Docile vs. Composed
The first word that came to mind when driving the Ferrari 812 Superfast on the streets of Los Angeles surprised me: “Docile”. I couldn’t tell that there were 789 horses beneath the hood. Even when I got more aggressive with the gas pedal, the car remained composed, comfortable, easy to drive. The sharp handling belied the V12 in the nose and nearly two tons of mass.
Undoubtedly its agreeable disposition is a testament to the level of engineering Ferrari has brought to bear on this super grand tourer. Although I couldn’t quite articulate what was happening, I could tell there was a lot going on under the hood to keep this car planted and agile.
My recent jaunt in a 650 hp rear-wheel-drive sports car brought this into stark relief: at a quarter of the price of the 812, it was a wild beast in comparison, requiring a high level of attention to prevent the rear wheels from coming out, even with the traction control engaged. The 812 seemed to require less attention from the driver—but commanded more attention from passers-by.
Although I’m always impressed by how car manufacturers are able to keep refining—or in some cases, dramatically improving—the look of successive generations of exotic cars, I can’t unequivocally say that I like the look of the 812 more than its predecessor, the F12.
On the outside, the 812 looks a bit more over-styled with its sweeping arches as compared to the more streamlined F12, and somehow the F12’s two round taillights seem bolder than the 812’s four. Still, while beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, I suspect most people would agree that both cars are gorgeous.
As it should for a car that costs this much, the interior looks and feels like money. Not necessarily luxurious like a Rolls Royce, but refined nonetheless and purpose-built. As with other recent Ferraris, the cockpit is oriented to the driver. A large central rev counter portends what lies under the hood, with its 8900 rpm redline.
The infotainment system plays second fiddle, flanking both sides of the rev counter. Long shift paddles never missed my fingers. A host of controls on the steering wheel include driving modes, suspension settings, lights, turn signals and even windshield wipers.
In truth, I wish I had more time and road to explore this car’s power band. The naturally aspirated V12 is glorious and left me wanting more. More time to play astronaut on the ground, testing how much the rear-wheel-steering could simulate a centrifuge in the corners.
But can I really complain?
No, AlphaLuxe, I can’t.
— Johan K
Counterpoint by ThomasM
I am well known to prefer analogue and raw – I felt the Lamborghini Performante wasn’t raw enough; I felt the original AMG GT-s wasn’t raw enough. But what exactly does analogue and raw mean? While still refining a rational consistent working definition of these terms, I do know what I like and what I don’t like. It is possible to be too raw…for example: the Viper ACR-e.
I do like the Ferrari 812 Superfast, so much so that it is one of the few modern Ferraris – no, one of the few modern cars, period – that tempts me.
Morphing from a docile, plush, daily driver into a “LOL giggle-machine” at the stab of the throttle, the 812 retains a level of driver-feel in both throttle response and steering-feel that is sorely lacking in most current production cars. It somehow doesn’t feel as heavy and lumbering as the numbers would lead one to expect.
Social media pundits have compared the design to the C7 Corvette, dubbing it the Italian ‘Vette’, and while I can see a resemblance, they are sufficiently different that I have no reservations about the design – I like it, though I have to agree there are a few too many design details; “Overdesigned” a little….
[Aside – I do NOT see any resemblance between the new McLaren Longtail to the elegantly gorgeous Jaguar XJ220]