The most powerful road-going Ferrari ever made is set to be unveiled on the 29th February 2012.
After six years, the time has come for Ferrari to replace its front-engined V12 Berlinetta flagship, the 599. I's certainly going be a tough act to follow; with the final GTO version sporting a 661bhp V12, the 599 is still right at the top end of GT supercar performance.
The 599's replacement will be unveiled to the world on the 29th February, as announced on the Ferrari.com website today. In the modern way of car launches, Ferrari have also released a teaser picture and a short video (embedded at the bottom of this page) of Ferrari F1 team drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa driving one of test mules at Ferrari's Fiorano test track.
Other than proudly announcing that it will be the most powerful road-going Ferrari ever, no further details have been released. However, there was a special preview of the car to selected special clients, and a few of those lucky people have revealed some more details on independent Ferrari forum Ferrarichat.
Collating what has been posted, it would seem that the engine is a version of the 6.3 litre V12 already seen in the FF. In this new car, power will be upped to a huge 740bhp, a comfortable 40bhp more than Lamborghini's Aventador. Resulting performance is massive as you would expect, with 0-100km/h (62mph) claimed to arrive in 3.1 seconds, 0-200km/h (124mph) in 8.5 seconds and a top speed of 340km/h (211mph). Dry weight is said to be 1,525kg.
Regarding the new car's looks, the teaser shot offers little other than a view of the general outline. I have played with the shot using some photo editing tools (results in the gallery) to try and extract more detail, and my efforts revealed a large air outlet running from behind the front wheels, and pleasingly what looks to be a the outline of a badge where the badge from long-time design collaborator Pininfarina is often placed, just above the sill behind the front wheel.
Pininfarina is in severe financial difficulties as a result of the worldwide debt crisis, and the Pininfarina family is losing control of the business to its banks. There was some speculation that this car would be an in-house design by Ferrari's head of design Flavio Manzoni, but if I'm correct it would appear that the new car is indeed still styled by Pininfarina.
People who viewed the car have described it as a beautiful, compact car with hints of the Ferrari 550, classic Ferrari 275 and Alfa Romeo's stunning 8C. Ferrari have also appeared to have listened to the chief criticism of the 599 - that it was physically huge - and the new car is said to be 49mm shorter, 60mm lower, and 20mm narrower than the outgoing model.
As to a name, Ferrari remain tight-lipped, even at last night's preview event where the car was referred to by its internal designation of F152. Speculation around the internet refers to it being called the F620GT, but Ferrari are notorious for making last-minute changes to the names of their car before launch, so the actual moniker will not be revealed until next Wednesday.
Note: all figures are unofficial, although they are being quoted by more than one source.
Ferrari have added a second teaser video showing the car's body being manufactured at the Ferrari-owned Scaglietti works. It shows what appears to be a quite small glass area, and probably quite a high-set rear. Further titbits from Ferrarichat (again unconfirmed) indicate the car has a double bubble roof similar to that on the 458, and the bonnet has a 550-style air intake. The most interesting rumour to emerge is that the car might have a hatch rear rather than a conventional boot seen on previous Ferrari Berlinettas. Looking at the video there may be some substance to this. What do you think?
GTspirt.com has a leaked picture of what looks to be a wooden styling buck of the F620GT finished in flat matte silver. Apparently is is missing some details of the final car (which was also shown). You can see the picture here.