The Captivating Ferrari F12tdf Love Story From Rob Eckaus
By Rob Eckaus
San Jose Bureau
The Auto Channel
Oh I’m so in love. I’m writing this right after getting home. First it’s a Ferrrari V-12, that’s usually enough right there. It’s like a regular car though, a traditional one with the engine in front, doors that open out instead of up, rear glass you can see out of, the door sill isn’t too wide so ingress and egress is easy and it’s quick, insanely quick. It’s not a space-shippy, UFO looking oddity and actually, seemingly obtainable because of the natural shape. It has swoops and curves like a beautiful woman lying down (on either her front, back or side). It’s the car a Maserati Grand Turismo wishes it could be. Behold! It’s the Ferrari F12tdf! Now bow down in reverence!
The F12tdf is the monster from Maranello named after the Tour de France race Ferrari dominated in the years before the bicyclists, winning ten times from 1951 to 1964 almost all with the 250 GTO, a similar looking car. The F12tdf is a F12 Berlinetta that’s been lightened, more powerful, revised suspension, transmission, aerodynamic enhancements, rear steering added and a sharper edged version of the F12. This particular version has upgrades including a front axle lift, audio and a stunning selection of personalization with blue tinted carbon fiber. The blue helping highlight the various aerodynamic upgrades over the standard F12 that create 500lbs of downforce at 125mph.
The 6.3 liter V-12 has a horn section. It blares, blasts, plays notes and talks to you with aural feedback like only a Ferrari V-12 can. The brass section changes tunes depending upon the gear and throttle position. Rated at 769hp at 8500rpm, up from 730hp in the Berlinetta. The torque peak is 519lb-ft. at 6250rpm but 80% of that available from 2500rpm and the redline is 8900 rpm. The power builds in a linear rush with no dead spot or lacking under a particular rpm, a rheostat connected to the foot similar to the wife’s LaFerrari. And as he says, it is a front engine LaFerrari, albeit noticeably slower. Well slower to him.
The transmission upshifts are 30% quicker and the downshifts 40% quicker with 6% shorter ratios, turning roughly 3000rpm at 80mph in 7th gear. The suspension features magnetorheological suspension control (generations beyond the first system developed by Delphi) with dual coil system. In order to help with immediate turn-in, the first application of rear steering by Ferrari is with a controller by ZF and software by Ferrari, the system is called Passo Corto Virtuale which basically means short wheelbase. It allows for rapid rotational change as if the wheelbase was shorter and helps keep the rear end stable. For ultimate grip, tires are 275s in front and 315s in the rear and the overall weight is reduced a reported 220lbs.
The owner said the standard F12 Berlinetta was a very good car but wasn’t passionate about it and his wife wasn’t really a fan, but this car is on an entirely different level. More reminiscent of his 599 GTO which he thoroughly enjoys, this F12tdf handles extremely well, rotates immediately, and feels lighter than the weight reduction would indicate which many attribute to the rear wheel steering. The owner, now very experienced and frequent track day participant in extremely high horsepower cars scoffs at reports the car is tricky to drive at the limit. Who goes ten-tenths on the street anyway? However feeling that turn-in a level of effortless grip shames many street legal cars.
Opening the passenger door the custom color choice glossy carbon fiber door panel is stunning, as it contrasts nicely in the interior. The shifting paddles are very long and the steering wheel has multiple functions on the front versus levers behind it. The display in front of the driver includes front and rear camera views. There is a lot of finished details inside with the carbon fiber and it works great. Plenty of legroom in the footwell was another pleasant surprise and the thin backed carbon fiber seats are perfect with an interestingly firm center section in the back that, while noticeable for a new passenger, were very comfortable. The yellow mesh headliner helps brighten the interior and the blue Alcantara compliments without being garish. Peering in the rear, the hatch opens up revealing a cargo area sufficient for a small suitcase and gym/duffel bag. It’s not a small coupe with a 107.1” wheelbase but under the hood long, blue carbon fiber airboxes lead to the V-12 that actually sits behind the front axle line.
Weight distribution is 46% front, 54% rear. Despite the engine not being behind the driver, traction off the line at a stop light is fierce and even with wheelspin, the fantastically responsive traction control allowed the car to accelerate extremely hard. This is a sub-3 second 0-60mph car with proper traction and run the quarter mile deep in the low 10s and trap speeds likely in the upper 130s. For comparison sake, a heavier, lower horsepower Lamborghini LP750 SV clocked a 10.5 @ 136mph.
One would think this is a numbers car with all the figures tossed around. It’s not, it becomes immaterial when going for a ride in this. Would it matter if it only ran low 11s? What if it only turns 1:35s at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca? It doesn’t matter. The numbers simply aggregate into an audible, visual, and g-force sensation experience. A seriously sexy beast, the owner loves it, even more than expected. It’s just so cool, especially as bespoke as this one. Possibly the pinnacle of front engine, rear wheel drive cars, it also may be the last of the naturally aspirated and non-hybrid Ferraris. This may be the last of the standalone V-12s with Ferrari. If you ever see one, take your time and really examine it, take it all in. Why? Because V-12, that’s why.
Ferrari F12tdf Technical Specs
Type: 65-degree V12
Overall displacement: 6,262 cc
Max. power output: 574 kW (780 cv) at 8,500 rpm
Max. torque: 705 Nm at 6,750 rpm
Max. engine speed: 8,900 rpm (limiter)
Dimensions and weight
Length: 4,656 mm
Width: 1,961 mm
Height: 1,273 mm
Dry weight: 1,415 kg
Weight distribution: 46% front - 54% rear
Tires and wheel rims
Front: 275/35 ZR 20" 10" J
Rear: 315/35 ZR 20" 11.5" J
Top speed: >340 km/h
0-100 km/h: 2.9 sec
0-200 km/h: 7.9 sec
Fiorano lap time: 1'21"
Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions
Fuel consumption: 15.4 l/100 km
Emissions: 360 g/km