A Ferrari V12 Spider, well that's a long lineage of cars but it all started with the 166 MM in 1948 and it was a thoroughbred competition GT that won the two most prestigious endurance races in the world in 1949: the Mille Miglia and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The last in that long lineage was the 1969 365 GTS4, also known as the Daytona Spider because of Ferrari's legendary victory in the 1967 24 Hours of Daytona when two works 330 P4s and the NART-entered 412 P took the chequered flag side-by-side to occupy the top three places. And now 50 years on, the last Ferrari V12 spider makes its debut and it's called the 812 GTS.
The front-mounted V12 architecture has not been used in a Ferrari series-production spider since the 365 GTS4. That said, four special series limited editions have been launched: the 550 Barchetta Pininfarina in 2000, the Superamerica in 2005, the SA Aperta in 2010 and, most recently, the F60 America of which just 10 were built to celebrate Ferrari's 60th year on the American market in 2014.
The 812 GTS with its 6.5-litre V12 engine makes it 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 opens in just 14 seconds at speeds of up to 45 kmph.
The 812 GTS is the spider version of the 812 Superfast, from which it takes both its specifications and performance. There's the 6.5-litre V12 which generates 789 bhp and 718 Nm of torque. The high pressure injection system also improves nebulisation of the injected fuel thus dramatically reducing the amount of particulates emitted when the catalytic converter is warming up, and the fitment of a Gasoline Particulate Filter (GPF) together with the Stop&Start On the Move strategy, which cuts and restart the engine while the car is on the move, ensures the engine complies with all emissions regulations.
The shape of the torque curve reveals that torque distribution was not sacrificed to boost power. A significant 80 per cent of maximum torque is available at just 3500 rpm, improving both flexibility and pick-up at lower revs.
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.
Based on the 812 Superfast, the 812 GTS echoes the formal language and proportions of Ferrari's front-engined V12 without altering either its exterior dimensions or interior space and comfort, so it represents the perfect marriage of sportiness and elegance. From the side view the 812 GTS has a fastback sleekness: a two-box design with a high tail reminiscent of the glorious 365 GTB4 (Daytona) of 1968.
On the spider version of the 812 Superfast, the entire rear of the car - roof, tonneau cover and luggage compartment - has been redesigned. The idea was to lend the car a new blend of sleekness and balance, thanks to two buttresses beneath which the roof movement mechanism is stowed. The buttresses were designed to visually embody a sense of forward thrust and lend the side windows a signature look that would set the spider apart from the berlinetta. When the top is dropped, the roof panels disappear beneath the aforementioned tonneau cover. 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. Thanks to all the power and aerodynamics as also driver aid on offer, the 812 GTS can do a 0-100 kmph sprint in under 3 seconds, while its top speed is rated at 340 kmph.