Gulf Auto Zone

Cover Story: Ferrari 812 Superfast

Middle East Awaits the Quickie

A trip to Maranello, a town in the northern part of Italy, as a member of the media team that would drive the Ferrari 812 Superfast, a 70th anniversary offering, was simply unforgettable. I cannot simply seem to forget the thrill and pleasure of tasting Maranello’s most powerful production car ever, the Ferrari 812 Superfast. To be behind the wheel this most powerful production car and taking it on a three lap spin on their race track in Moranello is nothing short of exhilarating.

The reception and hospitality of the host, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Ferrari was nothing short of regal. The town of Maranello is best known as the home of Ferrari and the Scuderia Ferrari Formula One racing team. In  the heart of the town is the statue of the prancing horse, actually a pony. 

The Ferrari factory at Maranello has been in existence since the early 1940s, when the builder Enzo Ferrari

transferred operations from the Scuderia Ferrari garage and factory in Modena, once its operations base.

The premises houses the factory, the Ferrari racing circuit, a Ferrari Museum (Museo Ferrari) and the Auto Avio Costruzioni, the machine tool manufacturing business that Enzo began to help the company from all impediments that Alfa Romeo’s ban would bring. The museum displays sports and racing cars and trophies.

A new library was also opened in November 2011.

What is the 812 Superfast? In the 812 – the 8 signifies 800 horses, the 12 the number of cylinders and  Superfast refers not just to speed, but the traditional fastback shape and novel aero strategies that mark both Superfast models.

Yes indeed, the car is pulled by 800 horsepower (789 by American standard bhp)!! The thought itself is nothing short of dizzying. 

The 812 Superfast holds itself apart. The newly launched Ferrari 812 Superfast, in three colours – the new color Rosso Settanta, Yellow and Black, is on its own, technically advanced and comfortable right through the day as I drive around. The Superfast is very true to its pedigree – with its swollen hood and naturally aspirated V-12.

The magnetic-suspension ride of the Superfast  remains comfortable. Its cabin is very practical and inside the rear hatch is enough space expected of a sports car. Nobody takes a Superfast on a weekend getaway. The cargo is held in place with leather straps and buckles.

What’s pleasant to the ears are the cork-popping backfires and gurgles while shifting the dual-clutch, seven-speed automated transmission.

About 80 per cent of engine parts are genuinely new, including the crank shaft, connecting rods, stroked piston and not to forget, the combustion chambers. Its valves are widened, with higher lift and longer duration. The Superfast’s upshot is a boost in both torque and displacement, throughout the engine’s lofty range. The 812 Superfast gallops from o -62 mph (100 kph) in 2.9 seconds, and to 124 mph (200 kph) in 8.5 seconds.

Hold the left shift paddle down as you enter turns, and a multi-downshift function can automatically drop three or four gears in rapid-fire, rev-matching fashion.

Its four round taillamps and high-tailed fastback silhouette the Ferrari adds its latest aerodynamic advances.  The 812 also has front air intake and ground-effect vortex generators. The thin airflow elements direct air under, over and through its body, including tasteful ducts as the company said, in ducts located in the front fenders and the rear haunches. At 124 mph the passive front aero device, activated by air pressure, forces a flap open so as to stall the underbody and reduce drag.

The rear diffuser integrates three active, electric flaps to further reduce drag at breakneck speeds. The Superfast is also the first Ferrari with electrically assisted steering. Dynamic systems in the 812 include the electronic differential, the F1 traction control and enhanced side slip control 5.0, the F1-based driver aids that work at Brainiac speed to apply maximum power to the pavement. The electric steering’s contributions include a new power oversteer function that lightens the steering wheel in the direction of countersteer when the Ferrari’s tires finally break loose.

The new offering has  a virtual short wheelbase strategy that tries to mimic the balance of mid-engine cars. Part of this strategy is the chunky front wheels and 20-inch Pirelli P Zero tires, with a 275 section width. With the standard rear-axle steering, the 812 virtually banishes understeer, with front tires that grip for days.

The Ferrari feels like it’s applying every horsepower and pound-foot when you mat the gas pedal. Corner exits really are a revelation. Immediately after coming off a corner one can give the throttle, with no chassis upset from a great belch of turbo boost. The torque remains not only ample at a maximum 530 pound-feet, but beautifully progressive. What more is needed when one can get 85 per cent torque from 3,500 rpm.

A little history of the Superfast. The grand tourer made its debut at the last Geneva Motorshow.

The car also has a claimed top speed of over 221 mph (355 km/h) It is 4,657 mm long (183.3 in), 1,971 mm wide (77.6 in), and 1,276 mm tall (50.2 in), while its dry weight is 1,525 kg (3362 lbs).[7]

The 812 Superfast weighs 3362 lbs. dry, with a weight distribution of 47-53 percent front/rear.

After driving only thrice around the Ferrari circuit, I would give it much credit. It is indeed a power machine of sorts. One waits for the car to reach Bahrain, so it can be road tested and not tested on the tracks. The gran tourismo needs some rough riding on the arid terrain to know its impact and report on the region’s roads.

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