Novitec’s Ferrari personalisation programme has always prided itself on being subtle and tasteful, so when their widebody F12 N-Largo arrived in 2013 it shocked the system like the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs millions of years ago.
Totally out of character for Novitec Rosso, the N-Largo was created at the behest of a few overseas dealers and their larger than life clients. At first Novitec were hesitant to do something so visually outrangeous, but once the prototype was standing outside their showroom they were actually quite taken with the car themselves. The success of the N-Largo formula led to the 488 N-Largo of 2017 followed by its Spider sister.
Six years after our eyeballs were distended by the F12 N-Largo we are back at Novitec to sample the 812 N-Largo, whose looks leave you in no doubt of its lineage.
However, things have visibly changed in the intervening years and it looks like the big Ferrari has grown up and been to finishing school. Where the F12 N-Largo was gauche personified the same cannot be said for its descendant.
Where the F12 N-Largo sits uncomfortably on the outrageous side of the fence, visibly struggling with its 1980s style steroid taking body builder image, Novitec’s designer, Vittorio Strosek, has achieved a fine balance this time round. Looking sleek and purposeful the far subtler bodywork alterations applied to the 812 N-Largo convey a muscular tone akin to an athlete in a well-tailored sports jacket.
Made from the highest quality carbon-fibre for lightness and strength the new styling additions are totally homogenous and functional with the only purely decorative parts being the pair of carbon-fibre intake trims sitting atop the bonnet and the door mirror covers.
The entire front bumper moulding is new, and the visible carbon-fibre air splitter below increases downforce at speed. As the factory front wings are bolted on, this makes them an easy swap.
In the past wider rear wings required cutting the existing metal and folding back the original arch lips below the wider extensions. This latest conversion has been designed to avoid any metalwork so the new wider look rear arches are glued to the factory rear panels before being expertly blended in. It is a testimony to the skill of Novitec’s body shop that absolutely no trace of this work can be seen.
These rear wheel arch extensions and their trailing edge air outlets give the tail a wider, squarer shape with styling echoes from the F40. The deeper side skirts and side fins that channel the airflow along the flanks of the car are also new as are the rear bumper and underbody diffusor. The carbon-fibre rear wing produces around 23kg of downforce at 200km/h.
While the 488 sits decently low out of the box, the Portofino and the V12 front-engine Ferrari models show too much daylight in their wheel arches. The N-Largo’s wide and purposeful stance comes from a ride height reduction of 35mm all round on Novitec sport springs calibrated to the factory adaptive dampers.
Meanwhile the big front and rear arches are filled by 10.0J x 21-inch and 12.5J x 22-inch forged centre lock alloy wheels, wrapped in 275/30ZR21 and 335/25ZR22 Pirelli P-Zero rubber.
These springs work with the factory front-lift system as well, and if you did not tick the box for that option Novitec offers their own hydraulic version, which raises the nose 40mm to clear car park ramps and speed bumps. Operated by a remote control button, the kit comes with a plug-in CAN control unit and is compatible with the factory adaptive damping system.
As a direct result of the latest Ferrari models no longer wanting for more power Novitec has not touched the big V12. In the early days of Novitec Rosso all Ferrari motors were naturally aspirated and relied on high revs to make their generous helpings of power. Back then 400hp was common, 500hp was good, and 600hp was a really big deal.
Novitec relied on a twin supercharger installation to boost the power of the V8 motor in the 360 Modena and then the F430, extracting a rousing 636hp and 638Nm of torque from the latter.
Since then the factory V8 and V12 engines have become increasingly powerful, and today the 812 Superfast’s over-square (94 x 78mm bore x stroke) 6,494cc V12 produces a stonking 800hp at 8,500rpm (60hp more than the F12), underpinned by 718Nm of torque at 7,000rpm. This provides more power on tap than most owners can sensibly use.
