by Karl Furlong
When Ferrari includes the word 'Superfast' in the name of a new model, expectations are high, so it comes as no surprise that the Ferrari 812 Superfast is a magnificent super GT. It takes over from the F12berlinetta and immediately demands attention by way of a 6.5-liter V12 that is one of the most powerful naturally aspirated engines ever conceived. It produces a mindblowing 789 horsepower (that's 121 hp/liter), dwarfing the torque output of 530 lb-ft and serving as a clear sign that it has an appetite for high revs. It's an astonishingly fast GT, hitting 62 mph in a mere 2.9 seconds and capable of a top speed of 211 mph. The front-engined, rear-wheel-drive, two-seat layout harks back to the 599 GTB, and provides the supercar with true GT practicality. It's far from a softie, though, with ultra-sharp steering and uncanny handling for what is quite a heavy machine. There are other tantalizing offerings in the USA to consider at over $300,000, such as the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera, but the 812's phenomenal V12 - and perhaps the world's most lusted after badge - make Ferrari's GT close to unbeatable.
Taking over from the F12berlinetta, the 812 Superfast has a 6.5-liter naturally aspirated V12 engine (up from the F12berlinetta's 6.3L V12) producing 789 horsepower and 530 lb-ft of torque - that's more power than both the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera and the McLaren 720S can manage. The 812 Superfast is also the first Ferrari to employ electric power steering, and it ships with an updated version of the brand's Side Slip Control (SSC) system. Braking performance, too, is better, with a 5.8-percent improvement when stopping from 62 mph compared with the F12berlinetta, thanks to the use of Brembo Extreme Design brakes. A 30-percent increase in downforce is notable with the Superfast's brace of aerodynamic tweaks.
The coupe remains mostly as per the 2020 model. The 812 Competizione coupe and Competizione A drop-top launch in 2021 with a host of track-optimized features. We review those models separately.
The 2020 Ferrari 812 Superfast remains unchanged for another model year.
There are no changes to speak of for the 2019 812 Superfast and it is essentially a carryover of the 2018 model, however the big news is the arrival of the 812 GTS drop-top, which we look at on it's own.
The Ferrari 812 Superfast launches in the US in 2017 as a 2018 model and takes over where its predecessor, the F12berlinetta, left off as the company's flagship V12 coupe. The old car's 730-hp/509-lb-ft 6.3-liter V12 engine is enlarged to 6.5 liters and now develops 789 hp at a screaming 8,500 rpm and 530 lb-ft of torque, which makes the engine the most powerful naturally aspirated production engine at the time. The V12 is able to launch the car to 62 mph in 2.9 seconds with the help of a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The top speed is a claimed 211 mph.
The engine may have moved to the front, but that doesn't mean that the 812 Superfast is anything less than another thrilling Ferrari. It gets one of the best engines ever made in the 6.5-liter naturally aspirated V12, which generates a massive 789 hp. Mated with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, the 812 will accelerate to 62 mph in only 2.9 seconds. Stunningly designed, the GT gets 20-inch alloy wheels, LED lighting, and quad exhaust outlets. There is plenty of space for two in the cabin, which is beautifully finished in only the best materials. Along with a six-speaker audio system, the 812 ships with dual-zone climate control, twin digital displays ahead of the driver, a rearview camera, and power-folding mirrors.
The standalone 812 Superfast is a Ferrari that doesn’t make any compromises, with a comfortable cabin for two and a trunk with enough space for a weekend away. The multi-function steering wheel features controls for the various driving modes. The central tachometer is flanked by digital screens on each side, through which features like Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and navigation can be managed. Another digital screen can be equipped ahead of the passenger. Dual-zone climate control keeps both occupants comfortable, while a bumpy road setting softens up the suspension when encountering rougher surfaces.
The long hood is typical of a front-engined, rear-wheel-drive GT, but the 812 Superfast is still instantly recognizable as a Ferrari. The tall tail is a throwback to the 365 GTB4 (Daytona) of 1969, and while the sleek front-end isn't massively different from the F12berlinetta, it's still striking with stretched LED headlights and gorgeously sculpted air intakes on the hood. At the back, large quad tailpipes are the real deal, and they're mirrored higher up by quad, rounded taillight clusters, a familiar Ferrari styling feature. 20-inch alloy wheels are standard.
