Parkers overall rating: 4.8 out of 5 4.8

This is the most powerful Ferrari V12 engine to date – and with nearly 730bhp it has enough power to deliver the energy needs of a small town let alone a two-seat grand tourer.

So no surprise then Ferrari F12berlinetta performance is nothing short of breath-taking. Press the throttle hard and be prepared for the engine to start to loudly bellow, for you to be thrust back in your seat and the horizon to rush towards you at light speed. To say the F12 is fast is an understatement of biblical proportions.

Easy to drive

What also may surprise you is just how easy the F12 is to trundle around in. Keep engine revs below 3,000rpm and the Ferrari is happy and tractable, pulling away from roundabouts and junctions with ease. There is no wrestling with tyre spin or heavy clutches – the auto mode takes all of the strain and hassle leaving you to concentrate on steering the car.

The seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission means the driver can also change gear manually using the paddles mounted behind the steering wheel. Gear changes are very smooth even when revving round to the redline, and each shift happens incredibly quickly.

Selectable driving modes

Ferrari has fitted a switchable mode to the F12 called the ‘manettino’. It provides five driving modes for different conditions. These are: Wet – for slippery conditions; Sport – for dry conditions, Race – for when you want to get a crack on; CT Off – switches off traction control; ESC Off – switches off the electronic stability control system and you are left entirely to your own driving prowess.

There is also a Launch mode that is engaged by pressing a button on the central divide. This brings the engine to the optimum revs and traction for the fastest possible standing start.

Speed and rapid acceleration

The F12 has lots of it. Ferrari’s claimed top whack is 220mph – yes that’s a two at the front not a one. Even more impressive (or worrying depending on your view point) is that at 2,000rpm the car is doing more than 60mph in top gear. Stay in the same gear and add another 1,000rpm and the speedo reads 88mph.

The redline is at 8,500rpm and the V12 seems more than capable of revving all the way round to it – so it is a staggeringly capable engine capable of pouring the power through the rear wheels and makes overtaking anything (including the Red Arrows) utterly simple.

The performance figures back this up: 0-62 in 3.1 seconds, 0-120mph in 8.5 seconds and a top speed of over 220mph.

For such a powerful car though it handles with tremendous agility with the steering particularly responsive to any inputs. The keenness to change direction belies the car’s size and weight and makes for precise and accurate cornering on smooth roads.

Drive on to bumpy or cambered roads, as found on many back roads, and the stiff suspension makes putting power down a much more lively affair. The steering wheel features a 'bumpy road' button, which when pressed, softens the suspension and makes for a more pliable ride.

This also helps handling as less time and effort is spent on a steering wheel jiggling in your hands and enables you to take a smoother, more accurate line through a corner. Even so, smooth roads will make it easier to drive more quickly than on country roads.