We’re big fans of the tin-top Ferrari 812 Superfast, which blew us away in our First Test (and with 789 horsepower from a naturally-aspirated V-12 that revs to 8,900 rpm, how could it not?). So when we got news of a convertible version called the Ferrari 812 GTS, to say we were thrilled would be an understatement. Actually, it was a bit more like the delicatessen scene from When Harry Met Sally.
The drop-top 812 is significant in another way: The 812 GTS is the first series-production Ferrari convertible with a front-mounted V-12 since the 365 GTS/4 Daytona, which debuted precisely 50 years ago at the 1969 Frankfurt Auto Show. Does anyone know what Don Johnson is up to these days? (Yes, we know, there have been four special, super limited edition front-engine V-12 spider models since, so hold your nastygrams). When it goes on sale, it will also be the most powerful convertible in production.
If you’ve drooled over the specs of the 812 Superfast, then you know what’s coming, starting with that dream of an engine. Its 789 horsepower peaks at 8,500 rpm, just short of the 8,900-rpm rev limit, while torque maxes out at 530 lb-ft. All of this power is generated with nary a turbocharger, though the 812 does feature a variable-geometry intake system. Some 80 percent of the engine’s torque is available below 3,500 rpm, but the mill is designed to provide a burst of power between 6,500 rpm and redline. Equal-length six-into-one headers ensure that the unearthly V-12 wail of the most powerful convertible is optimized for top-down aural enjoyment.
As with the engine, the hardware of the Ferrari 812 GTS is largely identical to that of the 812 Superfast, including the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and an electric power steering system that provides torque to help the driver countersteer in the event the 812’s back end tries to make an end-run around the front. Ferrari says it has been able to re-tune the magnetic dampers to mimic the behavior of the coupe, this despite a weight increase of 165 pounds, most of which can be chalked up to chassis strengthening.
Ferrari is a bit vague on acceleration figures, saying only that the Spider will get to 62 mph in “under 3 seconds” (the coupe does it in 2.8), but proudly boasting that the 211-mph top speed is identical to that of the coupe. (Best to wear a hat with a chin strap when driving the most powerful convertible with the top down.)
The back of the 812 GTS has been largely restyled to accommodate the folding roof, with twin fairings mimicking the coupe’s fastback profile. We imagine over-the-shoulder visibility won’t be great, but we all remember the first rule of Italian driving, right? (If you’re not a ’70s car-crash movie fan: “What’s behind me is not important.”) The design is both beautiful and purposeful: Ferrari shaped the back of the car to retain as much of the fastback’s downforce as possible while also minimizing top-down turbulence.
Speaking of the top, it’s a retractable metal roof setup, designed to provide maximum interior space and not intrude on the cabin when stowed. Opening and closing the roof takes just 14 seconds, and it can be done while the car is moving at speeds of up to 28 mph.
Though pricing and availability have yet to be announced, with the 812 Superfast starting at $344K, it’s reasonable to assume that the 812 GTS will check in at somewhere close to 400 large. But if our experience with the 812 Superfast coupe is any indication, the market’s most powerful convertible will be worth every last stinkin’ penny.
2019 Ferrari 812 GTS Specifications
|ON SALE||Early 2020|
|PRICE||$400,000 (base, est)|
|ENGINE||6.5L DOHC 48-valve V-12; 789 hp @ 8,500 rpm, 530 lb-ft @ 7,000 rpm|
|TRANSMISSION||7-speed dual-clutch automatic|
|LAYOUT||2-door, 2-passenger, front-engine, RWD convertible|
|EPA MILEAGE||12/16 mpg (city/hwy) (est)|
|L x W x H||184.8 x 77.6 x 50.3 in|
|WEIGHT||3,765 lb (est)|
|0–60 MPH||2.9 sec (est)|
|TOP SPEED||211 mph|
This story originally appeared on Automobile Magazine.
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