Ferrari 812 Superfast...does exactly what it says on the tin
LABELS on packaging are increasingly banal. Think of coffee cups emblazoned with "caution: contains hot liquid" or warnings that new knives are sharp. The average consumer would think they're self-evident.
Now step up to Ferrari's latest two-seat V12 grand tourer. It wears a prancing horse badge and packs 6.5 litres of venom under the bonnet so you'd expect it to be quick.
That hasn't stopped the Maranello maestros dubbing it the "Superfast", which would be evident to even the most disinterested motorist.
And super-fast it is. This curvaceous beast, known in full as the Ferrari 812 Superfast, hits 100km/h in a superbike-like 2.9 seconds and hurtles to the 200km/h mark in 7.9 seconds, or less time than most mainstream cars need to reach highway speed.
You pay for such performance. In the case of the Superfast, the price starts at $609,888. Except you can't have one for any money.
Australia's allocation was sold before it arrived in showrooms and existing owners aren't likely to part with what is tipped to be the last naturally aspirated V12 made by Ferrari. Future versions are expected to be turbocharged and/or hybrid boosted.
The Superfast arrives with all-wheel steering, carbon-ceramic disc brakes, electronic diff, LED lights and adaptive suspension. And then the options kick in.
Our test car was valued at $795,183 thanks to such inclusions as "Grigio Superfast Opaco" paint at $52,937, interior and exterior carbon-fibre totalling $59,413, premium audio adding $10,000, similar money for front and rear parking cameras and $9500 for a passenger display for revs, gear and speed.
Most Tifosi will spend similar money to differentiate "their" 812 from others they may encounter at social functions and track days.
Choose wisely and the Ferrari's resale value will be retained (perhaps refrain from specifying the contrasting yellow leather panels on the dash - they look dramatic but the reflections on the windscreen can be a drama).
There's enough boot space to take a couple of overnight bags and a shelf behind the seats provides extra capacity, thereby fulfilling the grand tourer brief.
The ride is also surprisingly pliant for a Ferrari, at least with the adaptive dampers in the "bumpy road" setting - and that's probably the default mode in Australia when driving anywhere other than a freeway.
ON THE ROAD
The Superfast comes with its own hallucinogens. You can't legally tap into them outside of a racetrack but if you do, it is a mind-altering experience.
Essentially a major upgrade of the engine seen in the last-generation F12 Berlinetta, the 812 Superfast now displaces 6.5 litres, up from the previous car's 6.3.
The engine revs to a magnificent 8900rpm and you need play near that stratospheric high to tap into the mind-altering performance. Torque tops out at 718Nm at 7000rpm and maximum power (588kW) doesn't arrive until 8500rpm.
When the engine isn't being worked, the Superfast is an amenable city driver. Keep the tacho below 4000rpm and the Superfast will happily play in the traffic, though the massive tyres will try to follow tram tracks and the like.
The seven-speed dual-clutch auto serves up the right gear at the right time when left to its own devices but the pair of huge paddle-shifters demand your attention, even if it is just to drop down a cog and let the V12 start to bellow.
On urban roads, the car's width becomes apparent - but it's the "grab-for-the-phone" reaction from other motorists that causes most concern. Four-wheel steering reduces parking stress by virtually shortening the wheelbase to make the 812 easier to park. At higher speeds it also helps stabilise the car when cornering.
Stomp on the brutal brakes and Ferrari says the Superfast will stop from 100km/h in an astonishing 32m.
As a grand tourer with cutting-edge performance, the Ferrari 812 Superfast is superlative. Put any label you like on it … but treat it with respect.
FERRARI 812 SUPERFAST
PRICE From $609,888 plus on-roads
WARRANTY/SERVICE 3 years/unlimited km; 7 years free
SAFETY Not tested, 4 airbags
ENGINE 6.5-litre V12, 588kW/718Nm
TRANSMISSION 7-speed dual clutch auto; RWD