A Celebration of the Front-Engine Ferrari V12

With the arrival of the naturally aspirated, front-engine V12 Ferrari 12Cilindri, it’s a perfect time to celebrate some of its illustrious predecessors. The Ferrari V12 has always held a near-mythical status, powering some of the greatest cars to emerge from Maranello. These vehicles are considered among the finest ever made.

The story of the Ferrari V12 engine began with the marque’s very first car, the 1947 Ferrari 125 S, which featured a Colombo V12 with a front-engine layout. This initial engine had a 1.5-liter capacity and produced 118 cv. Over the next 15 years, Ferrari tirelessly developed the V12, enhancing its capacity and power, which became essential for the brand’s success in sports car racing. The 1962 debut of the legendary Ferrari 250 GTO solidified the V12 as Ferrari’s flagship engine.

The Ferrari 250 GTO, one of the marque’s greatest road cars, was also a bona fide racecar. Its front-mounted Colombo 3.0-liter V12 produced 300 cv, propelling the car to a top speed of 280 km/h. The GTO had an electrifyingly successful run in the FIA’s International Championship for GT Manufacturers, with only 36 models produced between 1962 and 1964, all of which still exist today.

While the GTO is renowned, the 365 GTB4, better known as the Daytona, epitomizes the classic front-engined V12 Ferrari. Debuting in 1968, the Daytona featured a Colombo V12 that had grown to 4.4 liters, delivering 352 cv and a top speed of 280 km/h. It became a favorite among the late ‘60s jet set and a successful racing car, winning its class in the Le Mans 24-hour race in 1972, 1973, and 1974.

In 1996, after over two decades of flat-12 mid-engined supercars, the 550 Maranello reintroduced the front-mounted V12 as Ferrari’s high-performance layout. Its 5.5-liter V12 produced 485 cv, with a rear-mounted six-speed gearbox and a limited-slip differential. The 550 marked a return to the classic Ferrari front-engined GT format, earning the nickname “Daytona reborn.”

The 2010 Ferrari 599 GTO, a homologated version of the track-only 599XX, offered a more furious V12-powered GT experience. This special 599 adopted the XX car’s state-of-the-art chassis, electronic driving controls, and aerodynamic design, resulting in a responsive yet stable car. Its 6.0-liter engine produced 620 cv, delivering an exhilarating driving experience.

A Celebration of the Front-Engine Ferrari V12

The 2017 Ferrari 812 Superfast marked another leap in pure driving thrills. As the successor to the F12berlinetta, the 812 took performance and engineering to the next level. Its 6.5-liter V12 produced 800 cv, allowing it to reach 100 km/h from zero in just 2.9 seconds and a top speed of 340 km/h.

The launch of the 12Cilindri continues Ferrari’s glorious V12 legacy. This technological masterpiece offers stratospheric performance, solidifying the lineage of Ferrari’s front-mounted V12 models as among the greatest cars ever made.

Source: Ferrari Magazine
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