Home News The Ferrari 12Cilindri: Ferrari’s Goodbye to the V12 Engine?

The Ferrari 12Cilindri: Ferrari’s Goodbye to the V12 Engine?

by Joseph Gorst
Ferrari 12Cilindri

It’s not a dream. Ferrari’s flagship V12 GT has not even a hint of hybridization. The replacement to the 812 Superfast, the 12Cilindri, was revealed yesterday at Miami Beach to celebrate 70 years since the Italians entered the American market. Even better, a Spider version was also unveiled – a shock to many given how long it usually takes for a convertible model to join the coupé. Ferrari is known for the V12 grand tourers and the 12Cilindri could be the last hurrah for their legendary V12 before it succumbs to hybridization for good.

Faster Than Ever

Ferrari 12CilindriThe new berlinetta features a more powerful V12 engine paired with an 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox. It now has 819 horsepower – 30 more than the 812 Superfast and the same as the 812 Competizione. It now revs to a spine-tingling 9,500 rpm and to do this the boffins at Ferrari have reduced the weight of engine components, such as the new crankshaft which is 3% lighter. The focus has been on optimizing the torque delivery to maintain a smooth driving experience with maximum power at the top of the revs. Acceleration to 100km/h (62mph) from stationary takes just 2.9 seconds and this is partly due to 80% of the torque being accessible from 2,500 rpm to make sure your passenger is truly terrified. The DCT gearbox from the SF90 has 5% shorter gear ratios for lower gears and gear shifts are 30% faster than on all the 812 models. The exhaust and intakes have been optimized for the best engine sound in the cabin, as Ferrari wants to immerse the driver in the sound of monstrous performance. If this is the last dance for the V12 GT, Ferrari is making sure it doesn’t leave quietly.

A Radical Design Change

Ferrari 12CilindriApart from its shape, the 12Cilindri looks wildly different to its predecessor. It follows the design language of new Ferrari models like the Purosangue, 296 GTB and Roma. The thin headlights give an aggressive appearance, which is accentuated by the wraparound black strip. The lack of grille is noticeable but it gives a sci-fi edge to the design and reminds me of the iconic 365 GTB/4 Daytona. The bonnet is sculpted and the vents contribute to the 12Cilindri’s serious demeanour. The bonnet also integrates the front wings, giving a sleek look which continues down the side. The clean lines balance elegance and performance, although the same can’t be said about the rear arches, which form extremely noticeable bulges. The rear features thin lights and the lower section is only available in black or carbon fibre, creating a strong contrast and helping to make the body appear to be floating. The design language Ferrari has elected is no longer new, but still remains striking and modern – none more so than on the 12Cilindri.

Top Down Touring

Ferrari 12Cilindri SpiderFor those wanting the wind in their hair as they cruise the French Riviera, Ferrari offers the 12Cilindri as a Spider. The engine and other mechanics are almost identical, with performance being the same as the coupé. The main design difference is the inclusion of buttresses behind the driver, but the core elements are the same. The extra reinforcements needed add 60kg to the weight, but the driving dynamics should be the same. The storage needed for the retractable hard top may slightly diminish the practicality of the 12Cilindri, as there is no rear bench since the roof is stowed in this section of the car.

Keeping it Classy

Inside, Ferrari has kept it simplistic. There’s no techfest and buttons haven’t been removed completely. Mirroring the interiors of the Roma and Purosangue, it has an almost symmetrical layout. There are the typical luxurious materials used, although there’s a greater focus on sustainability as the Alcantara contains 65% recycled polyester. The curved digital driver’s display shows key information and forms part of Ferrari’s new Human Machine Interface. Alongside it are the 10.25-inch central touchscreen and the 8.8-inch passenger display. The coupé features a tinted glass roof to make the cabin feel more airy and regulate temperature better. The level of connectivity is to be expected, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as a wireless charging mat.

The Driving Experience

Ferrari has made changes to key components of the 12Cilindri to enhance the thrill of driving, whilst balancing comfort and smoothness. There is no rear spoiler, as Ferrari has instead gone for flaps at the rear. The flaps stay flush until it hits 37 mph and then again over speeds of 186. In between, they act to keep balance and generate maximum downforce. The Prancing Horse’s motorsport know-how has been used in the underbody which has been designed to maximise downforce. The Aspirate Torque Shaping provides smooth power delivery for more relaxed driving, although the linear feel will increase the thrill of really going for it as well. The four-wheel independent steering will go a long way in improving the agility of Ferrari’s new berlinetta and makes tight turns a little less stressful. The chassis has changed dramatically since the 812 Superfast, with a 20mm shorter wheelbase and a 15% increase in torsional rigidity.

A Fitting Tribute

If the Ferrari 12Cilindri is the last use of the legendary engine as we know it, the V12 won’t go out without a bang. The improvements made should improve every aspect of what the 812 Superfast already did so well. The 12Cilindri and 12Cilindri Spider will likely start at well over £300,000 (roughly $375,000) but it could be priceless if it’s the last pure V12 GT the Italian brand ever produces.

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