As a Lamborghini fan boy, I never quite understood why Ferrari stuffed the big V12 engines in their front-engine cars. I have thought that making the entry-level V8 GT-styled cars would cover that market while the mid-engine cars would make sense with a V12. Today though, those thoughts have been rendered useless. I now see why Ferrari puts a big V12 in front of the driver; it makes for an epic grand touring supercar.
My instant reaction to the Ferrari 812 Superfast as soon as I sat in it was that it was an extremely nice place to be. The smell of fine Italian leather, seats that caress you, air vents that look like they belong in a spaceship, and a badass race-inspired steering wheel with all of the right controls on it.
Slightly intimidated by the horsepower and price of the car as well as the fact that we had just been pulled over for seemingly no reason other than driving while looking fast, I began to mosey around in the car for a bit. This didn’t last as long as it usually does in other cars because driving the 812 is so seamless and easy. It truly gave me a luxury car feeling, but now it was time to give the throttle a stabbin’.
Many people that have never explored the capabilities of sports cars on public roads often ask me something along the lines of: “What is the point of owning a car like that? There’s nowhere to use the power. It’s too fast to be on the road…” to which I usually just chuckle and tell them that in the right circumstances, there is plenty of space on public roads to have fun in a fast car. Car enthusiasts as well as non-car people have asked me stuff like this, and it makes me question my recklessness at times. On that note, the Ferrari 812 Superfast is just too fast for the average road. Yes, even an open canyon road during the early morning. It was just not as enjoyable as it could’ve been because it would get from A to C before you could even think about B. That’s fast. Some might even say, “Super fast.”
The biggest takeaway I have from driving the 812 is that everything is extremely sharp in the driving dynamics department. It has sharp throttle inputs in race mode, but gets going from a stop smoothly compared to every other car with a dual clutch. The dual clutch makes the car what it is though, as the characteristics are exactly what you’d expect from Ferrari. The transmission is laser sharp when driving like mad man, yet easy-going when you need to drive like a normal member of society. The steering rack is quicker than anything I have driven, and with that comes precision on a different level than just about what any other modern car can offer.
While we are on the topic of being sharp, the car even looks literally sharp. It’s what I’d imagine would happen if a katana and a Ferrari F12 had a baby.
The driving dynamics of this car absolutely need to be as precise as they are, because it’s so violently fast that any subpar dynamics would possibly cost you your car, or even a life. I would hate to drive this car if it was sloppy and numb but still had all of the power. It wouldn’t be fun to get even 4/10ths to the limit, but because Ferrari did such a good job with the car, it makes you feel that the limits are only as high as your personal capabilities.
My primary issue with driving the 812 Superfast is that it sounds too damn good. It makes you want to brake later because you want it to rev out. Of course, once you realize how good it sounds when you downshift, that stops being the issue.
In comparison to one of my favorite cars ever, the Lamborghini Aventador, the 812 is the better car. Having driven both, I think that the 812 does normal car things far better than the Lambo ever could. What might confuse you is that I still feel like the Aventador is the better supercar. It’s flashy, makes the right sounds, and drives so uncomfortably that you would never want to daily drive it. It’s the real exotic car experience. For some though, the 812 makes more sense. I get that.
If you want to own the most elegant, sharp, expensive Swiss army knife available, then I think the 812 Superfast is the car for you. Otherwise, I say you should get yourself a nice GT coupe or even a luxury sedan, and spend the rest on a proper supercar.
VIDEO: AlphaLuxe Drives Ferrari 812 Superfast (4m 54s)
Counterpoint by Kevin Blasko
Really? “Superfast”? I know Italian superlatives like “Superleggera” sound cool to us dim-witted English speakers- but does that also work in reverse? I had to avoid telling my friends about my opportunity to drive the thing, to spare myself another sarcastic “How fast is it?” exchange. But, having driven the car, it’s clear how the Maranello marketing bosses could muster no better adjective to describe the beautiful beast. I’ll give you what you came for: yes, it’s really god-damned fast.
And, as expected from this highest pedigree of grand tourer, the 812’s manners around town were impeccable. In “street” mode, the dual-clutch offered up nigh imperceptible shifts, and the muscular V12 supplied effortless torque from the lowest reaches of the tach. Notching the Manettino into “Race” might as well be re-branded the “Ferrari button”, as it affords the car lightning-quick throttle response and shifting behavior so aggressive, you’d swear you were piloting the FXX.
Summoning the 12 naturally-aspirated cylinders for a blindingly-quick blast into third or fourth gear, followed by a series of brutal downshifts, is enough to make any driver forget they’re piloting the “cushy” model.
Niggles included some unbecoming creaks and rattles inside the cabin while negotiating rough pavement, as well as rev-matched downshifts that didn’t quite match- leaving the car lurching and tough to manage on corner entry. But, honestly, one is grasping for straws to find any flaw in the driving experience of this machine. If I had “fuck you” money, and was looking for the ultimate dual-personality sports car- one that can get your adrenaline pumping in the canyons, then carry you home through LA traffic in absolute serenity- this would be right at the top of the list.
Primary Author’s Biography
Michael Gallardo found interest in cars at around 6 years old. Going to the drag strip to watch NHRA races and riding in his Dad’s VW Beetle were the earliest memories that he can credit his passion to. A year after high school, Michael bought his first car, a 1986 Porsche 944. Ever since then, he has been switching it up and trying to experience all of the cars that he possibly can. Interests include watching Formula 1, going to the shooting range, collecting watches, trying new places to eat, and an occasional round of golf.