New Ferrari 12Cilindri: Maranello's free-breathing V12 lives on! | CAR Magazine

New Ferrari 12Cilindri: Maranello's free-breathing V12 lives on!

Published: 03 May 2024

► Maranello’s new 12Cilindri revealed
► New supercar GT with naturally-aspirated V12
► Priced from €395,000 in Italy, UK deliveries early 2025

A new V12 Ferrari has arrived! Meet the 12Cilindri, a super-modern, supercar grand tourer combo crafted as always at Ferrari’s home in Maranello. Ferrari has taken to Miami to reveal its new 12-cylinder supercar GT, to mark 70 years of Ferrari in the American market.

Unlike the usual launch procedure the brand undertakes, Ferrari has decided to unveil both a coupe model and a 12Cilindri Spider model at the same time. ‘Why did we do this? Because we want to be unpredictable,’ says Ferrari’s head of marketing, Enrico Galliera.

The 12Cilindri (pronounced dodi-chi chilin-dri in Italian) literally means ‘twelve cylinder.’ A rather Ronseal name, but Ferrari’s team wanted to make sure the car’s heart was truly celebrated, as the feeling was they wouldn’t be able to do another V12 without any electrified assistance due to tightening emissions regulations.

‘Trying to keep the V12 was a brave decision,’ says Galliera. ‘Everyone was expecting this engine not to be possible because of regulations, Euro7 et cetera. All of the world has been moving towards electrification, including us. At that time [four years ago in 2020, when 12Cilindri development started], deciding to keep investing in this engine was a challenge but we decided to take it. But making it viable required a lot of work, so it’s basically a completely new engine.’

And no electrified assistance?

Absolutely none, meaning this is a direct replacement for the 812 Superfast and sits below the SF90 Stradale in terms of performance. The 12Cilindri features a 6.5-litre V12 codenamed F140HD, developing 819bhp at 9250rpm and 500lb ft at 7250rpm, bouncing off the redline at a screaming 9500rpm.

While some components are lifted from the 812 Competizione, the combination of components used have led to a whole new engine. Titanium con rods have been implemented, which are 40 per cent lighter than previously-used steel ones, and the crankshaft is three per cent lighter than the 812 Superfast’s. The 12Cilindri also uses a valvetrain with a sliding finger follower derived from F1 that allows for a higher valve profile, and is coated in ‘Diamond-Like-Carbon’ to further reduce friction.

The power delivery has been tweaked to deliver more torque earlier, with Ferrari’s chief product development officer Gianmaria Fulgenzi saying that 80 per cent of the torque is accessible at 2500rpm.

The V12 is mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission – a first for a V12 Ferrari – which features five per cent shorter gears and a 30 per cent reduction in shifts compared to the 812. ‘We had to give it the perfect gearbox,’ says Fulgenzi, ‘and it shifts like a gun.’ And not just because of just how quick each gear shifts, but of the sound emitted each time it does so.

As for the structure of the car, the 12Cylindri has a 20mm shorter wheelbase than the 812 it replaces. The overall chassis has fewer castings (17 instead of 22), which has meant an increase in stiffness by around 15 per cent, and this is also the first time a Ferrari has used recycled aluminium panels. Weight distribution is tipped at 48.3/51.7 per cent front/rear.

And, because it’s a Ferrari, there are tonnes of digital systems. Side Slip Control 8.0 is the latest version of the car’s drifty traction control system, brake-by-wire ABSevo is applied and rear-wheel steering that first launched on the 812 Competizione features here.

The entire performance package allows a 0-62mph sprint is dealt with in 2.9 seconds, 0-124mph is over in less than 7.9 seconds and the 12Cilindri maxes out at more than 211mph.

Let’s talk about the looks, shall we?

Yes, let’s. To our eye, and to that of Ferrari’s Chief Creative Officer, Flavio Manzoni, the 12Cilindri has taken some design inspiration from the 365 GTB/4 Daytona, with a striking black band that stretches the width of the nose. Manzoni says he’s been inspired by ‘sci-fi, aeronautics and space age design’ here, adding that the 12Cilindri’s shallow and sharp headlights ‘are like wings.’ Indeed, the DRL shapes look like they stretch beyond the width of the front end, cutting through the air light backlit ailerons.

Manzoni is also keen to keep that panel black to keep the car’s design character – ‘please, no!’ he exclaims as a member of the media suggests painting them in body colour.

The car is, naturally, low to the ground and incredibly long (it’s about 80mm longer), with the rear end sloping gently before dropping off almost vertically. Rear lights that are akin to the Roma and 296 GTB are applied here – Manzoni says the round lights seen in Ferrari’s past ‘are obsolete and too traditional’ – flank a large rear window that stretches to the very lip of the rear end.

Instead of a fixed, singular wing, two active panels that flank the rear window raise and lower depending on the speed. The wings raise up to 50 degrees at speeds above 37mph to increase downforce to the rear axle, but then drop again above 186mph.

‘We’ve started a new era and design philosophy with this car,’ says Manzoni, hinting that we’ll see a continuation of some of these design cues on future models.

What about the interior?

Very much modern Ferrari in here. Given the car is technically Ferrari’s grand tourer, the craftsmanship and interior layout has a more user-friendly design than something more performance focused.

But, naturally, Manzoni and his design team are keen to still keep the nods to other models coming; the dashboard, for example, is relatively symmetrical with what looks to be a cowled panel area for both the driver and the passenger.

Both occupants get their own display and, in a departure from Ferrari’s recent norm of not offering a central screen (like on the 296 GTB, SF90 Stradale and Purosangue), there’s a big glossy one slap bang in the centre. Still, Ferrari’s maintaining that its infotainment doesn’t come with native navigation, as most mirror their smartphone anyway.

Come on then, how much is the 12Cilindri?

Ferrari says the new V12 supercar will be priced from €395,000 for the coupe model in Italy, which is described as a ‘drive away price’ with local taxes included. That translates to roughly £338,000 like-for-like in the UK. The 12Cilindri Spider will start at €435,000 in Italy, directly translating to roughly £372,000 in the UK.

Of course, as all Ferrari’s are built to order, that almost certainly won’t be the price most people pay. Galliera says that most clients will likely spend over €500k (around £428k) on their 12Cilindri.

Deliveries start towards the end of 2024 on the Continent, with first right-hand drive UK cars likely arriving within the first couple of months of 2025.

By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, gamer, serial Lego-ist, lover of hot hatches