Ferrari F12 Buyers Guide

“The fact is, I don’t drive just to get from A to B. I enjoy feeling the car’s reactions, becoming part of it.” -Enzo Ferrari

I couldn’t have said it better myself. I enjoy driving, thus I enjoy cars. I am not a race car driver by any means. Most of my cars never even see the track. However, I can’t deny how incredible it is to sit behind the wheel of a car, appreciate the craftsmanship, design, build, and just open the car up in the way it was made to.

You all have followed me now long enough to know that I am really not a Ferrari enthusiast, per se. But I can’t deny how much I enjoyed owning, driving, and modifying my Ferrari F12. But I’ll tell you about my own experience later on.

The Ferrari F12 Berlinetta was introduced to the world in 2012 at the Geneva Motor Show as the replacement for the rather unloved Ferrari 599. Much like Lamborghini, Ferrari replaces it’s similarly made cars rather than having them compete (Murci was replaced by Aventador, Gallardo was replaced by Huracan, etc.)

When the F12 was created it was not only THE MOST aerodynamic series-production Ferrari, but also the most powerful, high performing front-engine car in the brand. Even though Enzo Ferrari himself was once quoted saying: “Aerodynamics are for people who can’t build engines”, that isn’t the case for the Pininfarina designed V12 beast. The overall design of the F12 can be compared to a more modern and beautiful 599 (you can thank the heritage driven designers of Ferrari for that. Legends never die, after all.)

The F12’s styling is definitely more aggressive than the 599 ever was. Maybe that’s because the headlights of the F12 are angled to look like a set of incredibly angry eyes, long, angular, and low on the bumper. The bumper itself hugs the ground and is slated with a Ferrari stallion prancing right in the middle of it. These large slats allow for a lot of air intake to be delivered right into the beast of an engine that sits behind them. Coming up and through the large front engine, we see most of the length of the car is found even before the driver’s cabin begins. With a monster V12 sitting in front of you, just be sure to keep that weight distribution in mind.

The F12’s doors have a rather soft indentation to them, made to allow for airflow and better aerodynamics. And unlike the V12’s in Lamborghini’s line up, the Ferrari F12 does NOT come with butterfly doors *cue the ‘womp womp’ sound effect*. However the F12’s body is incredibly sleek and low, close to the ground to better hug the track it was designed to dominate.

The rear is a bit more stocky than you would expect. With a large rear window for good visibility taking up most of the back design. The trunk is also located here, but if you are looking to fit in more than a carry on bag then you’ll be a bit disappointed. This is a race car, not a minivan. The two circular taillights sit at the far end of the rear bumper with two dual-tipped exhausts sitting directly below.

If I had to sum up the appearance of the F12 in one word: Aggressive. But whereas an Aventador is also seen as aggressive, the F12 has a more design-driven element to it. Call it the lines that swoop and angle perfectly throughout the entire body, but in my opinion, the Ferrari F12 is the good looking bad guy in a movie you love to hate.

Driving Experience

If you’ve been following me for some time you know I am not much of a Ferrari keeper, it’s nothing personal I had just always found better, more exciting cars for the money. However, when I had the chance to buy one of the highest sticker F12’s in the country ($497,000 MSRP), I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

The F12 I purchased was a beautiful 2014 red on black fully bespoke interior car with everything carbon and premium interior options (only thing missing was the speed gauge on the passenger side). It had already been lowered on Novitec springs and had the more favorable five-spoke wheel option stock from the factory. All I did to the car was add carbon shields, add Novitec spacers, add exhaust/tune that made the car sound like an absolute MONSTER (thanks to Excell Racing), and lowered the car just a bit more on the springs it already had. She was truly a piece of art.

Driving the F12 was different for me. Most of you know I am not a race car driver nor do I ever try to act like one to impress my passengers. However, I like most, enjoy the feel of being in control of the car. But the RWD F12, she’s quite tricky to get a hold of. With a 6.3 L naturally aspirated V12 engine putting out 730hsp and 509lbs of torque capable of top speeds of 211mph, all seated at the front of the car, the weight of the F12 might be its own worst enemy. Honestly, if you don’t know what you are doing and you take a turn too fast, you will end up in a wall. Plain and simple.

However, if you are just going for a cruise with the F12 then you will truly find it to be an enjoyable drive. Though you may want to punch a hole in the dashboard after trying to change the radio station. For a half million dollar car you would think the Italians could design a better interface, but NO. The entire electronics panel is situated inside the dashboard, split screen with the odometer in between. And how to toggle, you ask? With a tiny, small, few button and knob device that looks like a side mirror adjuster. So all the navigation, media, radio, car functions, maintenance viewing, etc is a real pain the ass to view because of this terrible design.

The rest of the controls are rather basic on the interior, with front console being taken up by air vents and climate controls, and the divider of passenger/driver being the area where the famous Reverse/Auto/PS buttons of the Ferrari lie. Also, don’t be expecting put more than a pen into your center console, just thought I should inform you on that little detail since no one cared to tell me.

I really enjoyed the time I spent with my F12, it broke necks everywhere it went. With it being a red Ferrari it commanded respect from the old car enthusiasts with and drew attention from all the people just walking by on the street or at car shows from it being loud and bright. If I had to own the car again I may not even want to tune it, the F12 is already powerful enough stock, and for a none-speed racer like myself, I don’t need the extra horses trying to jump out of the gate with every light touch of the gas pedal.

Ferrari F12 Common Problems

Ferrari prides itself in making quality machinery, and even though sometimes they slip up, they are always quick to rectify and identify the problem, at least from what I have witnessed.

The F12 is not immune from problematic issues. One of the most common being a starting issue. Many complained that if they started their F12 up on a cold start, it would roar to life and perform beautifully. But take it down a couple dozen miles or so, shut it off to get a cup of coffee and then come back, and she doesn’t want to start, or if she does it’s very “lazily” and accompanied by Electrical Warning errors popping up on the dash. It seems when the engine comes into direct heat from usage or the outside temperatures it overheats all on its own. Mind you, I never had this problem with my F12 personally, and mine was in Florida. Ferrari found it to be a common electrical problem, betokening the starting motor and the starting cable connected to the battery.

Aside from that issue, not much else has been said about the F12 in a negative mechanical light. Only two recalls have been issued for the F12, and they are placed below for you to review (if looking to purchase an F12 in the affected year, region, etc be sure these are completed.)

  • Air Bags: Passenger Side Frontal ( Recall # 18V040000)

Ferrari North America, Inc. (Ferrari) recalled some model year 2013 F12 Berlinetta vehicles sold, or ever registered in the United States, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan), and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These vehicles are equipped with certain airbag inflators assembled as part of the passenger frontal airbag modules used as original equipment or replacement equipment. In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the passenger frontal airbag, these inflators may explode due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to absolute humidity and temperature cycling. An inflator explosion may result in sharp metal fragments striking the driver or other occupants resulting in serious injury or death.

  • Air Bags: Frontal ( Recall # 115V433000)

Ferrari North America, Inc. (Ferrari) recalled some certain model year 2015 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta vehicles manufactured December 19, 2014, to April 29, 2015. The affected vehicles may be equipped with a driver side airbag module that was improperly assembled. This can cause the airbag to deploy in a rotated orientation. In the event of a crash, the deployment of the driver’s airbag in a rotated orientation increases the risk of injury.

Ferrari F12 Cost of Ownership/Maintenance

While many fear that the cost of maintaining a Ferrari will be through the roof, that isn’t the case with any Ferrari built after 2012.

In terms of warranty, the Ferrari F12 is of course covered under Ferraris’ 3yr/unlimited mile basic & powertrain warranty. But Ferrari has created an incentive to give when you are deciding if purchasing a Prancing Horse is right for you.

In 2012 the Italian Stallion’s introduced the Genuine Maintenance Plan which covers 7 years (from car manufactured date) of FREE maintenance. The program includes labor, original replacement parts, lubricants, engine oil, brake fluid. And yes, The Genuine Maintenance service is specifically linked to each car: meaning this service “passes on” to the new owner if the car in question is sold.

There are some stipulations though, all the work has to be done at a Ferrari dealership within 30 days of the new car limited warranty year to date or 12,500 mile mark. Otherwise, the owner may subject to financial obligations. If the service date is missed completely, the entire maintenance plan will be canceled and the owner will be left to pay out of pocket for the remainder of ownership.

It’s one incredible way that Ferrari has been able to separate itself from the competition over the years in the race for Best Exotic Car Brand.

The following is the list of routine maintenance services performed annually or every 12,500 miles.

  • Annual Maintenance- 
    • Replace Oil
    • Replace Oil Filter
    • Replace Pollen Filter
    • Visual Inspection
  • Two years or next 12,500 miles- 
    • Replace Oil
    • Replace Oil Filter
    • Replace Pollen Filter
    • Brake Fluid Replace
    • Auxiliary Belt Replacement
    • Visual Inspection
  • Four year or 37,500 miles- 
    • Replace Oil
    • Replace Oil Filter
    • Replace Pollen Filter
    • Brake Fluid Replace
    • Auxiliary Belt Replacement
    • Replace Spark Plugs
    • Visual Inspection

Ferrari F12 Model Year Changes

The F12 is a generational car for Ferrari, which means that no changes were made to the car in its short time of production (2012-2017). If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it right?

