First Drive

Ferrari 812 GTS 2020 UK review

There are only two seats inside – not even tiny rear ones fit only for a Pomeranian – and unlike in a Lamborghini spyder, you’ll find that Ferrari hasn’t taken away seating space to bring you a folding roof: the seats slide just as far back as usual. 

They’re well finished and supportive and bring a decent driving position, although some might want the steering wheel – a bit complexly buttoned and squared off, but you get used to it – to reach a little closer. The rest of the cabin is relatively pleasingly laid out, albeit the two small screens behind the steering wheel, which control infotainment and monitor car’s trip computer, fluid and tyre temperature and other systems, aren’t totally straightforward. But I really like the look and feel of the air vents, there’s a cool secondary display in front of the passenger so they can see how fast you’re not going, and it’s all rather nicely designed and well finished. Are those silvery plastics pretending to be metal? Almost, but not enough to convince you, and you know that plastic is lighter than metal, too, so it’s better you don’t believe it. I think.

The engine in this car is a masterpiece. I know revelling in it is all very 20th century and everything but one day we’ll only enjoy internal combustion like this in the same way we know traction engines. 

What is it about the noise? Even people who don’t know it know it when they hear it: a V12 that sounds so smooth, sounds so expensive, and so exotic. Just so… right.

And it revs to daft levels for an engine of this size: peak power is at 8500rpm and peak torque, of 530lb ft, doesn’t arrive until 7000rpm. Still, 80% of that is available by 3500rpm and, honestly, that’s quite enough to be getting on with most of the time. The GTS might not have Superfast in its name but it’s not practically any slower: the 0-62mph time is less than three seconds and the top speed more than 211mph.

Ferrari’s dual-clutch gearbox is one of the best on the market, too, so smooth and quick, and even left in automatic mode, it’s amenable, despite it and the stop/start system keeping things as quiet as possible to minimise emissions – although I suppose at 17.2mpg and 373g/km, there’s a limit to what they can do. But shifts are brilliant in manual mode.

And the GTS is enjoyable to drive, too, even at sensible British road speeds. This is quite a big car (4.69m long and 1.97m wide and hard to see the extremities) and, as all modern Ferraris, has ferociously quick steering. I think that’s meant to make it feel more agile, and it probably works. Ferrari claims a dry weight of 1600kg but we weighed a Superfast fully fuelled at 1725kg, so call this one 1800kg with a bit of fuel and some options. Nonetheless, it turns keenly. 

It rides well, too. Ferrari has two modes on its adaptive dampers and the ‘bumpy road’ set-up is best for most British asphalt, although it’s good to find a system in which the differences are subtle work well. Clearly, engineers and test drivers get the final nod, rather than departments that really want you to feel a difference in driving set-ups. The steering weight doesn’t change, either, although I know some testers would rather it was a little less responsive.

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