The 820 hp Ferrari 12 Cylinder is named after its mighty 9,500 rpm V12 engine.

The first sight

No turbo. No hybrid. A big V12 engine meets active aerodynamics in Ferrari's latest supercar

Published: 03 May 2024

The Italian language is very adept at translating ordinary car names into lyricism. “Four-door” becomes “Quattroporte”. “Red Head” becomes “Testarosa.” Ferrari's new Ultra-GT is called a 12-cylinder. But Maranello prefers you wrap your lips around the way they talk…and calls it Dodici Cilindri.

It's a straightforward celebration of Ferrari's signature dish: the big V12 engine. A powerful 6.5-litre orchestral instrument, mounted behind the front axle under a massive 'cofango' clamshell bonnet designed to highlight the engine compartment more dramatically than an 812 Superfast or F12.

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It avoids turbochargers or any form of hybrid boost, but lighter titanium rods and forged pistons mean it's now even quicker. Power matches the 812 Competizione's wild 820 hp. Maximum torque is 500 lb-ft at 7,250 rpm, but more than three-quarters of that overtaking oomph is available at 2,500 rpm. Redline is 9,500rpm – a few times ahead of the limiter and you'll find yourself accelerating from 0-62mph in 2.9 seconds, and 0-125mph in 7.8 seconds, on your way to more than 217mph.

No, those aren't huge leaps over the 812 Superfast. You feel like Ferrari decided enough was enough. The V12 Ultra-GT doesn't do that Need To be faster. Want a warp factor? Purchase an SF90 and a barf bag. Here, the main task was to keep the cornerstone V12 alive.

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Engineers admit it was difficult not only to meet emissions legislation, but also stricter noise limits which mute the exhaust note to 72dB. More focus seems to have been spent on getting those V12-rich engines into the cabin, rather than deafening everyone outside. Maybe it's a more selfish, less crowd-pleasing car.

And then I got the way it looks. There's some ambitious and challenging design going on here – more radical than the 812 or F12 for sure. The dark front “mask” stripe recalls the 365 GTB/4 “Daytona” wedge fascia, and you can't get it in body color. It's just black. Design head Flavio Manzoni says he will allow the owners to paint it “over his dead body.”

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The same applies to the black parts of the roof around the “delta wing” shape and the outer edges of the tail. They're actually active aerodynamic devices, rising by ten degrees between 60km/h and 300km/h to put 50kg of downforce on the rear axle. If you're wondering why your midsection stays flat…we are. It turns out that Ferrari was concerned that driving the full-width car would eat up too much of the Cilindri's 12-litre base Golf trunk.

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Ferrari's engineers admit there's a slight weight increase over the 1,525kg 812, due to the larger wheels, bonnet and active aerodynamics, but with all the carbon boxes ticked, the claimed dry weight is 1,560kg, so it's more like a mid-17th-century model. He goes.

Meanwhile, the 812 Competizione's rear-wheel steering has been reworked to suit a 20mm shorter wheelbase, and the technical arsenal features eighth-generation Ferrari side-slip control magic. You might consider turning the tempting little manettino switch to red. Then send the rev counter to red as well. Leave the back hanging.

While you wait for the tow truck to pull you over the fence, you'll have plenty of time to gaze around the cabin. It's not as radical here as it is outside – an instrument screen similar to the 296 or SF90, along with a terribly touch-sensitive steering wheel interface.

The passenger gets their own platform with a smaller secondary screen, but unlike the Purosangue SUV, there's also a large central screen where, you guessed it, all the heater and seat comfort controls are gone. Design chief Manzoni insists that this tactic makes the cabin more futuristic and clean. Hmm. Not once you encounter a fingerprint, right?

Prices – before you enjoy the paint, leather and carbon – start at €395,000 for the coupe. For €435,000, you can get a 12-cylinder with a retractable roof that disappears into the trunk in 14 seconds. Yes, we've been getting the Spider model alongside the coupe since day one. What is your choice, and how do you pronounce this name?

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