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Ferrari continues with V12 in 12Cilindri GT. Image by Ferrari.

Ferrari continues with V12 in 12Cilindri GT
The 812’s replacement might have a ‘does what it says on the tin’ name, but it’s a 211mph, £315,000 masterpiece.
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What's all this about?

It's an all-new 'mid-range' Ferrari, although when you're talking about something that has more power than an 812 Superfast and is thus capable of 211mph flat out, 'mid-range' seems to be criminally underselling it somewhat. Anyway, it's the 812's replacement, and its name is... 12Cilindri. Can you work out what that means?

I can have a pretty good guess. But is it not something like '12Cilindri e Hybrid', more accurately?

No. It isn't. In a week when another high-end manufacturer revealed its new V12 engine in defiance of the age of electrification, Ferrari has doubled down on its insistence that a big, normally aspirated V12 still has a role to play in its 2020s portfolio. This is despite the fact that there have been quite a few hybridised Ferraris already, and that the Italian marque's first all-electric vehicle is supposedly due in 2025.

So it really is a pure 12Cilindri?

It most certainly is, and a little word on pronunciation here. It is not the Ferrari 'twelve-sill-in-dree', in case you're just putting its Italian name into phonetic English. Instead, the company, quite rightly, would like everyone across the planet to brush up on their Italian and pronounce it in the company's mother tongue, where it becomes 'do-dee-chay chill-in-dree'. Which, when you say it like that, is another one of those wonderful Italian car-model names that sounds so romantic and exotic, when in fact its name is as pragmatically 'Ronseal' as either Quattroporte or Biposto. Or even, if you're well into your rare-groove hot hatchbacks, 'Sedicivalvolve'.

I know all of those. Go on, then, let's have some of the 12Cilindri's numbers.

They're big ones. The 6.5-litre unit is front-mounted and drives the rear wheels through an eight-speed dual-clutch auto, when the 812 used a seven-speed transmission. And the new gearbox also boasts 30 per cent faster shift times, so it's not just numerically superior in terms of its cogs. Anyway, peak power is 830hp at a giddy 9,250rpm, which is as much as the 812 made in its most extreme format as the limited-edition Competizione, while torque is 678Nm, and the engine can rev to 9,500rpm. It's actually no more powerful than the 296 GTB, which packs a 'mere' V6, but then remember the 296 is a twin-turbo with hybrid augmentation; the 12Cilindri has none of that sort of stuff to play with.

And despite the fact that Maranello says it is not chasing extreme performance, the acceleration of the new 12-cylinder GT is phenomenal: 0-62mph comes up in just 2.9 seconds, while 0-124mph is done and dusted with in a searing 7.8 seconds. Top speed, as we've already said, is 211mph. Where legal, appropriate and, perhaps more pertinently, physically possible (i.e., you'll need quite a lot of space).

Why is Ferrari persisting with a 'plain' V12 when so many others are electrifying their big-power engines?

Because this configuration is intrinsic to Ferrari's DNA. The very first car from the Prancing Horse that actually wore the Ferrari nameplate was the 125 S racer of 1947, which used the fabled 'Colombo' V12. Since then, there have been many, many V12-engined big GTs from the company over the years, right up to its more modern history prior to the 812, with models such as this one or, indeed, this one also. Further, both the USA and the Middle East are crucial markets to Ferrari (these being the places where some very, very wealthy connoisseurs of the marque live), and customers there pretty much demand that Maranello continues to make nat-asp V12s for its bigger vehicles.

OK, what else do we know about the 12Cilindri?

It is the first front-engined Ferrari V12 GT to enjoy active aerodynamics, with two flaps that deploy at 37mph and then stay out until 186mph, generating 50kg of downforce on the rear of the car at 155mph. Apparently, above 186mph, the 12Cilindri is aerodynamically stable enough that the flaps can then fold back in to minimise ultra-high-speed drag.

It also has a flat underside with three channels at the front to generate vortices and, ultimately, ground effect, with clever louvres preventing any 'dirty' air from the radiators from making its way into said vortices.

And it has rear-wheel steering, which isn't totally uncommon these days, but the Ferrari's system is unusual in that it can steer those rear wheels independently of each other, with the car's brain working out precisely how that works to the benefit of its handling.

As to suspension, it's the same mechanical componentry as the 812 but with a special calibration for the 12Cilindri, with the aim of the engineers to dynamically place it somewhere between the older car's Superfast and Competizione models. It also rolls on 21-inch wheels milled from solid metal.

What about the looks, chassis and interior?

Styled with a nod to classic Ferrari GTs of the past but also with plenty of future-gazing sci-fi elements, the 12Cilindri has a wedge-like profile, a visor-shaped front end, sleek rear LED lights and a 'delta wing' rear windscreen. While the car may not have any hybrid gear, it does have lots of recycled aluminium in its underpinnings which reduces the CO2 output during its manufacture, as well as making the car stiffer than the 812 by 15 per cent. And the interior has the same double-cockpit layout as the Purosangue SUV, although a central touchscreen in the 12Cilindri handles some of the controls that would otherwise have had to be housed on the steering wheel; below this, the design of the centre console echoes that dramatic rear glass of the Ferrari.

How much is all this going to cost me?

Assuming you can get one, around US$395,000 as the coupe and something like US$425,000 for the convertible known as the 12Cilindri Spider, which is going on sale straight away alongside its tin-topped sibling. That's something like £315,000 to £340,000 excluding taxes, and also expect right-hand-drive 12Cilindris to take some time to appear after the first LHD examples off the line. Customers can expect to take first deliveries of this new V12 GT from Ferrari later this year.

Matt Robinson - 3 May 2024

2024 Ferrari 12Cilindri. Image by Ferrari.2024 Ferrari 12Cilindri. Image by Ferrari.2024 Ferrari 12Cilindri. Image by Ferrari.2024 Ferrari 12Cilindri. Image by Ferrari.2024 Ferrari 12Cilindri. Image by Ferrari.

2024 Ferrari 12Cilindri. Image by Ferrari.2024 Ferrari 12Cilindri. Image by Ferrari.2024 Ferrari 12Cilindri. Image by Ferrari.2024 Ferrari 12Cilindri. Image by Ferrari.2024 Ferrari 12Cilindri. Image by Ferrari.    - Ferrari road tests
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