2018 Ferrari 812 Superfast, Driven: The Maranello Mauler

Picture a car with 800 metric horsepower, or a still-stunning 789 by America’s count. Picture a car that can honestly rock a racetrack, and sail past 211 mph. Chances are, your mental canvas won’t reflect the Ferrari 812 Superfast. Unless, perhaps, you’re the artistic type.


Classical, muscular shapes abound in Italy

2018 Ferrari 812 Superfast makes a case for uniqueness

Car manufacturers love to claim, often dubiously, that a certain model has no direct rival or analog. Ferrari floats no such claim on its home turf of Maranello. Instead, it simply tosses me a crimson key fob and raises the old-fashioned wooden crossing gate at the entrance to its storied Fiorano circuit. I floor the gas, floor any skepticism over this Italian heir to the F12berlinetta, and now proclaim for them: The 812 Superfast is sui generis among today’s wildly priced automobiles. The part you’ll expect, nay demand, from this $308,000 Ferrari is that it’s alluringly styled, technically advanced and all-day comfortable. Like its ancestors that trace to the first of Ferrari’s 70 birthdays in 1947, the Superfast flaunts the suggestively swollen hood and naturally aspirated V-12 that came to define the world’s haughtiest GT’s. Yet the old definition of “gran turismo” utterly fails to describe the essence and reality of the 812 – the “8” signifying 800 horses, the “12” the cylinder count.

The most powerful production Ferrari in history—setting aside the company’s limited-run, self-described “supercars” like the LaFerrari—is also a supercar by today’s usual definitions, even without the typical mid-engine layout and its compromised visibility and comfort: This is a bucket-list sports car to drive, a sensory overload of physical beauty, heroic speed and La Scala sound. Yet the magnetic-suspension ride remains comfortable, the cabin eye-popping and practical. Raise the rear hatch, and luggage space rivals a Corvette’s, minus the budget carpet….

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