Exactly 50 years on from the debut of the last spider in the Ferrari range to sport a front-mounted V12, the 812 GTS hails a triumphant return for a model type that has played a pivotal role in the marque’s history since its foundation. The 812 GTS is now available to order in Australia with prices starting at $AUD675, 888 + on road costs and local deliveries set to begin in Q4 of 2020.
The front-mounted V12 architecture has not been used in a Ferrari series-production spider since the 365 GTS4. Like its historic predecessors, the 812 GTS sets a new benchmark in terms of performance and exclusivity. Sporting Ferrari’s majestic 800 cv (588kW) V12, it is not merely the most powerful production spider on the market, but also the most versatile, thanks to its retractable hard top, a unique feature in this segment which also guarantees a larger boot capacity.
The retractable hard top (RHT), which opens in just 14 seconds at speeds of up to 45 km/h, does not impinge upon the interior dimensions, thus maintaining the donor car’s roomy cockpit. The electric rear screen, which acts as a wind-stop, makes the car truly useable with the top down while, with the top up, it can be left open to allow occupants to continue to luxuriate in the naturally-aspirated V12’s unique soundtrack.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE ENGINE
The 812 GTS is the spider version of the 812 Superfast, from which it takes both its specifications and performance, most notably the power unit which, thanks to its ability to unleash a massive 800 cv at 8500 rpm, is the most powerful engine in its class. 718 Nm of torque guarantees impressive acceleration virtually on a par with that of the 812 Superfast while the heady 8900 rpm rev limit means that sporty driving is undiminished.
Ferrari say particular attention was also paid to calibrating the Manettino settings to enhance the engine’s potential and the sensation of extreme power delivered by the car. That said, the driver will always be able to easily and confidently dose the massive torque available with the accelerator pedal, thanks to smooth, progressive power delivery at all engine speeds.
The shape of the torque curve reveals that torque distribution was not sacrificed to boost power. A significant 80% of maximum torque is available at just 3500 rpm, improving both flexibility and pick-up at lower revs. The shape of the power curve, which rises constantly all the way to the maximum revs of 8500 rpm, and the rapidity with which engine speed increases, thanks to low inertia, give occupants the feeling of boundless power and acceleration.
The latter sensation comes courtesy of the overall increase in maximum power output and the optimisation of the aforementioned power curve between 6500 and 8900 rpm, which maximises the average horse power exploitable for press-on track driving when engine revs are kept consistently high.
The dual-clutch transmission’s gear-shift strategies enhance the car’s sportiness. When the Manettino is in sportier settings, both up- and down-shift times have been significantly cut and the transition time has been optimised to enhance the driver experience. Combined with the shortened gear ratios, these modifications, mean that occupants will instantly feel that the car’s response to the throttle.
The geometry of the exhaust system was evolved to increase and balance the sound from the engine and tailpipes, with the aim of accentuating the car’s extremely sporty character with the roof down. All the pipes in the 6-in-1 exhaust manifold to the monolithic catalytic converter are of equal-length and this optimises the sound by giving predominance to the first-order combustion harmonics. The result is a full-bodied V12 sound in the cabin in all kinds of driving but which is particularly appreciable when the roof is open.
THE CHALLENGE OF AERODYNAMICS
Aerodynamically, the 812 GTS posed two main challenges for the Ferrari designers: how to guarantee the same performance as the coupé version with the top up and, at the same time, ensure maximum passenger comfort with the roof down.
In terms of pure aerodynamic performance, the retractable hard top and its stowage compartment required that the rear of the car be modified. Thanks to meticulous resculpting of the tonneau cover surfaces and, most importantly, the integration of a triplane wing into rear diffuser to create efficient suction (and thus downforce) from the underbody, the aerodynamicists were able to compensate for the downforce lost by the removal of the 812 Superfast’s rear wheelarch by-pass duct, the air intake of which was behind the quarterlight.
Drag, on the other hand, was cut by using the air vents on top of the rear flank to efficiently channel excess pressure build-up out of the wheel well. Meticulously detailed work went into guaranteeing an excellent standard of comfort on-board with the top down. There was huge focus on minimising both turbulence inside the cabin and aerodynamic noise to ensure occupants could converse undisturbed even at high speeds.
As with the LaFerrari Aperta, two small L-shaped flaps on the upper corners of the windscreen generate a coherent concentrated vortex that creates outwash in the velocity field immediately above the rear screen, thereby avoiding excess pressure behind the occupants’ heads.
In this area, the aerodynamicists created an aerodynamic passage in the front trim of the two buttresses that fair in the seats, and topped it with an aerofoil which channels the airflow striking the trim into the tonneau zone at the rear, thus facilitating both venting of pressure in the cabin and recompression of the separation bubble downstream from the wind stop which in turn benefits aerodynamic efficiency and stabilises the flow.
The aim in developing the 812 GTS was to retain the exhilarating feeling of speed and power delivered by the berlinetta version in terms of accelerating, response times and agility. Consequently, its overall performance levels are very close to those of the berlinetta, with 0-100 km/h acceleration in under 3 seconds and 0-200 km/h in just 8,3 seconds. The Ferrari 812 GTS’s maximum speed is the same as the berlinetta’s: 340 km/h.
SEVEN YEARS MAINTENANCE INCLUDED
Ferrari’s unparalleled quality standards and increasing focus on client service underpin the extended seven-year maintenance programme offered with the 812 GTS. Available across the entire Ferrari range, the programme covers all regular maintenance for the first seven years of the car’s life.
This scheduled maintenance is an exclusive service that allows clients the certainty that their car is being kept at peak performance and safety over the years. This very special service is also available to owners buying pre-owned Ferraris.
Visit your preferred Ferrari dealership to enquire about the 812 GTS.
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.