What’s in a name? In the case of the Ferrari 812 Superfast, a numerical reference to its 800-(metric) horsepower, 12-cylinder engine and a not-so-subtle hint at its capability for extreme rates of travel. Only Ferrari, notorious for joyously naming its flagship “LaFerrari,” could get away with the moniker. But once you get past the super-obvious nomenclature, it becomes hard to argue with this on-the-nose model name.
If you’re lucky enough to have sampled the standard F12 and one of the 799 F12 TDFs offered to Ferrari’s most loyal clients, you’ve got a pretty good idea of the 812 Superfast’s personality, which involves a blend of the TDF’s edginess and the F12’s comfort and usability.
Each of the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission’s gears has been shortened, which has the virtual effect of producing an extra 50 horsepower – as if the mighty V12 was wanting for oomph. Upshifts can now happen 30 percent quicker, and the engine’s ability to rev-match for downshifts occurs 40 percent faster. Aiding the 812’s performance are revised aerodynamic profiles via a panoply of vents, ducts, vortex generators, and diffusers. With the goal of reducing drag while maintaining downforce, airflow is manipulated via passive elements at the front diffusers and three active flaps at the rear.
Having explored the 812’s limits on the track, the road becomes an appropriate place to dial back the drama and explore the grand-touring side of the car’s personality. That said, the V12 makes it all but impossible to switch on the Bose-powered stereo system, which is just as well.
In fact, “neat” just might be the operative word when piloting the 812 on twisty roads; despite its relatively lengthy 107-inch wheelbase and longish snout, the Ferrari manages to tackle switchbacks with zero drama. Ride quality is controlled and firm but never busy, and the so-called Bumpy Road setting offers a bit more compliance over the potholed bits.