Manufacturers like round numbers, especially when it comes to model launches. Imagine Ferrari's delight then when it realised it could make the new open-top 812 appear exactly 50 years on from the debut of the last series production spider to feature a front-mounted V12? That car was the 1969 365 GTS4, a car also known as the Daytona Spider thanks to the firm's success in the 24hrs of Daytona a few years before.
The 812 GTS (not Spider) has no sporting triumph to hang its hat on - but with 800hp from its majestic 6.5-litre V12, it hardly needs an additional hook. Ferrari says it's the most powerful production spider on the market, and we're willing to believe it. Naturally it's the same unit as you get in the 812 Superfast, with peak power arriving at a spine-jangling 8,500rpm to guarantee a level of acceleration "virtually on par" with the coupe.
Its maker also suggests that the full-bodied V12 sound is "particularly appreciable when the roof is open" - a rare moment of understatement from Maranello. Anyone who's had the pleasure of actually hearing the V12 on-song will vouch for the religious experience it'll likely bestow on someone sitting three feet away and unencumbered with a roof.
The replacement of said roof with a retractable hard top (Ferrari's go-to solution for convertibles) is obviously the meat of the GTS's makeover. The entire rear of the car has been redesigned and now features two buttresses beneath which the roof mechanism is stowed. This gives the spider a slightly different signature look - the open-top model gets a reconfigured rear diffuser too to compensate for a missing aerodynamic by-pass on the rear wheel arch - although it remains very recognisably an 812.
While Ferrari was forced into a number of detailed changes to ensure the most efficient flow of air possible over the spider's new body, underneath it's business as usual. The usual strengthening requirements have made the GTS is 75kg heavier than the Superfast, which has in turn required an "optimised calibration" of the car's magnetorheological dampers - but otherwise it retains the 812's chassis and its sophisticated electronics, including version 5.0 of the SSC system and Ferrari Power Oversteer, which specifically manipulates the electric steering feedback to help you get the car straight in the event of you having too much fun.
Elsewhere in the vital statistics, it's notable that you get 210 litres of luggage space and that the weight distribution remains 47/53 front to back. As with the new F8 Spider, the RHT is said to open in 14 seconds and that electric rear screen (which serves as a wind-stop with the roof down) can be lowered when you have the roof up to "luxuriate in the naturally-aspirated V12's unique soundtrack". Count on doing that a-l-o-t.
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