Kevin M. Buckley
For the first time in half a century Maranello has produced a series V12 open top. Enter the 812 GTS: rooted in the past, headed for the future
Classically elegant lines, all married to the extreme power of its V12 engine, made the open top 365 GTS4 hugely sought after when it debuted in 1969. It quickly gained 'cult car' status, especially in the United States. Now, with the introduction of the 12-cylinder, front-engined, open-roofed 812 GTS, Ferrari has re-awakened that V12 dream.
Although the model evokes that immensely iconic part of the marque's history from the late 1960s, its sophisticated technology means it is very much an ultra modern addition to the Ferrari stable.
The 812 GTS accelerates from 0-100km/h in less than three seconds and has a top speed of 340km/h. Without the roof, passengers are able to hear the engine and exhaust much more intimately, thanks to the unique exhaust system that is interconnected in order to amplify the aural experience, whilst the combustion system has been tweaked, too. All the time keeping the same power output as the 812 Superfast: 800cv.
A recent outing saw the 812 GTS set off from Maranello on a visit deep into the countryside of the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy, reaching Castell'Arquato. Sitting mid-way between the towns of Piacenza and Parma, the enchanting location is one of the most unchanged medieval villages to be found anywhere in 'il bel paese'. Clutching the left bank of the fast-flowing river Arda, with less than five thousand inhabitants, its cobblestoned sidestreets and thick stone walls attract visitors from all over Italy, keen to indulge in the gastronomy of a region famed for its cuisine.
Arriving in such a storied location, it was an opportunity for the brand new Ferrari to show off its own elegant lines. Flying buttresses sit atop its tonneau cover, under which the roof disappears at the touch of a button. It is classic, traditional, but in a very modern way.
As the headturning 812 GTS carefully negotiated the historic roadways of Castell'Arquato, it was clearly stating its claim to take inspiration from the marque's own history, whilst at the same time bringing that illustrious V12 backstory right up to date with a technological modernity that truly marks the beginning of a new era.
The ancient cobblestone surfaces and various steep inclines all made for a pleasant proving ground for the 812 GTS' revised suspension and control systems, demonstrating that the open top version handles just like the 812 Superfast.