However, we feel the Million Dollar variation and the Successor of the F12 should be mentioned.

Ferrar F12TDF

This is the Tour De France track-focused version of the Ferrari F12. While the engine is kept the same, the power output has been upped a notch, giving this million dollar baby 769 horsepower and 520 pounds of torque. And with 243lbs deleted from the weight, this beast can hit top speeds of 211mph and go 0-60 in just 2.9 seconds.

Then, of course, you have the upgraded exterior: new front bumper, hood, side details, bumper, wheels, and rear bumper all designed to make the most aggressive looking Ferrari ever built, even more fearsome. All the upgraded exterior components of the F12tdf are carbon fiber, including the side vents, front splitter, side skirts, and rear diffuser. The interior doesn’t get too much of an upgrade, aside from additional options of material, carbon, and seat options.

Though this is the million dollar version of a $400K car, in my opinion, it isn’t worth the money. Don’t get me wrong, these cars are beautiful to look at, and truly are art if done in the right color combination/options. But I could only see myself purchasing the TDF if and only IF I was an exclusive Ferrari collector who had the million to shell out, keeping this car nice and safe inside my garage.

812 Superfast

2019, the year of College Admissions scandals, USA women’s soccer winning another World Cup Trophy, and Area 51 raid plans made on Facebook. But also, the year of the 812 Superfast. The generational giant is now taking over for the F12, and even though it had big shoes to fill, it seems to be adjusting to the limelight just fine.

Though the exterior looks similar to the F12, this car definitely got better genetics. More sleek and angular at the front with new headlights and front bumper, carrying through the same side lines the F12 made iconic, but ending with a new bumper altogether. Featuring dual tail lights, heightened back angle, and same dual tipped exhaust we came to love on the F12. The interior is also similar, however, not getting the obvious memo about fixing the terrible interface introduced to us in the F12. But none the less, the interior is still beautiful and minimalistic, leaving all the attention to be focused on the menacing exterior.

In terms of performance upgrades, the 812 Superfast’s holds an upgrade 6.5L V12 that outputs 789 horsepower and 530lbs of torque. With a top speed of 211 and capable of 0-60 in just 2.9 seconds. Thanks to the redesign of the 812 the car has now become even more aerodynamic than it’s predecessor. Though it still isn’t perfect, remember this is a RWD front engine beast.

Some people love this car, and others seem to absolutely hate it. Me? I want one. Hell, I am even combing the market as you are reading this looking for one to add to my collection right now… the only thing for me is: it has to be red!

Ferrari F12 Options

Ferrari’s are most likely the only exotic brand on the market where their most loaded cars and their base model cars can vary between almost a quarter million dollar price points. When it comes to purchasing a Ferrari used, it all comes down to three key points: OPTIONS, OPTIONS, OPTIONS.

The F12 has many options to choose from, and since the car is no longer made to spec, it is good to get familiar with the options you like best.

Here are the options as it pertains to the Ferrari F12 with some options costing as much as $6,000 alone and others were no more than $75.

The F12 you want to go for the 2014-2015 years as they have depreciated the most when it comes to initial hits. Yes, of course, they are still susceptible to further depreciation when it comes to condition and miles, but they have even come down further in the last few months thanks to the 812 Superfast’s hitting the market.

When looking for an F12 for yourself you want to go with some of the more iconic color combinations, red/tan or red/black or white/red, and if you want to even go for a more menacing look go for the black on black look. Remember what I said before in the above section, these cars are highly dependent on options for resale dollars so be sure to get a look at the sticker when you are looking at an F12 pre-purchase.

You want to ensure that you aren’t venturing to cars that have over 15,000 miles. The lower the miles, the better, but be wary on price point.

Mods are ok on this car if done tastefully, a nice exhaust, clean set of wheels, and even a front body kit that helps make the car look OEM+. Anything too outside the design is going to be a straight NO, a lot of buyers for Ferrari’s appreciate the stock look, so varying too much from that will close off your buyer pool when you want to sell.


I thoroughly enjoyed owning my F12, even if it was for just a short few months. That car truly helped me to understand why so many people out there are nothing but loyal to the Ferrari brand. They build their cars with so much heart and soul it is almost impossible to not feel some type of emotion when behind the wheel. This car got so many looks from women, men, and children alike.

Owning a red Ferrari is something I believe should be on every hacker’s bucket list, and if you have the means and the will power, make that red Ferrari an F12.

Hack-Ability Meter

You may also like

BMW M8 Buyers Guide

BMW M8 Buyers Guide

Ready To Buy Hack Your Dream Car?

Join over 22,000 members who have used our strategies to buy their dream car without using their own money... while saving on taxes, insurance, depreciation, and maintenance.