Ferrari has rolled out the 812 Superfast, successor to its F12berlinetta - a car which was launched five years ago and still looks fresh.
The new car is an homage to the Ferrari 500 Super Fast of 1964. It is also the fastest series production Ferrari to date, with a century sprint time of 2.9 seconds - the first to clock under 3 seconds.
Here in Ferrari's hometown, a test-drive of the 812 includes a 144km route that passes through rustic towns, countryside and twisty mountain stretches. There are also a couple of hot laps on Ferrari's famed Fiorano test track.
The 812 is drop-dead gorgeous, with its long bonnet and short fastback tail silhouette evolving from the F12's sleek design. Every vent and slit on its sensuous body is not just for aesthetics, but also for better slipstream airflow and reduced aerodynamic drag. Complementing this are front air-intake with active flaps and a rear diffuser that deploys at high speeds.
The 812 is a tad larger than the F12, measuring 4,657mm tip to tip (plus 39mm), 1,971mm wide (plus 29mm) and 1,276mm tall (plus 3mm). But it manages to retain the same dry weight of 1,525kg, thanks to an extensive use of aluminium, carbon fibre and light alloys.
The cabin layout is familiar, with Ferrari signature features such as eyeball vents and steering- mounted drive mode selection. In the test car, there is an optional infotainment screen for the passenger, giving it a plusher ambience.
SPECS / FERRARI 812 SUPERFAST
Price: $1,420,000 without COE
Engine: 6,496cc 48-valve V12
Transmission: Seven-speed dual clutch with paddle shift
Power: 789bhp at 8,500rpm
Torque: 718Nm at 7,000rpm
0-100kmh: 2.9 seconds
Top speed: 340 kmh
Fuel consumption: 14.9litres/100km
Agent: Ital Auto
But there is only one cupholder in the cabin and the passenger side does not have one-touch function for window raising. These are minor compared with a distracting windscreen glare from a contrasting dash lining.
Still, there is no denying that the 812 shines in the driving department. Along village roads and narrow town streets, it can crawl along at below 60kmh in seventh gear with the engine barely above 1,000rpm. Such is the immense torque available from its 6.5-litre engine.
It is a little buzzy, but blipping down a gear or two to raise the revs above 2,000rpm hits a sweet spot in the car's soundtrack.
Be sure to activate the "bumpy road" button, too, for a tolerably firm ride. Sport mode is best reserved for perfect surfaces.
The 812 may be wide and low, but you do not feel hemmed in. There is good forward visibility, with the raised front wheel haunches defining the edges of the car. The car feels more compact than it actually is.
In town, progress is often interrupted by slower traffic. Thankfully, the car is super-quick in overtaking, allowing it to exploit gaps in the flow. After all, the car has 718Nm of torque, 80 per cent of which is available from 3,500rpm.
On snaking mountain roads, the 812 is able to display its cornering finesse. The sharpest of hairpin bends, even uphill, are dispatched with ease. Just a flick or two on the paddle-shifter and a light tap on the throttle will bring on G-force- inducing cornering lines with road-hugging grip.
On the Fiorano track, there is a chance to drive in Race mode. The 812 impresses with its blistering straight-line acceleration as well as its cornering ability. Its responsive steering, equally quick gearbox and active rear-wheel steering work in tandem to make anyone feel like a race driver behind the wheel.
It may sound cliched, but Ferrari has managed to make an already great sports car superlative. As a grand tourer built for road and track, the 812 has few rivals. The car will make its Singapore debutin the middle of next month, with deliveries starting in December.
• The writer contributes to Torque, a motoring monthly published by SPH Magazines