It’s all a bit ridiculous. Do the buyers of a 523-hp 5-Series really know how to manage that much power? You know that anyone with money can go lease a McLaren 720S, right?
However! When Ferrari released photos of its new limited-edition hardcore 812 variant and announced that it would have 830 horsepower, I was thrilled.
Call me a hypocrite if you’d like. I’ll just say I contain multitudes.
I first drove an 812 Superfast back in 2018. I still think about it from time to time. I recall putting my foot down precisely once, on a straight stretch of road, and getting the s*** scared out of me. This car is far, far too fast for public roads. Totally ridiculous. And yet I came away thinking the car was basically beyond criticism.
It’s all about the engine. There’s a certain old-world magnificence to a V-12, especially one from Ferrari, and especially one this good. In the Superfast, the V-12 displaces 6.5 liters, yet revs to 8900 rpm and reaches its 789-hp power peak at 8500 rpm. And there’s no forced induction or hybrid assist.
I’m no Luddite. I recognize that turbochargers and electric motors will ensure that we can have both fast cars and a planet to enjoy them on. But as a fan of engineering, and as someone who looks at the automotive Fifties and Sixties with rose-tinted spectacles, I am wired to love a V-12 like this. If you are ever lucky enough to drive an 812, you’ll love this engine too. It revs so ferociously, you’ll have a hard time believing it displaces 6.5 liters. You’ll wonder what sort of spacecraft material Ferrari used for the rotating assembly. This is perhaps one of the best road-car engines ever produced.
I believe internal combustion has a few decades of life left, but there’s still no doubt that selling cars with engines like this will become far more difficult, if not outright impossible. We know for certain that more hybrid Ferraris are on their way, and the brand’s first all-electric car should arrive in 2025. I make no predictions on when specific things will happen, but it’s hard to imagine that we’re not reaching an end of an era here. Given that, I believe—and excuse me if this sounds absurd—that Ferrari engineers are duty-bound to extract as much as possible from this V-12. Let’s take this thing as far as we can before we can’t anymore.
That’s why I was delighted to find out that the new limited-edition 812 would make 830 hp at 9500 rpm. Even when I’m honestly apathetic about many other high-horsepower cars.
The same hybrid and forced-induction systems that are designed to reduce fuel consumption and exhaust emissions also make horsepower incredibly easy. Ferrari’s own SF90 Stradale has 986 combined horsepower from its twin-turbo V-8 and electric motors. Yet in my mind, 830 hp from this upcoming 812 is more exciting.
Will it be too fast for the road? Comically so. The”standard” 812 Superfast is already absurd, and this will be lighter and more powerful. I expect it to be a car for which you need to be completely and utterly present when driving, and a handful for anyone less than the experienced motorist. You’ll need a track to actually exploit anything close to what it will have to offer, though I’d be surprised to see one turn up at any serious HPDE day.
Perhaps this 812 will end up representing a more academic achievement than anything else. Too much for the road, yet not a track car. Yet it’s one hell of an achievement. If this is the end of the unassisted V-12, we might as well go out on a high.