It seems Ferrari, that most imperious of brands, is finally letting its hair down for a little blow in the wind. In September, for the first time ever, the Italian marque unveiled two different models on the same day—and both top-optional at that.
Billed as the most powerful production convertible currently made, the front-engine 812 GTS takes its performance and design cues directly from the 812 Superfast coupe, and under the hood lies the same naturally aspirated, 6.5-liter V-12 kicking out 789 hp and 530 ft lbs of torque. Mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, the power plant launches the GTS to 62 mph in less than 3.0 seconds on its way to a top speed of 211 mph. But perhaps more significant even than the car’s staggering performance numbers is its appearance in Ferrari’s lineup at all: The 812 GTS is the first production front-engine V-12 convertible out of Maranello since the legendary 1969 Daytona Spider. (Technically, Ferrari has considered every interim example, like the F60 America and 575 Superamerica, as a limited-edition model.) And as it turns out, it was not entirely deliberate.
“Honestly, it wasn’t planned to make an open version, but working with engineers, we found it was possible to have a good variation of the shape of the 812 [Superfast],” says Flavio Manzoni, Ferrari’s chief design officer. “The retractable hardtop was probably the most difficult aspect to be solved.”
What began as the main challenge for Manzoni and his team became one of the car’s most innovative additions. The roof, which can open or close in 14 seconds at speeds up to 28 mph, compromises neither structural rigidity nor the size of the cockpit. “This is a new interpretation of the Spider,” says Manzoni. “The [front-engine] predecessors were cabriolets with soft tops, so the architecture was completely different. This version doesn’t contradict the 812 Superfast—it keeps the fastback effect.”
While the 812 GTS is an homage to Ferrari’s rich V-12 heritage, the F8 Spider, an open-air take on the F8 Tributo, speaks to the increased role of the automaker’s eight-cylinder power trains. Set behind the driver, the 3.9-liter turbocharged mill, with 710 hp and 568 ft lbs of torque, is Ferrari’s most powerful production V-8 to date; paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, it gives the roadster nearly the same zero-to-62 mph and top-speed numbers as its new V-12 stablemate.
“It was very interesting to work shoulder-to-shoulder with the aerodynamicists,” says Manzoni, “especially on the rear section of the car, because it was necessary to have a larger rear spoiler and satisfy heat evacuation from the engine.”
Improved handling features include the Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer Plus, which adds braking capability to the Side Slip Control system, making the car more predictable at the edges of traction. “Those who test this car will see how easy it is to go to the limit and stay there,” said Michael Leiters, Ferrari’s chief technology officer, at the official unveiling.
The 812 GTS and F8 Spider, priced starting at €336,000 and €262,000, respectively (US pricing has not yet been announced), begin deliveries in the latter half of 2020. Note: sunscreen not included.
Check out more pictures of the convertibles below: