The Ferrari 812 Superfast is the most practical sportscar you can buy

Head turners they may be, but not everyone likes the raucous roar of a Ferrari.

Except if you're in Italy, not far from the headquarters of one of the world's most famous brands.

Driving an 812 Superfast – the fastest Ferrari ever sold in Australia – down a twisting mountain pass we came across someone on the side of the road genuinely disappointed we weren't allowing the V12 to sing.

His sole response was to bring his hand to his ear, smiling and feverishly gesturing for more noise.

Vocal chords

Fortunately, noise is something the 812 Superfast doesn't struggle with.

Beneath its long snout is a 6.5-litre V12 engine. Even pressing the start button makes for a hair-raising moment at the engine revs momentarily before settling into a hoarse idle.

Floor the throttle and it's brisk without being brutal, at least initially, all the while increasing its pitch as revs rise.

But things get faster, more feverish the harder you rev it, the rush towards its heady 588kW power peak fun and furious.

Passing 6000rpm the engine has a set of lungs that would make Jimmy Barnes proud.


To the source

Our drive began in the industrial town of Maranello, its biggest business being the sprawling Ferrari factory that includes the private Fiorano race track, a separate playground in itself.

Collecting a car from the famous gates that produced the first Ferrari back in 1947 is pretty special, even on a miserable, rainy day.

Not only is it raining, but the higher we climb into hills we're soon battling snow.

It's not a great combination: the V12 makes 588kW of power, the most powerful ever from Ferrari. Drive is sent only to the rear wheels, ever eager to break traction.

Smart performance

The challenging conditions highlight the maturity and engineering integrity of the electronics that aid performance.

There's genuine finesse to the way it almost imperceptibly pares back power, instead focusing on getting as much as possible to the greasy ground while keeping the car straight.

While some cars skip and hesitate as the traction control goes about its business, the 812 is seamless and smooth, the clearest indication you're being assisted is the flickering orange light in the instrument cluster and the slight reduction in power.

Ferrari's first application of electric power steering (instead of hydraulic) is also a masterstroke, progressive but persuasive. There's just the right amount of feedback and precision, making winding lock on progressive and sensory.

And the seven-speed twin-clutch transmission is beautiful, shifting in fractions of a second and thoughtfully preparing for corners by proactively downshifting, the engine barking on each downchange.

Superfast by nature

Yep, it's a silly name, but at least the Superfast lives up to the promise.

By the time the engine reaches its stratospheric redline it's producing 588kW, or 800 horsepower, hence the "8" in its 812 moniker (the remaining numbers denote 12 cylinders).

Some supercars can be temperamental or challenging, coming on strong too soon.

With the 812 there's a superb linearity to the engine, which is always willing and strong and gets better as revs rise.

That the torque peak arrives at 7000rpm is a testament to the high revving nature of one of the truly great engines. All the while it does a brilliant job of flattering the driver while tingling their senses.

Double act

Despite its sports intent, there's a practical side to the Superfast. The boot will swallow a couple of overnight bags and there's an additional luggage ledge behind the occupants, complete with leather-bound straps (beautifully stitched, naturally) for any extras.

Despite its high speed focus, the 812 is surprisingly friendly when driven sedately. There's unexpected compliance, albeit with some initial quaking over road joins from the low profile tyres.

Our car is riding on Pirelli P Zero winter rubber, which wants to squirm under acceleration, its tread blocks more about biting through snow and ice than dealing with 800 horsepower.

The biggest surprise with the 812 Superfast is how sympathetically it retreats from its go-fast frenzy into a thoroughly liveable cruiser.

More than money

The official price tag is $610,000.

But the 812 is the Ferrari money can't buy, one of the most successful in the brand's 70-year history.

First delivering arrive in Australia over the next few months, but the car sold out within days of its announcement in 2017. In reality, it was sold out even before it was announced, diehard fans popping down a deposit on the car that was a major update of the F12 Berlinetta.

That's partly because the 812 is expected to be the last gasp for the naturally-aspirated V12 engine; future iterations are expected to have an electric motor helping them out as part of a push to enlist more efficient hybrid propulsion.

For those lucky enough to have their name against one of the most complete V12 Ferraris ever created, they're almost certain to be set to take possession of an appreciating asset.

The writer travelled to Italy as a guest of Ferrari.