The 812 Superfast is about two inches shorter than the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera but is otherwise similar in size to its British rival. The Ferrari is 183.3 inches long, with a width of 77.6 inches, and a height of 50.2 inches. The wheelbase length works out to 107.1 inches. The curb weight works out to 3,594 pounds, which is around 400 lbs lighter than the DBS. These dimensions lend themselves to creating an aerodynamic car that sits low without being heavy.
A choice of over 25 colors can be specified when ordering the 812 Superfast, although we imagine that many buyers would struggle to resist opting for one of the reds, Ferrari's signature shade. Rosso Corsa is a more traditional red, while Rosso Mugello is a moody, darker red. One special color, Rosso 70 Anni, was created to celebrate the brand's 70th anniversary in 2017. Not everyone is obsessed with red Ferraris, of course, so for them, there is Giallo Modena (yellow), Rosso Scuderia (orange), Nero (black), and metallics like Grigio Alloy, Grigio Titanio Metall, and Blu Tour De France.
Capable of spinning up to 9,000 rpm, few - if any - engines can hope to compete with the charisma and power of Ferrari's 6.5-liter naturally aspirated V12. The monstrous outputs are 789 horsepower (at 8,500 rpm) and 530 lb-ft of torque, and it's all fed to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. The pace is searing, with 0 to 62 mph coming up in 2.9 seconds and 0-124 mph taking just 7.9. Passing power is brutal; even in sixth, 130 to 150 mph takes only around 3.5 seconds, based on independent tests. It'll continue hauling all the way up to its top speed of 211 mph. It's quicker than the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera, but just a smidge behind the McLaren 720S. Neither of those cars, impressive as they are, can match the experience of pushing the Ferrari's V12 to its limits, though.
Ferrari claims that the 812 Superfast is a benchmark for mid-front-engined sports cars, and we're not about to argue with that. The 789 hp and 530 lb-ft generated by the 6.5-liter V12 monster makes for an unbelievable specific power output of 121 hp/liter. The motor is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that has been tuned for shorter shift times and to maximize throttle response.
The never-ending rev band is the envy of every turbocharged engine on the planet. Even at under 3,000 rpm, the V12 is already motivating the Superfast along at a rapid rate, but words fail to describe what happens as the needle rises, the volume escalates, and the speed increases - dramatically so. Deliciously sharp throttle response is the order of the day, with an immediate surge forward that requires plenty of restraint on regular roads. The gearbox works through its ratios speedily, and the large paddles are well-sited for when you want to do the shifting yourself. The wondrous engine steals the show, though. Superfast? You bet.
Although it is touted as a grand tourer, the 812 Superfast ultimately ends up being much more Ferrari than Bentley in the way it drives. So, let's get the negatives out of the way, then. At a high-speed cruise, you notice plenty of tire roar, and the engine is a constant presence, even if it does quieten down to an extent when cruising. When the 'bumpy roads' drive mode is dialed up, it rides with reasonable composure, but it's just never as isolating as a true GT is expected to be. For the more hardcore enthusiasts, these aspects won't be a problem at all, because the 812 Superfast's frenetic character is a gift to those who like to take their cars by the scruff of the neck. The electric power steering is, for lack of a better term, super fast - it makes many other sports cars feel languid and can elicit some eye-widening moments for drivers unaccustomed to its ways. Inducing oversteer is almost too easy, which can be a frightening experience on public roads. At its worst, the Superfast never truly allows you to relax, but at best, the car's impeccable balance and agility prove to be an unending source of joy for braver drivers. These traits, coupled with the majestic V12, make for a truly memorable drive - stick it in Race mode and hold on.
6.5 liters and 12 cylinders contribute to the 812 Superfast's ability to take huge gulps of premium gasoline, with EPA-rated figures of 12/16/13 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. Fortunately, it has a large 24.3-gallon gas tank, so will manage a combined cruising range of around 315 miles. According to the EPA, Superfast drivers will spend over $9,000 more in fuel costs over a five-year period relative to the average new vehicle.
