This is our first chance to drive the Ferrari F12 in Britain – the fastest and most powerful road-going car the company has ever produced.
The F12 replaces the 599 and follows the same formula as its predecessor, along with other Ferrari classics such as the Daytona and 550 Maranello. This new Ferrari is a two-seat, front-engined, rear-wheel drive super-coupe, designed to serve up continent-crossing abilities and supreme sportiness and performance.
The F12 is shorter, lighter and lower than the 599, and with 730bhp from its 6.2-litre V12 engine, it’s also a lot more powerful; 0-62mph takes just 3.1 seconds and top speed is 211mph.
What's the Ferrari F12 like to drive?
Brutally, mesmerisingly fast. In fact, even if you're lucky enough to drive something as fast as a Porsche 911 Turbo, the F12's acceleration will still make you gulp.
The way it piles on speed and propels you up the road is a step ahead of virtually any other super car, but it's not intimidating. You soon learn that the electronic safety systems will look after you even on damp roads (within reason), and although the high-revving V12 sounds frenetic, the experience isn’t alarming.
When you're in less of a hurry the Ferrari plays the role of GT far better than you may expect, too. Ease off and it’s remarkably refined; the engine hardly intrudes and it rides far better than a car this agile has any right to.
Like all modern Ferraris, the engine's power goes through a seven-speed, twin-clutch gearbox, which can deliver whip-crack quick shifts via the steering wheel-mounted paddles, or can act as a full automatic.
In fact, only the steering disappoints. It doesn’t communicate with the road as well as we'd like and it darts around too much. The latter is fine when you’re pushing through bends but everywhere else it makes the F12 feel too nervous – especially on the motorway, where it's tricky to stay in the centre of your lane.
What’s the Ferrari F12 like inside?
You sit low, snug and comfortably in the F12; there’s a commanding view down the long bonnet and all-road visibility is surprisingly good, however.
That's just as well because the F12 is very wide, so nursing it through a town or city can be an intimidating experience.
In the cabin, you are surrounded by some top-quality materials with leather, carbon and suede being the main things you see and touch. There is the usual idiosyncratic Ferrari switchgear to contend with, however, including indicators and light switches on the steering wheel.
The F12 also has a second display in front of the passenger so he or she can see what revs or gear the driver is in or what speed they are doing.
Other benefits include an impressive amount of boot space (for a Ferrari) and some extra room behind the front seat.
Should you buy one?
This is a hugely fast, talented car but also has huge running costs and the prospect of scary depreciation.
However, it operates in such a rarified price bracket that it barely merits a value-for-money judgement. For the same money you could buy a new Rolls-Royce Wraith or a Lamborghini Aventador. It would be a mistake to consider either, though, as the Ferrari F12 is the far superior car.
What Car? says...
Engine size 6.2-litre V12 petrol
Price from £239,352
Torque 508lb ft
0-62mph 3.1 seconds
Top speed 211mph
Fuel economy 18.8mpg