Ferrari fires up F12 Berlinetta

When it comes to exotic sports cars, the name Ferrari certainly comes to mind for most auto enthusiasts. Indeed, the auto manufacturer has always been about speed – building some of the fastest vehicles in history.

Yesterday, Ferrari unveiled its latest street car, dubbed the F12 Berlinetta, and the sleek, muscular beast just happens to be the most powerful Ferrari street car ever built. The new F12 will replace the 599 GTB in the Ferrari line this year. 

The F12 resembles the 599 GTB in some ways, but the two vehicles share none of the same sheet metal.

The new car does have a bit of familial resemblance to the 458 Italia, particularly the headlamps.

Frankly, I’ve always thought the 458 was one of the the best-looking Ferrari vehicles ever built and never really cared for the 599’s shape. The new Ferrari is loaded with some pretty sweet auto tech, along with other features like active shutters that cover the brake cooling ducts when the car is in motion.

The car also follows many aerodynamic design principles, including what Ferrari calls the “Aero Bridge” made up of scoops between the front wheel arches to channel air from the front of the car to the sides.

Ferrari claims that all the aerodynamic enhancements increase down force of the F12 by 76% while giving it a drag coefficient of 0.299.

The vehicle weighs 3,363 pounds and is equipped with a seven-speed dual clutch transaxle shifted using paddles behind the steering wheel. The engine is a naturally aspirated V12 displacing 6.3 L which produces 730 hp at 8000 RPMs with 508 LB-FT of torque – making this the most powerful street-legal Ferrari ever. Ferrari says the car can hit 62 mph from a dead stop in 3.1 seconds and offers a top speed of 211 mph.

Ferrari also offers an optional start/stop system that helps increase fuel economy by 30%, while implementing a 16% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

The  F12 Berlinetta is set to hit streets in late 2012 at an unknown price. Of course, you can be sure the car falls into the “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it category.”