Geneva motor show 2012: Ferrari’s F12berlinetta

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Ferrari reveals 211mph, 730bhp F12berlinetta ahead of next week’s Geneva motor show.

Ferrari has taken the wraps off its “most powerful and high-performance” road car ever ahead of next week’s Geneva motor show.

The mid-front-engined F12berlinetta is powered by the latest development of Ferrari’s naturally aspirated 6,262cc V12 engine, which now develops 730bhp at 8,500rpm and 509lb ft of torque at 6,000rpm (80 per cent of which is said to be available from 2,500rpm). The V12 is mated to Ferrari’s F1 dual-clutch paddle-shift gearbox and driven through the rear wheels.

The two-seater can accelerate from 0-62mph in 3.1sec and from 0-124mph in 8.5sec and has lapped Ferrari’s Fiorano test track in 1min 23sec – that’s faster than any other Ferrari road car. Top speed is quoted as over 211mph.

Compared with the 599 which it replaces, the F12berlinetta has a shorter wheelbase, while the engine, seats and dashboard are all mounted lower in the chassis. A new layout of rear suspension and gearbox has also helped to keep the new car compact; at 4,618mm long and 1,942mm wide it is significantly smaller than its rival from Sant’Agata, the Lamborghini Aventador.

Rather than using a carbon-fibre monocoque to keep weight down, as Lamborghini has with the Aventador and McLaren with its MP4-12C, Ferrari has instead worked with Scalietti to design an all-new spaceframe chassis using 12 different kinds of alloy and new assembly and joining techniques. The result, according to the Italian car-maker, is a 20 per cent increase in structural rigidity as well as a 70kg reduction in weight (when the car is specified with “lightweight options”) to 1,525kg.

The aggressive styling is the result of a collaboration between the Ferrari Styling Centre and Pininfarina and is said to offer “exceptional” in-car space and comfort, despite the car’s compact exterior dimensions. On the outside, two new aerodynamic devices help to boost downforce by 76 per cent compared to the 599, as well as cut drag (Ferrari quotes a Cd figure of 0.299). The first is an “Aero Bridge”, which consists of two small bonnet mounted flaps that channel air away from the upper part of the car to its flanks where it helps to decrease drag. The second is “Active Brake Cooling”, whereby the brake cooling ducts in the front bumper only open when high operating temperatures are sensed, again reducing drag.

Carbon-ceramic brakes, adaptive damping and Ferrari’s now familiar electronic control systems (E-Diff, ESP Premium and F1-Trac) complete the package.

Ferrari is yet to announce prices, but expect a figure in the region of £250,000. The first cars are due to arrive with customers at the end of this year or beginning of 2013.

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