The 812’s 12-cylinder engine is utterly extraordinary in all the ways you hoped it would be: for its outright force, its pedal response and proportionality, its docility and good manners at low revs, and for the repertoire of virtuoso moans, growls, howls and wails it works its way through on the way to that near 9000rpm redline.

Only Porsche’s 4.0-litre flat six from the 911 GT3 and Lamborghini’s very finest V10s and V12s compare with it in any of the above respects and not in all of them, by any means. But it’s the apparently perfect linearity of the engine’s power delivery that stays with you.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
‘Front-mid’ engine layout puts the entirety of the V12’s block behind the front axle line (with only the induction system and ancillaries in front of it), while the gearbox is slung out behind the rear axle for the shortest possible wheelbase

This engine has no flat spot; it needs no notice period to give up its brilliant best. If you engage sixth gear below 30mph (as you surely won’t once you know how great the engine sounds at high revs), you can use full throttle straight away without any fear of the slightest bit of rough or uneven combustion. And then you just sit back and watch the revs and speed pile on so metronomically.

In sixth, it takes 3.7sec for the car to accelerate from 30mph to 50mph; which may not seem particularly impressive until you read that it takes just 3.6sec for it to go from 130mph to 150mph in the same gear. Every 20mph accelerative increment in between is dispatched within four-tenths of a second of the same time.

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The car’s gearbox works smoothly at low speeds and would be entirely untroubling to live with and, although it doesn’t creep when you lift off the brake pedal, it allows you to be as precise as you like when manoeuvring. Its paddles are column-mounted and they’re large, so they’re easy to find when you’re feeding the wheel.

The gearshifts they prompt show just enough hesitancy to feel marginally slower than those of, say, a Porsche 911 GT2 RS or a McLaren 720S, but without having driven either of the other two, you’d never recognise any kind of deficiency. All of which adds up to a powertrain that loves to be taken to task and extended into the stratosphere.

When it comes to cruising, which any kind of GT car ought to be well capable of, the engine settles down to a fairly unintrusive noise level. There’s always plenty of tyre roar flooding into the cabin – as you might well expect of a car that rolls on such wide wheels – but not enough in itself to put you off taking on longer trips.

Meanwhile, the car’s 92-litre fuel tank means that, although we recorded only 23.8mpg from the car as a touring economy test result, you could still put more than 450 miles between fills when you needed to.

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