The grand tourer positioning becomes more evident in the cabin, where the Ferrari 812 Superfast suffers no great compromises that typically affect exotics. Both the driver and passenger have sufficient space, the ergonomics are sensible, and the materials all feel of good quality. The steering wheel, as in other Ferraris, is chock-full of buttons, even including a tiny wheel with which to adjust the windshield wipers. There is no central infotainment screen, but on each side of the analog tachometer, small screens display vital information. Although an available screen can be equipped ahead of the passenger, it's clear that the driver is the priority in the racy cabin. Standard features include dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, a garage door opener, and LED exterior lighting. Four airbags and front/rear parking sensors are inclusive safety features.
Seating just the driver and one passenger, the front-engined layout of the 812 Superfast provides good cabin space, with sufficient leg- and headroom, and there are no great qualms with ingress/egress either. Without the severely slanted rear window of mid-engined Ferraris like the F8 Tributo, it's also easier to see out of the back of the 812 Superfast.
There is a range of available seating options, with leather in colors like Tortora, Charcoal, Bordeaux, or Sabbia (a light cream), or Daytona seats with different stitching. Diamond pattern-style stitching is another option, adding a more luxurious feel, while on the other end of the spectrum, buyers can opt for monocoque carbon racing seats. We'd advise you to test out a few seating options beforehand, as the racing seats can prove uncomfortable over extended trips. An available carbon interior upgrade adds the racy material to the steering wheel, the air vent surrounds, and the door panels - it looks fantastic.
Pop open the hatchback-like rear lid, and it reveals a narrow trunk that is big enough for a large suitcase or two or three carry-ons. For daily needs, it should suffice. However, one has to contend with a particularly high load lip, so it isn't easy to hoist heavier items in there.
In the cabin, there are narrow door pockets and a single cupholder is sited ahead of the center armrest. The center console storage compartment is small, and a large smartphone will take up much of the space in there. And finally, to make use of the glovebox, you'll have to place the bulky owner's manual elsewhere. Overall, then, the 812 Superfast provides only minimal space to stash small items.
Better equipped than the average Ferrari, the 812 Superfast comes with dual-zone climate control, a rearview camera, push-button ignition, gear shift paddles for the dual-clutch transmission, and dual digital displays on either side of the central tachometer. Convenience items like power-folding side mirrors and keyless entry make this Ferrari more of a pleasure to live with for daily driving. Although there is no central infotainment screen, a passenger-side screen can be equipped above the glovebox. Safety features include four airbags, traction control, electronic stability control, and front/rear parking sensors.
Ferrari bucks convention by doing away with a typical central infotainment screen. Instead, two smaller screens are positioned on either side of the tachometer. The screen on the left can be controlled with a small physical knob below the far left air vent and provides access to data like speed, engine temperature, and battery voltage. The screen on the right, though, has its own dial on the right and provides access to the navigation system, media, phone, and radio. It's an unusual setup, but it works fairly intuitively. As standard, you get a six-speaker audio system (a 12-speaker hi-fi is available), Bluetooth connectivity, speech-to-text functionality, and an internal hard drive. Apple users will appreciate the availability of Apple CarPlay, but Android Auto isn't offered at all. On the passenger side, a dedicated screen can be equipped just above the glove compartment, providing access to information like the music that's playing or the current speed.
In 2019, the Ferrari 812 Superfast was recalled by the NHTSA for an issue where the fuel vapor separator could crack and leak fuel, potentially causing a fire, as well as an incorrectly bonded rear window; the latter issue carried over to the 2020 model and both of these issues also affected 2018 models. Other than this, there are no serious issues to report, so while there are no official reviews to back it up, reliability is not really a concern.
Ferrari's basic warranty runs for three years with unlimited miles and includes coverage for the powertrain. Notably, complimentary scheduled maintenance is covered for seven years, regardless of miles covered.
Ferrari fans can breathe a collective sigh of relief: both the IIHS and the NHTSA have yet to destroy a glossy 812 Superfast. On the downside, that means that there is no official safety review of the Ferrari 812 Superfast, and therefore no rating to report on.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
The Ferrari Superfast gets four airbags, traction/electronic stability control systems, and tire pressure monitoring. Front/rear cameras and front/rear parking sensors prevent unnecessary dings by increasing driver awareness and cruise control is useful for longer jaunts, but Ferrari hasn't bothered with more advanced driver-assist tech like blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert.
