29/02/2012 11:32 | By Ian Dickson, senior editor, MSN Cars

Ferrari F12 berlinetta - Ferrari’s new 599

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Ferrari F12 berlinetta

Ferrari has announced the replacement to the 599 GTB Fiorano.

It is called the F12 berlinetta and employs a new V12 engine to make it the fastest Ferrari road car ever - as well as one of the company's 'greenest' models thanks to improvements in engine, aerodynamics, tyres and weight technology.

Like the 599, the F12 is a front-engine, rear-wheel drive, two-seat GT supercar. It will be unveiled at next week's Geneva Motor Show and, while prices and on-sale dates have yet to be released, expect it to be available early next year from an estimated price of £220k.

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How fast is the F12 berlinetta?

80hp more than an Enzo

The F12's 6.2-litre, naturally aspirated V12 engine generates 740hp at 8,500rpm and 509 lb/ft of torque, 80% of which comes in at 2,500rpm and reaches a peak at 6,000rpm. Compared to the 599 and Enzo, the F12 has 100hp and 80hp more respectively. Crucially, it revs higher than these models, too, hinting at a more aggressive driving experience than we might expect from a Ferrari GT.

The sprint from 0-62mph takes 3.1 seconds with a top speed of 211mph possible. As a mark of the engine's flexibility, the F12 will scream to 124mph in 8.5 seconds and has completed a lap of Ferrari's Fiorano test track in 1:23, faster than any other Ferrari road car.

Ferrari F12 berlinetta (© Ferrari)

What has been done to the chassis?
This performance would be wasted if the F12 wasn't sharp and lithe. In typical Ferrari fashion, the F12 uses a new spaceframe chassis, designed to be strong and light. The chassis and bodyshell are constructed using aluminium and alloys. The result? A new Ferrari that is 20% stiffer but 70kg lighter than before and with 54% of the weight over the back axle for near-perfect weight distribution.

Will a manual gearbox be available?
Ferrari has given up on a clutch-and-stick set-up, preferring the immediacy of its F1 dual-clutch transmission, with paddle shifts behind the steering wheel and an automatic mode. The gear ratios are also closer together for the F12 to give a more frenzied drive.

What's been done to improve efficiency and emissions?

30% improvement in economy

Compared to the 599, fuel consumption has been reduced by 30% to give a combined average of 19mpg. This is achieved using Ferrari's optional HELE (High Emotion Low Emissions) system, a typically Italian way of saying that it saves fuel by making changes to the car's cooling fan and by stringently controlling the output of the fuel pumps to reduce wastage. This might also pave the way for stop-start to be fitted to the F12.

Carbon dioxide emissions are 350g/km, which are still high but parsimonious by hypercar standards. And hypercar this new Ferrari most certainly is.

Ferrari F12 berlinetta (© Ferrari)

What are the key changes to the body?
With the use of impressive and highly complicated computer and wind tunnel simulations, the F12 has been designed to slip through the air thanks to a 76% increase in downforce and a significant reduction in drag (the drag coefficient is just 0.299 versus 0.336 for the 599).

more downforce, less drag

To help in the aerodynamics department, an 'Aero Bridge' has been created, which uses the bonnet to create downforce by channeling airflow down the sides of the car. Active Brake Cooling is another innovation, opening up vanes - much like the 458's front splitter - to send air into the brake cooling ducts at high speed.

Are carbonfibre brakes fitted as standard?
It's unclear yet if the carbon brakes are a standard fit - you would expect them to be with the performance on offer - but they have been improved to handle the F12's power, as have the F12's suspension controls and its E-Diff, ESP and gearbox.

Tell me about the design
Like most modern Ferraris, the F12 has been styled by Pininfarina and is a work of form and function, blending aerodynamic requirements with a stylistic approach that makes this one of the best-looking new Ferraris in a while.

Combining aggressive lines with an aggressively sculpted side profile and an Alfa Romeo-esque treatment of the rear end, the F12 looks compact from these pictures. We'll be able to see if this rings true next week, when we will see the new Ferrari F12 in the flesh at the Geneva Motor Show.

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