The Ferrari 812; the V12 swansong?
The Beating Heart Of The Prancing Horse
It’s been 70 years since the first V12 Ferrari roared to life under the bonnet of the 125S race car. Powered by a 1.5L V12 designed by Gioacchino Colombo, the 125S was capable of 210km/h and would manage the 0-100km/h sprint in a steady 10.8 seconds. Various iterations of Colombo’s 60⁰ V12 would be used for a further 41 years, powering some of the greatest supercars and race cars to grace this earth.
Ferrari’s V12 heritage is too vast to list in its entirety, but there are a handful of cars that separated themselves from the pack. Most iconic of all the supercars is surely the Enzo. Built to celebrate Ferrari’s 60th birthday, the Enzo was the pinnacle supercar of its era and was loaded with the latest technologies from Ferrari’s most dominant period in Formula 1. The naturally aspirated 6.0L V12 produced 485 kW (660 bhp) and would see the Enzo to a top speed of 350 km/h. Then there’s the mighty 250 GTO- regularly heralded as the greatest Ferrari of all time. The 250 GTO was powered by a 3.0L V12 and won the FIA International championship for GT Manufactures for 3 years in a row. Sir Stirling Moss’s 250 GTO fetched £23 million when it was sold in 2011.
The latest Ferrari V12 comes in the form of the 812 Superfast. Let’s just call it the 812. 70 years of development has lead Ferrari to what will be the last naturally aspirated Ferrari to roll of the production line. Producing 500 kW more than the 125S, the 812 is the most powerful naturally aspirated (non hybrid) road going Ferrari in history. The 588 kW power figure will take you to 100 km/h in 2.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 340 km/h.
Where Ferrari’s V12 future will go is anyone’s guess. Tightening EU regulations call for more economical cars, and with Ferrari being fined €410 000 for failing to meet 2016 CO2 emissions targets the feasibility of future V12 projects is diminishing. Formula 1’s turn to turbocharged V6 engines further reduces the likelihood of many more V12s making their way to production. However, with Formula 1’s engine regulations coming under fire in recent years and the arrival of new owners, one has to wonder if there’s room for more economical turbocharged V12s in Formula 1? Or perhaps it’s time to accept, regrettably, that we’re quickly approaching the demise of the V12 engine from Ferrari’s range. Technological advancements may be the V12’s only possible saviour- synthetic fuels, hydrogen combustion engines, forced induction and hybrid powertrains all have the potential to keep the V12 engine alive.
Knowing Ferrari, an enhanced version of the 812 will more than likely be released in the not too distant future, but if this is truly the last naturally aspirated Ferrari (as they claim it will be) at least it’s a spectacular 588kW send off…