Ferrari 512 TR / F512 M ~ 1992-96
In 1992 the Ferrari Testarossa received a needed update. The new Testarossa, now re-named the Ferrari 512 TR, re-established itself as a true, proper and worthy flagship Ferrari, that seamed to have been lost by the end of the original Testarossa production life.
Pininfarina’s beautiful lines dramatically matured in this latest version with a body color coded front bumper now housing a set of turning signals and auxiliary lights “a la 348”, but with the 512 TR, they were better encased. To continue with the 348 theme the grill was cut similarly with a chromed prancing horse logo at the center of it. Underneath each turning signal /parking light sets was an air intake scoop to cool the front disc brakes. This gave a well proportioned and symmetrical front-end look that the older and odd single left sided scoop Testarossa couldn’t match. The artistic and aerodynamic dual-arm side mirror stem support remained as well as the Testarossa’s main identity. Yes, we are talking about the five horizontal side slats housed on the extremely wide rear fenders channeling huge amounts of fresh air into the engine bay. A pattern also followed on the entire 77.8 in (1976 mm) rear width of the 512 TR, which was then adorned with five black horizontal slats now covering clear smoked taillights. Unlike the Testarossa’s black Ferrari logo, a chromed prancing horse still at the center of the rear slats, gave the 512 TR an extra cachet. On the engine lid, the rear louvers were smoothed out with a lower and sleeker center plateau. Also refreshing was the adoption of a new rear valance that surrounded the four exhaust pipes in a more enveloping and pleasing way. To complete the 512 TR’s lines, a new set of 18 in. alloy wheels with a smooth five spoke design received 235 mm wide rubber at the front, and 295 mm (11.6 in) at the back. This new wheel design, as well as the new smoother front and rear valance made all the difference in the world, and maybe even was how the Testarossa should always have looked.
The 512 TR wasn’t all about good looks though, and most of its internal organs including the chassis were also updated. The chassis was still a tubular unit, but some strengthening was added to increase its rigidity. On the road the 512 TR felt in another class than the original 1984-91 Testarossa, while on top of that ABS brakes were a welcome safety standard.
After looking and acting the part, the interior also came with a pleasant surprise that included an overall quality upgrade well needed and deserved on such a high priced Supercar. The main dashboard’s design remained, but it had been extensively polished with smoother edges around the nacelle and just about everywhere. The three round central air vents replaced the outdated rectangular units found previously, and were still lodged underneath the radio lid. Not found before though was the three additional dials on their own lower binnacle canceling at the same time the old center console. It created a sportier interior by only revealing the tunnel console… with sadly the same cheap Fiat switches. The three-branch steering wheel was more fluid and the interior door panels were also updated.
To facilitate the engine maintenance, and reduce noise and vibration, the engine was placed on a subframe, which was then bolted to the chassis. The gearbox and engine were 1 inch lower to create a better center of gravity, while the engine was the same dry sump, 180˚ flat 12 cylinder with 48 valves creating almost a 5 liter of capacity, but actually closer to 4.9 liter (302 cu in). It now delivered 428 hp at 6750 rpm thus 48 more horses than the previous Testarossa! From a standstill the 512 TR reached 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, while the top speed was 190 mph (306 km/h).
After 2,280 Ferrari 512 TRs had been built between 1992 and 94, a last and not so lucky late evolution was unveiled in 1994 with the Ferrari F512 M. The “M” stood for Modificato (modified) but most of these modifications made were a shameful calamity on this last Testarossa. The welcome updates concerned a venturi undertray to generate down force, and another 22 horses for a total now of 440 hp at 6750 rpm. On top of that the use of lighter aluminum body panels gave the F512 M a better power to weight ratio.
On the outside, the bodywork redesign was more of a horror story though! With an overdone bumper “a la F355”, not working at all in this particular case, the F512 M looked like it had the “village idiot’s” smiley face on. The glass covered headlights with two NACA air intakes on the hood by the windshield, there to cool the interior, looked completely unbalanced and a little flat! The split rim wheels taking queues from the 1989 Ferrari Mythos concept car (also based on the Testarossa) had an ugly aftermarket look to them and just didn’t fit on the F512 M with their “propeller” theme. Not to be outdone by the poorly redesigned front, the rear-end shed its five wide horizontal slats and replaced them with two round lights on each side with 5 connecting black strips. But the way they were fitted looked more like an afterthought design cue that a sad tuning company would have done.
Thank God the performance was marginally better with 4.7 seconds to get to 60 mph, while 195 mph (314 km/h) was the new maximum top speed. These new numbers restored the top speed crown taken by the new 2+2 Ferrari 456 GT two years earlier.
In 1996 the last of the third Testarossa generation rolled out of Maranello, with only 500 Ferrari F512 Ms produced, ending the flamboyant 80’s era for Ferrari.
|Model/Year||Ferrari 512 TR / 1992-94||Ferrari F512 M / 1994-96|
|Engine Type||Mid-Rear, All alloy Flat 12 @ 180˚
DOHC. 4V (48 V), Dry Sump.
|Capacity||4943 cc / 302 cu in|
|Fuel Feed||Bosch Motronic M 2.7|
|Power||428 hp @ 6750 rpm||440 hp @ 6750 rpm|
|Torque||362 lb-ft @ 5500 rpm||368 lb-ft @ 5500 rpm|
|Transmission||5 speed (dog leg) - RWD|
|Top Speed||190 mph - 306 km/h||195 mph - 314 km/h|
|"0-60" mph - 0-100 km/h||4.9 sec||4.7 sec|
|Weelbase||2550 mm / 100.4 in|
|Front Suspension||2 Wishbones, Coil Springs, Tube Shocks. Anti-roll Bar|
|Rear Suspension||2 Wishbones, dual Coil Springs, Dual Tube Shocks. Anti-roll Bar|
|Brakes||Ventilated Disc all around|
|Front Tires||235-40 ZR 18|
|Rear Tires||295-35 ZR 18|
|Steering||Rack & Pinion|
|Weight||3241 lb / 1480 kg||3219 lb / 1460 kg|
|Country of Origin||Italy|
|Production Num.||2280 (Total 512 TR + F512 M = 2780)||500 (Total 512 TR + F512 M = 2780)|