KUALA LUMPUR: 50 years after the debut of the last front-mounted V12 spider, Ferrari has pulled the covers off the 812 GTS, the first all-new front-engined convertible to get a naturally-aspirated V12.
The arrival of the 812 Superfast sibling is relatively a surprise as the Berlinetta was pretty hardcore, and its F12 predecessor did not offer a production-series drop-top version.
With 780hp and 712Nm of torque from the 6.5-litre V12, it is the most powerful convertible currently on sale today. It is fast too, with a 340kph top speed.
Ferrari says the performance levels are “very close” to that of the Berlinetta (coupe version), claiming 0-100kph time in under three seconds (812 Superfast achieved it in 2.9 seconds).
The retractable hard top opens up in just 14 seconds at speeds of up to 45kph, and does not impinge upon the interior dimensions.
The electric rear screen – which acts as a wind stop – can be left open with the top up, enabling the driver to enjoy the V12’s unique soundtrack even more.
Compared to the 812 Superfast, the rear of the GTS has been redesigned, including the roof, tonneau cover and luggage compartment.
The idea was to maintain a sleek appearance when the top is dropped where the roof panels disappear beneath the body panels.
This results in the deletion of the aerodynamic by-pass over the rear wheel arch of the 812 Superfast. To compensate to this, the GTS receives a reconfigured rear diffuser with an additional flap.
To extract the class-leading figures, the engine features increased displacement from 6.2 to 6.5-litre, 350-bar direct injection system and variable geometry inlet tracts developed on naturally-aspirated Grand Prix engines.
The shape of the power curve, which rises constantly all the way to the maximum revs of 8500 rpm, and the rapidity with which engine speed increases, give occupants the feeling of boundless power and acceleration.
When the Manettino is in sportier settings, both up- and down-shift times of the dual-clutch transmission have been significantly cut and the transition time has been optimised to enhance the driver experience.
The 812 GTS is equipped with all of the 812 Superfast’s new-generation components and control systems. This includes Electric Power Steering (EPS), Virtual Short Wheelbase 2.0 system (PCV), Ferrari Peak Performance (FPP), Ferrari Power Oversteer (FPO) and optimised calibration of the magnetorheological dampers.
The Ferrari V12 spider story goes back to 1948 with the 166 MM, a competition GT that won the prestigious Mille Miglia and 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1949.The last iteration in the lineage was the 365 GTS4, 50 years ago.
That said, the Italian marque released four special series limited edition V12 spiders; the 550 Barchetta Pininfarina in 2000, the Superamerica in 2005, the SA Aperta in 2010 and the F60 America of which just 10 were built to celebrate Ferrari’s 60th year on the American market in 2014.