- Assertive styling
- Performance potential is huge
- The Ferrari legacy
- Snarling V-12 engine
- It's very expensive
- Ferrari has a poor reputation for reliability
- There's not much cargo space
The 2017 Ferrari F12berlinetta brings V-12 heritage to the streets, while the F12tdf stakes its reputation on the track.
The long history of front-engined, V-12-powered Ferraris continues for the 2017 model year with the F12. Available in both Berlinetta and tdf models, the F12 coupes carry on the Ferrari tradition of sleek, sexy cars with classic proportions, though some of the details look transplanted on it from the future.
The F12 tops the non-hybrid Ferrari range in power; include the gas-electric LaFerrari and there's hardly a contest. But even among the F12berlinetta and F12tdf, there's a distinct difference: the tdf honors Ferrari's performance in the '50s- and '60s-era Tour de France races, and brings power and a hefty $500,000 price tag in that homage.
Ferrari F12: berlinetta or tdf
For its house-sized mortgage, either F12 gives up the sounds, sights, and the vivid driving experience owners expect from their Ferrari. It starts with the powertrain.
The long, low body of the F12 Berlinetta is covered in dramatic, swooping lines. The most characteristic element of the exterior is a line that rises over the front fender before diving sharply to rise again along the side as it reaches for the tail of the car. At the nose, an aggressive face presents the car’s intent, blending both aesthetics and aerodynamics.
The F12 tdf is even more exaggerated. The roof and A-pillars are the only panels that carry over from the Berlinetta. The front and rear track is wider, and the front end gets a new look with a deeply scooped lower fascia with dive planes, a splitter, wings and louvers inspired by race cars. The “aerobridge” behind each flared front fender is exposed carbon fiber, louvers are added to the rear fenders, and the rear spoiler is longer and taller. The rear diffuser also features a new design with three active flaps, and the underbody has three racing-inspired strakes that increase downforce by 30 percent compared to the F12 Berlinetta.
Under the hood of both lies a 6.3-liter V-12 engine. In the Berlinetta, it turns out 729 horsepower and 508 pound-feet of torque, and spools up to a redline of 8,700 rpm. Some 80 percent of peak torque arrives at just 2,500 rpm, and Ferrari says that pushes the Berlinetta to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds. Top speed is rated at more than 211 mph.
The F12 tdf is even more powerful thanks to revised intake plumbing, a larger throttle body, and solid lifters in place of hydraulic tappets. Total output increases to 769 hp and 519 lb-ft of torque, and the redline rises to 8,900 rpm. The extra power and shorter ratios for the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission lower the 0-to-60-mph time below three seconds, and raise the top speed to 215 mph. Ferrari says the ratios are 6 percent shorter, upshifts are 30 percent faster, and downshifts are 40 percent faster. The tdf also gets the Extreme Design one-piece brake calipers from the LaFerrari.
Developed as the ultimate performance version of the F12, the tdf also features wider front tires (275s instead of 255s) that provide more grip and therefore make the car more willing to oversteer. To combat that tendency, Ferrari outfits the F12 tdf with active rear steering that it brands as a Virtual Short Wheelbase system. Ferrari says this system doesn’t countersteer the rear axle to make the car turn in better at lower speeds—the wider tires provide all the turn-in response the car needs. Instead, the rears only steer in the same direction as the fronts at higher speeds to increase stability.
The F12 tdf cuts 243 pounds thanks in part to reducing the amount of glass and using more carbon fiber. The glass area of the rear quarter windows is smaller and the rear window is tapered. Carbon fiber is used for the inside and outside of the doors, as well as the front and rear fascias.
F12 comfort and features
Inside the F12 Berlinetta, the cabin is, as you’d expect of Ferrari’s top GT, luxurious: leathers wrap most human interface elements, while high-tech F1-inspired switchgear adorns the controls. The steering wheel, in particular, reflects the F1 provenance of much of the F12 Berlinetta’s technology, with a “manettino” control layout of switches, knobs, and buttons.
The F12 tdf is more spartan. The glove box is replaced by simple padding, and the door panels are stripped to the carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is also used for the instrument panel pod, while leather trim gives way to Alcantara. The seats are technical fiber instead of leather, and the floors feature only patterned aluminum instead of carpeting. A radio and air conditioning are standard, though.
The F12 Belinetta has no shortage of features and equipment, especially with the aid of a customized design from Ferrari’s personalization service, dubbed Tailor Made. With Tailor Made, the sky is the limit—materials, colors, options, technology—nearly anything the buyer can think of can be done—for a price.
We haven’t yet had a chance to drive the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta or the F12 tdf, but we’ll update this space once we do.