Mike Stevens | Oct 25, 2012

Ferrari's most powerful ever production model is now in Australia, with this week's launch of the F12 Berlinetta in Sydney.

Priced at $691,100, the F12 enters above the $625,000 FF, the $526,950 458 Italia and the entry-level $459,650 California roadster.

Until the flagship F70 makes its global debut in the coming months, the F12 will also square off against Lamborghini's Aventador monster, priced at $754,600.

Revealed internationally in March, the F12 arrives as the successor to the popular 599, evolving the brand's new styling and bringing a brand-new V12 engine.

The F12 is also a smaller car than its predecessor, measuring 4618mm long, 1924mm wide and 1273mm tall - 47mm shorter than the 599, and a huge 162mm shorter than its bull-badged counterpart.

The big new naturally-aspirated powerplant puts out a hefty 545kW and 690Nm of torque, comparing favourably with the Aventador's 525kW and 690Nm figures (for those keeping score).

Ferrari says the engine will hit 80 percent of its maximum torque output at 2500rpm, peaking at 6000rpm and topping out at 8700rpm.

Unlike the big Lambo, the F12 sends it power through a seven-speed paddle-shifted automatic to the rear wheels alone, but Ferrari promises a 0-100km/h time of 3.1 seconds - just 0.2 off the Aventador's official sprint.

The 0-200km/h time is listed at 8.5 seconds, and a top speed "in excess of" 340km/h is claimed.

Driving aids include a magnetorheological suspension control system, an electronically-controlled differential, ESP Premium, F1-Trac, ABS and carbon-ceramic brakes.

With the F12's smaller dimensions came a repackaged underside, including a new layout for the rear suspension and transmission.

As a result, the engine, dashboard and seats now sit lower, and downforce is improved by 76 percent.

The stronger downforce, and its new drag coefficient of 0.299, is attributed to two elements: a bonnet design that channels air away from the upper part of the car to its flanks, interacting with the wake from the wheel wells, and a new Active Brake Cooling system that opens guide vanes at high-operating temperatures.

The all-important kerb weight figure has fallen by 70kg, to 1525kg, thanks to a new spaceframe chassis and bodyshell that utilises 12 different alloy types and increases rigidity by 20 percent.

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