degrees between 60kph and 300kph to squidge 50kg of downforce onto the rear axle. If you’re wondering why the middle section stays flat… so were we. Turns out Ferrari was worried motorising the whole-width ducktail would’ve eaten too much of the 12 Cilindri’s crucial golf bag-swallowing 270-litre boot.

 

Wheels are forged from a single piece of aluminium and measure 21in across. The brakes and suspension hardware is carried over largely unchecked from the 812 Superfast, but all their software is thoroughly remapped and stopping now comes courtesy of brake-by-wire.

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Ferrari’s engineers admit there has been a slight weight gain from the 1,525kg 812, due to the larger wheels, bonnet and the active aero, but with all the carbon boxes ticked the claimed dry weight is 1,560kg, so more like mid 1600s ready to go.

Meanwhile the 812 Competizione’s rear-wheel steering is reworked to get friendly with a 20mm shorter wheelbase, and the tech arsenal features the eighth generation of Ferrari’s side slip control witchcraft. You might consider swivelling that tempting little manettino switch into the red. Then sending the rev counter into the red too. And letting the back hang loose.

While you’re waiting for the tow truck to pull you out of a hedge, you’ll have plenty of time to gaze around the cabin. It’s not as radical in here as it is on the outside – similar instrument screen to a 296 or SF90, along with the horribly fiddly touch sensitive steering wheel interface.

The passenger gets their own binnacle with a smaller secondary screen, but unlike the Purosangue SUV, there’s also a large central screen which, you guessed it, is where all the heater and seat comfort controls have gone to hide. Design boss Manzoni insists this tactic makes the cabin more futuristic and clean. Hmm. Not once it’s encountered a fingerprint, eh?

Prices - before you’ve made merry with the paint, leather, and carbon – start at €395,000 for the coupe. For €435,000 you can have your 12 Cilindri with a folding hard-top roof that disappears into the boot in 14 seconds. Yes, we’re getting the Spider model alongside the coupe from day one. Which would be your pick, and how’s your pronunciation of that name coming along?

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