Before you go thinking that nine-year olds have begun naming Ferrari models or that Ferrari have simply run out of superlatives, there is a history to this name. "Superfast" was actually used in a rare 1960s model called the 500 Superfast. Succeeding the 400 Super America, the 500 Superfast was a Pininfarina designed 2+2 GT car that was powered by a five-liter V12 pumping 400 horses. And just like the 812 Superfast of today, the 500 also made its debut in Geneva. The new 812 Superfast replaces the successful F 12 model series, and promises to further raise the already atmospheric performance set by its predecessor.
Under the hood
Ferrari is one of the few manufacturers in the world still using a V12, and when it comes to engines of this size, none make them any better. The late great Enzo Ferrari adhered to the philosophy that a proper car should have the engine mounted in the front, similar to how a horse is in front of its carriage. The engine will always be the centerpiece of any vehicle with Enzo's name on it. Building from the 6.2 liters of the F12, here it receives an enlarged 6.5-liter version of the 12-cylinder plant.
Enhancements like redesigned exhaust ducts, variable inlet ducts as those used before in F 1, and the triple injection fuel system have all conspired to elevate the performance to staggering proportions. The 812 is officially listed at 789 horsepower and 718 Newton-meters of torque. (It's called 812 for 800 horsepower and 12 cylinders, but falling a few ponies short doesn't really take away from its glory.) If this be the last naturally aspirated V12 Ferrari, then count on Maranello to go out with a bang...a very loud one at that. The numbers are just numbing: Eight thousand nine hundred revolutions per minute redline. Zero to 62 miles per hour (mph) in 2.9 seconds. Top speed of 211 mph. It's simply bonkers.
Sharing some genetic traits with the iconic '69 365 GTB4 Daytona, the Superfast boasts of a high tail in two-box proportion. Like the F12, the fastback cut is apparent, lending it a lot of structural fluidity. In its latest form, Ferrari's flagship boasts a more menacing façade, with that front end having those ultra aggressive lines and snarly snout. Headlights are sharper, while air vents found behind the front wheels also serve some aero purpose.
Twin round tail lights also distinguish it from the older vehicle. Within the 812 you will notice a similarity with the outgoing model, in the sense that the cabin is more elegant minimalist than outright opulence. Excellent finish is to be expected, as this is predominantly handcrafted work. Most eye catching of course is still the high-tech steering wheel with the Manettino switch, which has Formula-1 inspired written all over it. There is a new digital display by the glove box so the passenger can read your revs as you break the speed limit.
For the first time in its flagship, Ferrari has introduced electronic power steering (EPS) which allows the vehicle to react quicker to driver inputs. EPS continuously "talks" to the other systems governing vehicle dynamics, allowing the driver to extract the most performance from the car.
Virtual Short Wheelbase version 2.0 is also present, which endows the 812 with the ability to mechanically steer the rear wheels should understeer become too apparent. This allows the car to react more precisely into corners. Now should you overcook it and oversteer ensues, Side Slip Control (ver. 5) can step in, allowing you to drift the car like a rally good.
Unseen to the naked eye of course are the aero works Ferrari has tucked into the body work. A master when it comes to employing down force, the invisible sorcery can be found all around the vehicle. Take for instance the turning vane on the front bumper, the three pairs of curved dams that channel air through the underbody, and the rear spoiler in the back. All these keep the 812 stable when it goes, err, well, super fast.
Photographs by Vince R. Arcilla
This story first appeared in May 2018 issue of Metro Society.