Despite a kerb weight of 1,630kg, the 812 has ferocious acceleration, rocketing to 100km/h in just 2.9 sec, and passing 200km/h in 7.9 sec on its way to a 340km/h Vmax. It is a testament to the clever electronic traction control that the big rear Pirellis are not completely immolated in the process, and the 53% rearward bias of the cars weight distribution created by the transaxle transmission layout certainly helps here.
In the light of the standard 812’s intergalactic performance Novitec initially saw little purpose in trying to further boost the output of the epic V12. However, their customers wanted the bragging rights and so they are about to launch an ECU remap that will take power to 840hp at a screaming 8,750rpm, with 751Nm of torque at 7,300rpm. This improves the stopwatch numbers by a smidgen, dropping the 0-100km/h sprint to 2.8 sec, and increasing top speed to 345km/h.
To put that in context, that allows the big, heavy 812 to match the 0-100km/h time of the smaller, lighter 488 Pista, which has 720hp from its twin-turbocharged V8.
On that score the irony is that the move to turbocharging for the V8 motor came out of the need to meet increasingly strict emissions levels around the world, on both an individual vehicle and corporate average level.
Efficiency is the name of the game now and helpfully, unlike standalone manufacturers such as Aston Martin, Ferrari is able to ‘hide’ its relatively high individual model emissions in the Fiat Group’s overall figure. When you are selling hundreds of thousands of Fiat 500s a year that is much easier to do.
However, the naturally aspirated V12 motor is a sacred cow at Ferrari, who has sworn to never inflict their low volume masterpiece with forced aspiration.
Thus, the only concession Novitec makes to extra horsepower for the 812 Superfast is a short menu of sports exhaust options, the most basic being a set of black or polished tailpipes for use with either the stock or Novitec exhaust system.
Next up is a stainless steel X-Pipe system to balance the exhaust pulses from both cylinder banks and a catalyst replacement pipe for stock or Novitec systems, which is not legal in Europe.
A good addition, even for the stock exhaust is the 100-cell sport metal catalytic convertors that reduce exhaust gas backpressure and shave 4.0kg from the exhaust systems weight. This new cat requires the Novitec Tectronic device to avoid error indications in the closed loop emissions monitoring system.
And so to the full exhaust conversions, which are available with and without flap regulation and the choice of either stainless steel or Inconel. In flap regulated form the weight reduction over the stock system is 5.0kg, with Inconel saving a further 2.0kg.
If you describe the noise of a standard 812 Superfast starting up as a V12 bellow, the sports exhaust of the red 812 N-Largo is a controlled explosion of fuel and air. The pearl white car with purple interior on the other hand sounded like the sky was falling and sticks of dynamite were continuously going off around you.
Destined for a Middle Eastern country where normal exhaust noise regulations either don’t exist or are ignored by the extremely wealthy, the straight-through exhaust on this car was painfully loud. We simply could not drive it on the local roads for fear of the anti-social decibel level attracting the police, so we were restricted to driving the red car.
The stock 812 Superfast has a firm ride and can be a little skittish on some road surfaces. Add to this its pointy steering and it is not the most restful of cars to conduct.
Despite its sport springs the 812 N-Largo is no worse, and is even more stable at high speeds thanks to its wider track and increased aerodynamic downforce. However, as this car was about to be delivered to its owner we could not take it to the local autobahn to find out.
Driving briskly on local country roads it has the typical demeanour of a thoroughbred racehorse needing to be let off the leash. There is so much sheer grunt on tap that it is best to stay in a high gear and let the torque curve do the work.
The Novitec N-Largo is always going to be a rare beast. The F12 N-Largo was limited to a run of 15 cars that quickly sold out, and due to customer demand Novitec has increased the build number for the 812 N-Largo to 18.
At this level the word ‘exclusive’ really has to mean something.
In a supreme piece of irony to end our tale of the Novitec N-Largo conversion for Ferrari’s fastest, loudest and most gas guzzling V12 monster machine, the camera car we used for the tracking shots was a Tesla Model X. Novitec have always been a trend setter, and in addition to Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and Rolls-Royce, they also have an aftermarket programme for Tesla!