The king is dead; long live the king. Ferrari has bid its scintillating 812 Superfast a fond farewell, replacing it with a new top-dog front-engined supercar with an equally on-the-nose name – the 12Cilindri.

No prizes for guessing what the slightly awkward nomenclature is referring to – Maranello’s trademark 6.5 litre naturally-aspirated V12. Codenamed F140HD, this latest iteration has been fettled with a host of lighter components, including titanium connecting rods, new aluminium alloy pistons and a rebalanced crankshaft. Shaving off all that weight has allowed the massive engine to rev to a stratospheric 9,500 rpm.

Satisfied, the engineers then moved to freeing up more prancing horses, adding lighter sliding finger followers (with a friction-reducing diamond-like coating, or DLC) for the valvetrain that enable the fitment of hotter cam profiles. A new intake manifold and plenum with shorter variable-geometry tracts also allow the engine to breathe more easily.

Ferrari 12Cilindri – front-engined flagship with 830 PS 6.5L NA V12, 0-100 km/h 2.95 secs, 9,500 rpm redline!

The result of all these changes, some of which were already implemented on the go-faster 812 Competizione, are breathtaking – 830 PS at 9,250 rpm and 678 Nm of torque at 7,250 rpm. Routed to the rear wheels through a new SF90 Stradale-derived eight-speed dual-clutch transmission – now with 30% faster shifts – those figures allow the 12Cilindri to blitz its way from zero to 100 km/h in just 2.95 seconds and 200 km/h in 8.2 seconds, on its way to a top speed in excess of 340 km/h.

To enhance the ferocity of the acceleration, Ferrari has added Aspirated Torque Shaping (ATS) for the first time on a naturally-aspirated model, pushing torque delivery towards the higher reaches of the rev range in a similar fashion to the company’s turbocharged cars. Other changes have been made to prepare the engine for the latest Euro 6E emissions regulations, including a more efficient oil pump and a new exhaust system with a ceramic catalytic converter and a particulate filter.

Keeping the horses nailed to the road are a suite of Ferrari’s latest chassis systems. A 20 mm shorter wheelbase aids agility, helped by the faster-reacting rear-wheel steering from the Competizione. Also quicker to respond is the new Side Slip Control (SSC) 8.0, integrating the 296 GTB’s brake-by-wire and ABS Evo systems and increasing traction on low-grip surfaces in particular.

Ferrari 12Cilindri – front-engined flagship with 830 PS 6.5L NA V12, 0-100 km/h 2.95 secs, 9,500 rpm redline!

Not that the 12Cilindri is lacking in grip, rolling on a choice of either Michelin Pilot Sport S 5 or Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersport tyres. Both are bespoke for this car and come in new sizes – 275/35 ZR21 at the front and 315/35 ZR21 at the rear – wrapping larger 21-inch alloy wheels. The all-aluminium body structure, incorporating new strut tower, A- and C-pillar geometry, is 15% stiffer than before.

On the outside, the 12Cilindri eschews Ferrari’s previous sculptural design language in favour of a more sophisticated aesthetic that also pays homage to past models. The latter is especially evident in the black band that wraps around the front, integrating the headlights and providing an obvious stylistic link to the iconic 365 GTB/4 Daytona from the 1970s.

Behind the long clamshell bonnet, the black glasshouse – now incorporating a glass roof – intersects with an expansive rear section that sweeps outwards and integrates the voluptuous rear haunches, forming a delta wing-shaped rear end. A slim quad taillight strip sits beneath a large rear spoiler with active flaps, the latter pushed to either side of the glass boot lid to maximise luggage space.

Ferrari 12Cilindri – front-engined flagship with 830 PS 6.5L NA V12, 0-100 km/h 2.95 secs, 9,500 rpm redline!

Aerodynamics are an integral part of any modern Ferrari, and so is the case with the 12Cilindri. The front features no less than seven generous air intakes, feeding the revamped cooling system and brakes. Some of that air then exits through the two bonnet vents, reducing pressure underneath and leading to fewer openings in the underbody, maximising downforce generation.

Speaking of which, the optimised underbody uses three pairs of vortex generators – again derived from the Competizione – to generate downforce, working in concert with the revised central section and rear-wheel shields to direct air towards the ginormous rear diffuser. The latter features two more vortex generators and also houses the obligatory quad exhaust exits (now in a rectangular shape).

Inside, the 12Cilindri adopts the dual-cockpit design first seen in the Purosangue SUV, housing the expansive 15.6-inch digital instrument display and the 8.8-inch passenger touchscreen. For the first time in Ferrari’s most sporting models, a 10.25-inch central infotainment touchscreen sits below the large twin cowls. A large Y-shaped metal centre console houses the gear selector toggles arranged in a H-pattern to mimic the company’s famed gated manual shifters of yore – a feature that made its debut on the Roma.

Ferrari 12Cilindri – front-engined flagship with 830 PS 6.5L NA V12, 0-100 km/h 2.95 secs, 9,500 rpm redline!

Just like past Ferrari front-engined flagships since the 550 Maranello, the 12Cilindri features just two (heavily-sculpted) seats, and these can now be upholstered in a more sustainable Alcantara variant with 65% recycled polyester. You also get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – thankfully now displayed through the central display instead of the instrument cluster – as standard, as well as Qi wireless charging and an (optional) new 15-speaker, 1,600-watt Burmester sound system.

Unusually for Ferrari, the 12Cilindri berlinetta (or coupé) debuts alongside the droptop Spider version. The latter is notable for being just 60 kg heavier than the hardtop model, despite retaining the dramatic folding metal roof that flips backwards into the rear lid. The roof retraction process takes just 14 seconds and can happen at speeds of up to 100 km/h.

GALLERY: Ferrari 12Cilindri

GALLERY: Ferrari 12Cilindri Spider

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