The Ferrari 812 Superfast has such a legendary engine that even if the rest of the car was a flop, we'd still find ourselves utterly besotted with it. The V12's talents can't be overemphasized: 789 horsepower, remarkable tractability, and an awe-inspiring soundtrack. It's especially satisfying, then, that there's a lot more to the 812 Superfast than its engine. While not relaxing like a traditional grand tourer, its razor-sharp steering and stunning body control will keep enthusiasts entertained for hours. It's got enough space inside for two, a sensibly designed cockpit with high-quality materials, and a usable trunk. And of course, it looks fantastic. Customers anticipating a quiet, refined cruiser may be disappointed with the hyper 812 Superfast, but if that's the kind of car that you're after, there are better-suited options in 2020, like the Bentley Continental GT. And, as brilliant as rivals from Aston Martin and McLaren are, they'd have a hard time tempting us away from this Ferrari.
With pricing starting at around the $350,000 mark, you won't see too many Ferrari 812 Superfast GTs on the road. Ferrari isn't shy about charging exorbitant amounts for options, either, so a fully-loaded Ferrari 812 Superfast can cost in excess of $400,000. The base price excludes tax, licensing, and registration costs. Since these are MSRP prices, customers will also have to cough up a gas-guzzler tax, along with a destination charge of $3,750. The Aston Martin DBS Superleggera is cheaper at $304,995, although at this price level, the difference is negligible and the pricey optional extras can greatly change these figures anyway.
Ferrari offers few packages for the 812 Superfast. Instead, buyers can choose from several standalone options to customize the specs of their purchase, although many of these are cosmetic. There are eight wheel designs to choose from, along with five colors for the brake calipers. Both the exterior and interior can be equipped with carbon fiber components. Ferrari also offers multiple seat designs, from the standard seats to Daytona racing carbon seats. Further options include an upgraded audio system, a passenger-side digital display, and power-adjustable seats.
The 2020 Ferrari 812 Superfast is a standalone model (if you ignore the 812 GTS drop-top). However, as there are a number of options for customizing the exterior and interior, customers are unlikely to end up with the same end product as someone else. We'd have ours in red and throw in the electric seats, as this is supposed to be a grand tourer, after all. The carbon-fiber interior trim looks fantastic, so we'd tick that box as well.
The Ferrari's front-engined layout and GT aspirations contrast with the McLaren's twin-turbo V8, which is positioned behind the driver. The 720S produces 710 horsepower from its 4.0L mill, which is more than just about everything else besides the Superfast's 789-hp V12. Despite the 720S being over 450 lbs lighter, the Ferrari's extra power sees both cars reaching 62 mph in an identical 2.9 seconds. Whereas the Ferrari wins the engine battle thanks to the way its V12 soars to 9,000 rpm, the McLaren is superior dynamically - it feels sharp and involving but less challenging than the Ferrari. The McLaren has a great cabin, but the Ferrari's is more usable and easier to access. For extended track use, the McLaren 720S is a more accomplished tool, but the Ferrari has the glamor, heritage, and added comfort that many will prefer on the road.
The Aston Martin DBS Superleggera, like the Ferrari, is a GT that doesn't always feel like a GT. Both of these cars have too much attitude and testosterone running through their veins to truly pamper occupants as a Bentley GT Continental would, or even a Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe. Both the DBS and the 812 use mighty V12 engines, but the Aston features twin-turbocharging and the Ferrari relies on natural aspiration. Blighted by less power and more weight, the Aston can't keep up with the 812 in a straight line, although it's still one of the most potent performance coupes around. Both GTs do well to conceal their size with quick steering and entertaining RWD reactions, and they'll cruise in fair comfort in the right driving mode. The 812 has a racier cabin, but the Aston comes across as more debonair from behind the wheel. And, although the Ferrari has a larger trunk, the DBS has small rear seats for emergencies or for packing extra items. These two grand tourers are surprisingly closely matched, but by a whisker, we'd opt for the Ferrari.
The most popular competitors of 2021 Ferrari 812 Superfast: