by Gerhard Horn
This is the Ferrari Monza SP2, named after one of the fastest, most dangerous racing tracks on earth, a track commonly known as the Temple of Speed. But more than this, Ferrari's latest open-top artwork pays homage to the Monza series of barchetta models in the 1950s, vehicles that helped cement the Ferrari name in the history books as one of the most iconic manufacturers in motorsport history.
Launched as part of the Icona series, the SP2 is the two-seater variant of the roofless speedster twins, equipped with the naturally aspirated V12 from the 812 Superfast. In this incarnation, the 6.5-liter displacement churns out some monstrous specs; 799 horsepower and 530 lb-ft of torque propels the SP2 to 62 mph in 2.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 188 mph. With figures like that, it seems the name is a fitting tribute to the Temple of Speed itself. But it's not alone in the realm of modern speedster-designed supercars, as both the McLaren Elva and Aston Martin V12 Speedster have come along to join the party. Like the latter, the Monza SP2 isn't road legal in the US, but don't think that won't stop someone from importing this $1.8 million piece of artwork under a Show or Display permit.
The Monza SP2 is an all-new, special-series model based on the 812 Superfast. It's the first product in Ferrari's new Icona range, models that are ultra-exclusive, uniquely designed, and slot in above the standard Ferrari range but below the hypercars like the LaFerrari and its eventual successor.
Production continues into the 2021 model year until all the units have been manufactured and delivered to their owners.
Besides the customization options that exist and are discussed between Ferrari and the lucky owner, there are no year-to-year changes to these special, limited-run collector's cars. The basic SP2 will remain unchanged for the entire production run.
The "Icona" series SP1 and SP2 twins were inspired by Ferrari icons such as the 1948 166 MM, as well as the 750 Monza and 250 Testarossa, and are modern interpretations of classic Ferraris, built with today's cutting-edge technology. Loosely based on the Ferrari 812 platform, but with carbon-fiber bodywork, the SP2 is a true speedster without as much as a windshield - only two small protective screens and roll hoops. It can seat two people, as opposed to the SP1 single person. The pared-back, lightweight design of the SP2 ensures a curb weight of only 3,351 pounds. Only 499 of both models will be built in total at around $1.8 million dollars apiece.
The Ferrari Monza SP2 is a special, limited-series model that pays tribute to the 1950s barchetta racing cars. It's powered by a 6.5-liter naturally aspirated V12 borrowed from the 812 Superfast. It produces 799 hp and 530 lb-ft of torque, all of which is sent to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. To tailor the beast to your mood, Ferrari includes numerous driving modes.
Since this car is all about the driving experience and being exposed to the elements, there's little in the way of features. It has climate control, a nose lift function, cruise control and launch control, and a rudimentary radio that seems rather redundant. Other than that, it's just you, the steering wheel, throttle, and the brake pedal.
Ferrari will only make 499 (including the SP1), and all of them are sold out in advance. Used prices are already shooting sky high, but that's to be expected. As one of the last V12 Ferraris, it's guaranteed iconic status.
The Monza SP2 is not as hardcore as dedicated Ferrari’s track specials, but it still has 799 angry horses underneath the hood, no roof or windscreen, and space for only you and your favorite passenger. You can tame those angry horses thanks to the various driving modes, ranging from traction and stability control entirely on to completely off. There are some poor interior bits, but the carbon fiber brace, dashboard, and bucket seats make up for it. With so much power on tap, it can get to 62 mph in 2.9 seconds. The staggered alloy wheels are a custom design meant to complement the simple exterior lines of the Monza.
For inspiration, Ferrari turned to its 1950s barchetta models. The open-top Monza can be seen as an homage to these cars, but it doesn't feature any old design elements dragged into the modern age. Instead, Ferrari's designers started with a blank sheet. This is vehicle design at its most extreme, with almost no limitations set by the engineering department. For example, the designers only had to work within the 812's wheelbase while leaving enough room for the engine and gearbox.
We love the "line of light" design at the rear, which integrates neatly into one continuous halo surrounding the cockpit, and the 21-inch front and 20-inch rear alloy wheels, specifically designed to work with the minimalist exterior lines. Normally a car has smaller wheels in the front and larger wheels at the back. Ferrari did it the other way around. Of course, we'd be remiss not to mention that open cockpit and the dual body humps behind the driver and passenger, or the tiny doors that open forwards at an upward angle. As far as convertibles go, few will turn more heads than this one.
Since the Monza SP2 is based on the 812 Superfast, it uses the same 107.1-inch wheelbase. It also has a remarkably close 183.3-inch overall length, but it's an inch wider at 78.6 inches. At its highest point, it's 4.7 inches lower than the 812 at a slinky 45.5 inches.
We expected the Monza SP2 to weigh significantly less than the Superfast, but the difference is just 11 pounds according to Ferrari. Ferrari doesn't quote a curb weight with fluids and driver, but the dry weight of this super sports car is approximately 3,351 lbs.
The Monza SP2 is part of the Icona range, which slots above the Special Series models like the 812 Competizione and 488 Pista, but below hypercars like the LaFerrari. This means it's part of that ultra-exclusive supercar league where nothing is impossible. There is no online configurator for the Monza, and with all sold before they launched, speccing an SP2 was likely a personal affair in which Ferrari dealt with customers individually, letting them pick their dream specification with no holds barred.
At this level, nothing is off the table. Ferrari offers a wide range of solid, metallic, special, and historical colors on its so-called 'normal' range of cars. We're 100% certain this is one of those cars that can be painted in any color known to man. So if you want your Monza to match your Arizona mistress's nightgown, Ferrari will hook you up.
The Monza SP2 is essentially a reskinned 812 Superfast with a slight power bump. Power is up from 789 horsepower to 799 hp. Torque remains the same at 530 lb-ft. This power comes from a front-mounted, naturally-aspirated 6.5-liter V12 which will be the last of its kind. We keep on saying that, but the recent unveiling of the 296 GTB confirmed what we expected all along. A Ferrari-built V6 with some electric help can easily produce more horsepower and torque than a naturally-aspirated V12. At least the Monza is assured icon status as one of the last V12 Ferraris ever.
All the angry Italian horses produced by the Monza's V12 are sent directly to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Even without all-wheel-drive traction, it completes the 0 to 62 mph dash in 2.9 seconds and tops out at 188 mph. Since the Monza doesn't have a windscreen, this is, for the first time, literally, the kind of performance that will rearrange your face.
Ferrari's 6.5L V12 is widely regarded as one of the best engines ever made. It produces 799 hp and 530 lb-ft and will happily spin all the way to 8,900 rpm. It's as much a work of art as it is an engine.
As mentioned earlier, the performance figures are blistering. 0-62 mph takes 2.9 seconds, 0-124 mph a frankly ludicrous 7.9, but that's not nearly the most impressive thing about this engine.
Typically, turbocharged engines tend to run out of steam at higher speeds, but Ferrari's free-breathing NA V12 just keeps on pulling harder and revving higher.
Ferrari's 7-speed dual-clutch transmission might seem outdated in a world where eight to ten-speed speed torque converter boxes are starting to become the norm, but thankfully, it was well engineered from the start, so it still feels epic. Seven speeds might not seem like enough for nearly 800 hp, but this engine revs to nearly 9,000 rpm. The first four gears are enough to break the speed limit many times over.
This engine provides an abundance of power; the kind of power that could easily corrupt an entire driving experience. Ferrari makes the power more manageable by blessing it with long throttle travel. To get the full 800 horses, you have to mash the throttle satisfyingly deep into the carpet.
Like the McLaren Elva, the Monza SP2 is not a hardcore driving machine. It can hustle along at a rapid rate, but the damping isn't firm enough to knock the helmet straight off one's head. If anything, the Monza is relatively soft. It has a button for bumpy roads, but it feels supple across the board.
The steering is rapid and razor-sharp, however. And you're never allowed to forget that you have 799 hp on tap. Many have said it before, but perhaps the 812 and the Monza SP2 have too much power. Thankfully, you do get various driving modes to keep it under control. The modes are Wet, Sport, Race, and everything off.
When going through anything remotely resembling a corner in the rear-wheel-drive SP2, you have to modulate the throttle carefully. Only the very brave should play around with the ESC Off mode as getting a car this powerful sideways is easy, but reigning it back in is trickier. As we've mentioned in our Elva review, these cars do weirdly make sense. For the last two decades, the supercar war has only been about power, acceleration, and track times. Manufacturers forgot that supercars also need a bit of pageantry. The Ferrari delivers that visually, but it fails to do so when it comes to aural pleasure. Like the Elva, you can only hear the engine at less than 40 mph. Above that, it's just wind noise. Ferrari hasn't quoted a 0-60 time but it does tell us that the SP2 needs just 2.9 seconds to reach 62 mph. Because of the wind noise, you only have a short timeframe to enjoy one of the V12s best attributes.
It provides a thrilling experience, regardless of the above. The RWD Monza SP2 isn't a car you use for any journey that has a practical purpose. If you have $1.8 million to spend on one car, there's a good chance you already have a few others. When it's rainy or you need some packing space, use the GTC4 Lusso, or your Purosangue once it arrives.
The fuel consumption of this car doesn't matter one bit. It matters in a car like the 812 Superfast, but not because of how much the fuel costs. The one percent do not like to be interrupted, and refueling is a massive interruption when doing mergers or overthrowing a government.
Since the Monza SP2 has no other purpose but going for an enthusiastic drive, and since it isn't even legal on US streets, it doesn't matter. You fill it up once you're finished, basking in the glory of an admiring crowd. If you're just here to read about a crazy roofless car, get ready to have your mind blown. Figures range and Ferrari doesn't quote city/highway/combined figures like other manufacturers, instead giving high and low ranges. According to Maranello's engineers, the SP2 will hit lowest figures of 9.22 mpg and highs of 17.04 mpg. The 24.3-gallon gas tank requires premium juice, but should be good for a few hot laps of your favorite track.
The interior is fine, but Ferrari missed an opportunity. While McLaren was designing the Elva, it realized that not having to worry about a roof gave them a chance to design a car where the exterior and interior are one homogenous unit. If you look at images of the Elva, you'll see the exterior blends seamlessly into the interior. It's a stunning piece of design. The SP2 has two seats, with a massive piece of carbon fiber running between them. This piece provides structural rigidity, and it looks cool.
However, apart from the steering wheel and the central carbon-fiber beam, the rest of the interior is pretty bland. The panel housing all the necessary buttons is drab, and the digital clusters and singular analog dial are standard Ferrari. McLaren redesigned most of the interior components to make the Elva more unique, and we wish Ferrari went to the same lengths. When you spend this much money on a car, you want more than just a plastic panel with basic buttons. Of course, there's some logic as it's a little more resistant to the elements, and when you're pushing serious pace with the wind in your face, large, simple buttons are easier to prod at.
Ferrari doesn't provide the usual headroom and legroom figures for the two-seat SP2. Both are ample, however. Obviously, headroom isn't a problem, and the beautiful bucket seats are mounted low enough to accommodate tall individuals. You need to be a contortionist to get in elegantly with the high sills and tiny doors, however. The rest of us have to sit on the sill, drop our legs in, and then drop our butts into the seat. Dignity is not included as standard.
As you can tell from the images, the Monza SP2 is a strict two-seater, though Ferrari doesn't care as much about the passenger. The driver gets a Virtual Wind Shield, an elevated piece of carbon fiber in front of the steering wheel. It sucks air in and blows it upwards to create a vacuum. It's a high-tech solution to a problem many say should not have existed in the first place, and one that we're a little afraid to say doesn't quite work as well as Ferrari claims. The passenger gets a simple sliver of glass to deflect the wind, much like you'd find on a Caterham. These problems are easily fixed by just getting a set of helmets.
We may have earlier alluded to the interior not being quite what we hoped, but some high-quality items are borrowed from other cars. The steering wheel is a beautiful carbon fiber item featuring leather on the spots where your hands will be. It also comes with a shift light at the top. In normal Ferraris, the shift light is a bit gimmicky, but here, you need it because you can't rely on the engine noise to tell you when a shift is required.
The panel housing all the required buttons is a letdown, but the carbon fiber strut that divides the driver and passenger is stunning. It helps give the interior that cockpit feel. As for the seat, it's a carbon shell with leather upholstery, and as with the exterior paintwork, Ferrari will give you almost free reign to choose any leather you please.
