Engine: 6,5-litre V12
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch
Power: 602 kW@ 9 250 r/min
Torque: 691 N.m@ 7 000 r/min
0-100 km/h: 2,85 seconds*
Top speed: 342 km/h*
Fuel consumption: 14,08 L/100 km*
CO2: 385 g/km
Rivals: Aston Martin DBS Superleggera, Lamborghini Aventador, McLaren 765 LT
+ the last of the V12s; collector’s item; stratospheric redline north of 9 500 r/min
- a handful to drive without the driver aids engaged; just 999 built+
Five hundred r/min ... At 3 000 r/min that’s a mere toe flex away. Although, stretching a naturally aspirated Ferrari V12’s redline by a mere 500 r/min is like climbing a quivering step ladder on Everest’s peak. Metaphorically speaking, this is what Ferrari’s engineers have achieved with the 812 Competizione, and what I’m experiencing on a hot lap of Ferrari’s Fiorano test track; the same 6,5-litre engine in the 812 Superfast spins to a white-hot 9 000 r/min, but the Competizione stretches to 9 500 r/min and serves its 602 kW just 250 r/min earlier. No road-going Ferrari engine has ever revved higher … and Ferraris are all about the revs (we won’t mention there’s slightly less torque) and, besides, even at 2 500 r/min you’ve still got 80% of the 691 N.m at 7 000 r/min. The thing is, you feel this engine’s added aggression even leaving the Fiorano pits, where the throttle is more like a cattle-prod in Race mode than other 812s. It’s an 812 Superfast made to go even faster.
Chasing crazy revs and response has meant thoroughly redesigning an engine that was already tied for top atmospheric honours with Lamborghini’s fabulous V12: new titanium conrods; pistons that are 2% lighter; a rebalanced crankshaft that’s 3% lighter and spins in less viscous oil; revised cylinder heads with camshafts treated to a diamondlike carbon coating; steel sliding finger followers to work the valve stems; and more compact manifolds and inlet plenums to force air into the engine more rapidly (variable length inlet tracts help smooth torque through the range). So, if you’re one of the lucky 999 who has been allocated this special-series model for just shy of £500 000 (± R9,1 million in a direct currency conversion), let’s just say it’d be a shame to rarely breach the 4 000 r/min mark.
Things are pretty frantic when you’re using those revs. The response slams rather than squeezes you back into your seat if you suddenly pin the throttle. The needle races round the dial like the 32x fast-forward setting on your smart TV. And for track driving, the flashing lights set in the top of the steering wheel rim aren’t just nice decoration, they’re essential for extra mental capacity: red when you need to have fingers primed on paddle shifters that might as well be triggers, emergency-services blue when you’re on the limiter.
Pull for an upshift and the seven-speed dual-clutch ’box snaps in the change – a smidge faster, apparently, but they’re all fast – and already you’re back in a stratospheric rev range that, if most cars somehow found themselves there, you’d need a dustpan and brush to sort out the mess. Given we were purely driving on a track, you can bet the astonishing bandwidth will intensify on the road where you’re more frequently building from lower revs in tight spaces.
This remains a gorgeously smooth engine, one that retains an operatic vocal range, but it is less exotic and gruffer than earlier 812s, thanks in part to new exhausts free of the usual cosmetic finishers that even the engineers liken to trombones. A new particulate filter must take most of the blame because even a 602 kW Ferrari V12 good for342 km/h can’t outrun tightening emission regulations.
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