2012 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta review

* New Ferrari F12 grand tourer driven * Costs 239,736; 0-62mph in 3.1 seconds * On sale now, first deliveries March 2013...

2012 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta review

The Ferrari F12 Berlinetta is the fastest, most powerful model in the history of the iconic supercar manufacturer.

Shorter, lower and lighter than the 599 GTB it replaces, the two-seat, V12-engined F12 gets an extra 119bhp, which takes it up to 730bhp. However, like front-engined Ferrari greats of times gone by such as the Daytona and 550 Maranello the F12 is actually a dual-purpose car.

The most sporting (as opposed to the quickest) car in Ferraris stable remains the V8-powered 458; the F12s job is not just to double your heart rate at the blip of a throttle, but also provide the means by which owners can travel vast distances in safety and comfort.

Whether those owners would ever exercise that ability is not the point: they want to know its there.

What we do know is that 20% of them will use their cars daily, so being simply fast and furious is not an option.

2012 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta; shorter, lower and lighter than the 599 GTB it replaces

Whats the 2012 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta like to drive?
On the right road, it's epic. The engine dominates the experience, the F12 hurling towards the horizon like no other front-engined supercar on sale.

The F12 will get from 0-62mph in around 3.1 seconds and on to a top speed of around 210mph. If you want to make the most of this cars performance, you'll need a race track preferably a very large one.

Theres no pause between gears, it just keeps going inexorably until you run out of road or, more likely, courage.

Simply harnessing such power and transmitting it through the rear wheels alone is a mighty achievement for Ferrari. However, as long as you leave the electronics in charge of safety, its actually extremely composed.

2012 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta; the 730bhp supercar that you can use on a daily basis

Only the steering disappoints; its ratio is too quick for comfort, making the car feel more nervous than it actually is.

Ease off a bit and treat it as the long distance tourer that most owners will and youll discover another side to its personality: one with an acceptable ride and exceptional refinement for such a car.

However you drive it, though, expect fuel consumption to be on the catastrophic side of thirsty. The official average fuel economy is 18.8mpg, but we doubt anyone driving this car in the manner its maker intended will see anything close to that.

Few drivers will achieve the F12 Berlinetta's official average economy of 18.8mpg

Whats the 2012 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta like inside?
Slightly disappointing. For this money it would not be unreasonable to expect a completely bespoke interior, but in reality the F12's dashboard architecture, dials and switchgear are at least reminiscent of those in lesser, cheaper Ferraris.

That said, theres plenty of space for you and your passenger (even though provision for oddments is poor) and an unexpectedly huge boot. Remove the shelf between the boot and the seats and itll swallow 500 litres of luggage more than many large saloons can manage.

Only the F12 Berlinetta's cabin disappoints; it's simply not special enough

Should I buy one?
If you're extremely wealthy and want a supercar that will not only thrill you to the core, but also carry you vast distances in quiet and relative comfort, then yes you should.

It is that breadth of ability that impresses more than the devastating pace. For all its ferocious power, the F12 Berlinetta is an eminently useable, almost practical supercar.

For almost a quarter of a million pounds, we should expect nothing less.

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Andrew Frankel