Bahrain This Month   Subscribe   ~   Advertise   ~   Contact us   
Prancing Horse Gallops Ahead
This racy little number is proof that the Italians lead the charge when it comes to sports cars.

I know I’m a little late to the party but last month I finally got round to watching the Godfather trilogy. In a serendipitous twist of fate, a few days later I was asked if I wanted to test drive the Ferrari F12 — needless to say, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse!

Although English by birth, my heritage is a combination of Greek and Italian so it’s no surprise that I have an affinity for Italy. Not only is the country renowned for its cuisine (including my Aunt Concetta’s sensational lasagna), it has a well-deserved reputation for producing some of the best sports cars in the world.

Perhaps the most impressive of these cars is the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, an Italian stallion that seamlessly blends passion, performance and racing technology. Not only does this model spearhead a whole new generation of 12-cylinder Ferraris, it is also the most powerful road car the marque has ever built.

Under the bonnet of this mean machine is a naturally aspirated engine that generates 740bhp and literally rockets the F12 from 0-100kmph in just three seconds.

Aesthetically, the F12 is a sight to behold, a true elegant beauty. An imposing grille that draws air into the engine bay dominates the nose, while on either side there are electronically controlled guide vanes that help cool hardworking brakes. The rear is a cutting-edge interpretation of the ‘Kamm tail’, featuring signature round Ferrari LED lights and an F1-inspired fog light.

Inside, the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta is a model of sporty efficiency with handcrafted details and technology blending perfectly. Logical, simple and accommodating, all vital functions can be reached and operated without taking your hands off the steering wheel. Vital information is displayed with perfect clarity, directly ahead.

The fun begins as soon as you hit the engine start button (also on the steering wheel) and an almighty roar lets you know you’re in business. Ironically, the least sporty mode this car can be driven in is ‘sport mode’; there are additional settings for ‘race’ and ‘CT off’ and ‘ESC off’, all of which change the driving dynamic drastically.

The only problem with having more than 700 ponies under the bonnet is that when you’re stuck in traffic there’s no room to gallop but, luckily, as soon as the traffic cleared I was off like a bolt of lightning, leaving a cloud of dust and an echoed roar in my wake.

Although there is an automatic mode, which performs fantastically, I didn’t bother using it much because the whole point of a car like this is to drive it yourself. Make no mistake about it, this is a real driver’s car and one that would be perfectly at home on a racetrack alongside any F1 vehicle.

This is probably the most fun Ferrari I’ve ever driven. It’s intuitive, responsive, phenomenally powerful and, as an added bonus, it looks great. This is a car that doesn’t just meet your expectations — it laps them (several times).