While the SP2 has a trunk, it's not ideally suited to a weekend away, unless you're going to a nudist camp. The shallow trunk is big enough for two helmets, two soft bags and some cold-weather gear. Interior storage is limited. The driver gets a small storage space underneath the main control panel, and it's big enough for a phone. Instead of a regular glove box, the passenger gets a stunning leather handbag-like feature that hangs from the dashboard.
None of this matters because the Monza SP2 is not an A to B car. The drive itself is the purpose, and you need very little for a quick spin through the countryside. Still, a cupholder or two would have been nice.
You don't get much in features, but we see this as a good thing. Limiting distractions in a car with 799 horsepower is a good idea. As standard, it comes with stunning steering column-mounted carbon fiber paddles, launch control, dual-zone climate control, a reverse camera, cruise control, a nose-lifting suspension, and the Virtual Wind Screen on the driver's side. Heated seats are optional, but a Mercedes-like neck-warming system, which would have been a welcome addition, isn't.
Once again, comparing it to the McLaren Elva leaves a sour taste in the mouth. McLaren at least has the decency to give you ballistic-spec glasses and a custom helmet. When a person pays more than $1.5 million for a car, the least you can do is include a helmet for free. Instead, Ferrari designed a full range of helmets and driving accessories that you can buy separately. More on that later.
The Monza SP2 supercar doesn't have a center touchscreen and you have to operate the radio and Apple CarPlay (Android Auto is not an option) from the steering wheel. The feed from the reverse camera and the infotainment system goes straight to one of the digital displays in the instrument cluster.
We couldn't care less. Even though the McLaren can be ordered with marine-grade speakers, an infotainment system on a car like this is a moot point. If you can't hear a V12 engine above 40 mph, how are you going to hear Carla Bruni's soothing, sexy French crooning? Most of this car's charm lies in the fact that it's an unfiltered driving experience that exposes you to the elements. So why bother with a sound system?
When an extremely limited car like this is recalled, there's a good chance the general public will never hear about it. However, it's worth stating that the 812 Superfast has a generally good reliability record, and the Monza SP2 will likely be the same. The Superfast hasn't been entirely recall-free, though; for instance, the 2019 model was recalled for a fuel vapor separator that could crack and leak fuel.
Ferrari seems to have a lot of confidence in its products, as the Monza comes with a seven-year maintenance plan. Services are once a year without mileage restrictions. A three-year/unlimited mileage warranty is standard, extendable to five years.
A Ferrari Monza SP2 crashworthiness review doesn't exist. Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS provides a safety rating for the Monza and there are two reasons for this. First, neither agency crashes cars above a certain value. Secondly, the Monza SP2 hasn't been homologated for the USA. So, technically, the car is illegal as the US requires cars to have a proper windscreen.
Considering the entire body is made of carbon fiber and the structure underneath is from the 812, we believe that it should hold up well in a crash.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
There's not much to discuss in this section, apart from the ABS, adaptive traction and stability control, and the four-point harnesses. The Monza SP2 can't be driven passively. It's a car that demands constant attention, and that's arguably a safety feature.
You can always enhance the safety by wearing a helmet, though it's not a necessity. Our biggest fear is not a rollover but rather a bird to the face; "Struck in the face by a pigeon" is not going to look good on a death certificate. The point of this car is to make you look heroic, and getting killed by a pigeon is about as lame as it gets.
It's a silly car, no doubt. Many will look at it and dismiss it as a plaything for those who have too much money and aren't sure how to spend it. We look at it and we see two things. First, as the savior of the supercar. In many ways, it's guilty of the same stuff modern supercars get wrong. It has too much power, for example. This constant power war between manufacturers has resulted in a selection of cars that are no longer enjoyable on the road. To get anywhere near the speeds where they start being fun, you need a private track. But it scores some significant points by putting the fun back. Silly it may be, but it comes standard with an immeasurable amount of fun and pageantry. Isn't that what supercars are supposed to be?
Secondly, the Monza SP2 is part of a final wave of ridiculous ICE cars. Manufacturers know the end is near, so they need to get all of their juvenile ideas out of the way now. It's the same reason the Jeep Wrangler 392 and Ram 1500 TRX exist. As a booming swansong for gas, the Monza SP2 is epic. What a glorious way to thank all the liquefied dinosaurs for everything they've given us for the last 100 years.
