Ferrari is in the final stages of developing its long-awaited successor to the 812 Superfast, due in 2024 and set to be powered by an 800bhp-plus V12.
Spotted on numerous occasions testing in Italy – initially dressed as a Roma but now wearing production-spec bodywork – Ferrari’s new grand tourer notably features a significantly extended bonnet, strongly hinting at the presence of the firm’s largest engine.
The absence of high-voltage warning stickers or a visible charging port also suggests it will continue to be unassisted by electrification – as it is in the outgoing 812.
The Italian firm has long been vocal about keeping its 12-cylinder engine alive for its flagship cars, deploying it most recently in the Daytona SP3 supercar and Purosangue SUV, even as it ramps up its electrification initiative with the 296 and SF90 hybrids, and its first pure EV, due in 2025.
Speaking to Autocar previously, Ferrari head of design Flavio Manzoni said: “I personally believe we have to fight for this engine. From a technology point of view, it’s not the most efficient.
"A V8 turbo could make it better in terms of performance. But from an emotional point of view, it’s the best you can have.”
The firm has yet to officially acknowledge these prototypes, but a source at the company recently hinted to Autocar that it will be launched in 2024: “If you look at the lifetime of the cars gone previously, that will give you a good idea to speculate when we will deliver a new car.”
Ferrari launched the 812 in 2017, with the F12 arriving five years before and the 599 six years before that, suggesting the next instalment in the front-engined V12 GT lineage is due an imminent unveiling.
Heavy camouflage has so far kept the design largely under wraps, although early signs indicate it will be an all-new proposition, rather than a major update of the 812.
Visible cues include new-look headlight designs and reshaped quad-exit exhausts. But Ferrari will no doubt seek to make its GT an obvious relation to the new Purosangue SUV with a similar treatment at the front and rear ends, and muscular, elegant styling that points to its dual billing as a luxury GT that’s engineered to perform on track.
It will share its underpinnings with its front-engined siblings, the Roma and Purosangue, the latter of which is confirmed to receive a hybrid variant, potentially paving the way for its lower-slung sibling to follow suit.
Ferrari has announced no plans to electrify its V12 engine, with the 296 GTB and SF90 hybrids using a V6 and a V8, respectively. That means any electrified version of this new GT is likely to use one of the smaller engines.
In 2022, the firm outlined plans for 40% of its sales to still be of pure-combustion cars by 2026, falling to 20% by the end of the decade.
But earlier this year, Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna suggested that Ferrari’s ICE cars could remain on sale for several years beyond that if the European Union allows e-fuel-powered cars to continue on sale after 2035.
He hailed the expected exemption for e-fuel-powered cars as “very, very good for us – for us and for the world, I believe – because it gives life to a technology that still has a long way to go. There are many things that can be done in terms of efficiency, in terms of emissions.”
However, Vigna stopped short of detailing what these emissions-reduction measures could be. Some reports suggest the V12 could finally be turbocharged (which would theoretically boost power and cut emissions) but Ferrari has never voiced any intention in this vein.
It also remains to be seen whether Ferrari intends to make its naturally aspirated V12 more powerful in its next iteration.
The most potent version of the 812 – the track-focused Competizione – produces 819bhp, and the SP3 Daytona supercar ramps that up to 829bhp, making it the firm’s most powerful pure-combustion car yet – but no doubt any boost for the 812’s successor would take it past this point.