by Jay Traugott
The Ferrari 812 Competizione A is a very special car. Of course, any limited edition Ferrari is classified as special, but some more than others. This qualifies. What you're looking is quite likely the last non-electrically-assisted, naturally aspirated topless Ferrari V12. It's no wonder all planned examples are already sold out.
Ferrari embarked on the turbocharging era by dropping naturally aspirated V8s in favor of forced induction. The V12 managed to remain immune to turbochargers and could still. It's highly likely Ferrari will go directly to electrifying the V12 instead. Expect the decades-long tradition of high-powered NA V12s to be nearly over, and the 812 Competizione A and its sister ship, the hardtop coupe 812 Competizione, to mark the end of an era.
The letter 'A' in the name stands for "Aperta," which means "open" in Italian. The topless version of the LaFerrari was also referred to as Aperta, but this time around Ferrari decided the first letter of the word was good enough.
The general shape of the standard 812 Superfast remains intact. The 812 Competizione A is expected to replace the 812 GTS, and Ferrari engaged in a series of significant aerodynamic improvements.
There's a new rear diffuser and instead of the coupe's vortex generators that replace the rear glass, the open-roof receives a bride between the two buttresses that direct air towards the rear spoiler to help keep the rear end secure. The removable roof panel is made completely from carbon fiber and can be stowed in a designated compartment identically shaped to the roof. Once it is, the carbon fiber roll bars stick out above the rest of the body becoming what Ferrari describes as "secondary visual elements."
The long hood has a transverse groove where the carbon fiber blade rests. This is really just a clever way of hiding the engine bay's air vents while also increasing their surface area, resulting in a cleaner and more sculpted look. The wraparound windscreen flows nicely into the side windows, a neat design trick that makes the car's center of gravity appear lower.
The two-passenger cockpit's general layout remains largely the same as that of the 812 Superfast. The design of main dash and door panels have not been altered, though the latter has been is now composed of lighter-weight materials. The flat-bottom steering wheel is also identical to the Superfast's. Four large air vents are displayed dominantly.
The door panel pockets sticks out from the main structure with a "floating" design element, creating a greater sense of lightness with the rest of the cabin. Another noteworthy design element is the gear-gate theme in the central console where in past Ferraris, the iconic gated manual shifter was located. Ferrari says this is the first time its applied this unique styling in a V12 model.
A significant amount of attention was given to the naturally aspirated 6.5-liter V12. While the 812 Superfast produces an impressive 789 horsepower, the 812 Competizione A increases that figure to 819 hp. That output is fully felt at 9,250 rpm; the powerplant redlines at 9,500 rpm. Torque, however, is slightly down by 19 lb-ft, now rated at 510 lb-ft. Power goes to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that's been recalibrated for five percent faster shift times.
The performance increase can be attributed to replacing the steel connecting rods with lighter titanium units, adding diamond-like carbon to the piston rings to reduce internal friction, rebalancing the crankshaft, and completely redesigned cylinder heads. Improvements were further made to the oil pump, direction injection setup, and cooling system. Ferrari updated its brilliant four-wheel-steering system to further improve the supercar's lateral capabilities.
These modifications all contribute towards exhilarating performance. Zero to 62 mph takes just 2.85 seconds, 0-124 in 7.5 seconds, and top speed is over 211 mph. The 0-124 mph time is an impressive 0.4 seconds faster than the 812 Superfast mainly because of the better power-to-weight ratio.
We would normally say to anyone who wants to buy a V12 Ferrari that they'd better get in line. It's already too late in this case as reports claim the 812 Competizione A is already sold out. Pricing will supposedly begin at €578,000, but a precise US dollar amount hasn't been revealed. We highly doubt those loyal Ferrari customers will care. They know exactly what they'll be getting. It's called greatness.
Competition-wise, there's no direct rival because no mainstream supercar company is still building front-engined, naturally aspirated V12s models. If you're looking for something Italian with an NA V12, look no further than the Lamborghini Aventador S and Aventador SVJ. Both come in coupe and roadster body styles but neither exceed 800 horsepower. Just saying.
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