The estimated cost of the Ferrari Monza SP2 is $1.8 million, although that's not an official US MSRP as the car technically isn't sold as an American-registered vehicle and must be imported on a Show or Display permit. Unfortunately, the entire 499-unit run (including the SP1, reviewed separately) was sold out before the first model was even built. To make things even more complicated, Ferrari was in charge of selecting who could buy one. And you could only buy one. Even if you were selected, you could either have an SP1 or an SP2, but not both.
The two cars used for the press photos are currently on sale, both retailing for the above price. In addition, another private vehicle currently on sale in Germany gives us some idea of how much the value of the car has increased. The German car is red with a white stripe that runs horizontally across the hood. The price of this Ferrari Monza SP2 is an eye-watering $2.59 million. If you happen to be a billionaire and you desperately want one, there are two famous owners you can track down. Both Gordon Ramsey and Max Verstappen were lucky enough to be chosen by Ferrari.
There are no additional packages, but Ferrari made a big deal about the fact that all the driver and passenger apparel is designed in conjunction with Loro Piana and Berluti. Of course, we're car guys, so we have no idea what those are, but they sound like fancy clothing brands. The clothing items were inspired by the Monza SP1 and SP2. The range includes overalls, bomber jackets, sweaters, belts, caps, scarves, and gloves. Ferrari also designed a helmet specifically for the Monza, but we maintain that it should have been included as standard. Usually, we'd make fun of Ferrari-branded clothing, as it's the easiest way to spot someone who doesn't actually own a Ferrari. But, in this case, we'd invest in some of the items to keep the weather at bay.
Ferrari doesn't say how much these items cost, but given what the Italian brand normally charges for extras, we'd bet that one sweater costs the equivalent of a Mini Cooper S.
The new Ferrari Monza SP2 was only available in a single trim, and as it currently stands, you can't have one anyway since all have been sold. Ferrari can't stop us from dreaming, however. All of the models we've seen so far look epic. We're especially fond of the black exterior and red leather interior combination, but we'd play around with the heritage-a lovely light blue with white stripes and the same leather seats. As a finishing touch, we'd put the number 12 on the doors. Alberto Ascari raced for Ferrari right after the racing team was founded, using the number 12.
The lucky few selected by Ferrari to purchase a Monza were given two options: SP1 or SP2. The SP1 is a single-seater, with the passenger side blocked off with a piece of carbon fiber. It looks even more sensational and is the ultimate throwback to the racing cars of yore.
Mechanically, the cars are identical. Both are powered by the same naturally aspirated 6.5-liter V12 producing 799 hp.
The Monza is a selfish car. As we mentioned earlier in this review, the passenger doesn't get much to work with, apart from a tiny windscreen, an air vent, and a leather bag. It's for this reason that we'd pull the ultimate selfish move and get an SP1. When the goal is to have as few distractions as possible, why take a passenger along? Of course, you won't be able to hear what they have to say in any case, and that's assuming you're interested. No, sir. Indulge completely and buy the single-seater.
McLaren's Elva is already in the lead, mainly because it's much easier to get one stateside; McLaren designed a full windscreen for the Elva, which makes it as legal as a Nissan Sentra.
Given the price of these cars, it feels as if you're getting more for your money with the Elva. Its 804-hp and 590-lb-ft twin-turbocharged V8 eclipses the Ferrari's outputs and propels the screenless version of the Elva to 62 mph in 2.8 seconds - a tenth of a second quicker than the Ferrari. The performance figures don't matter to us, however. What we love most about the McLaren is that it does a better job of the whole concept. Its solution to the wind problem works, and we adore the way the exterior seeps into the interior. It's a design masterpiece. McLaren also had the decency to redesign the interior properly. The drive mode selector was moved to the instrument cluster, and the touchscreen display was redesigned to be water-resistant.
The Elva is also a silly car, but it's a better-thought-out ridiculous car. Thankfully, in this segment, it's not a case of what car I should buy instead, but rather a matter of what I should also buy. If you can afford one, you can probably get both without breaking the bank.