In 1995 Ferrari’s 512TR was mildly redesigned to produce the Ferrari
512M. She was met with mixed review, some receiving her with great enthusiasm while others were disappointed that she did not have a more unique distinction from her predecessor.
She was given a redesigned body, although the lines were also again met with mixed notions. Her styling changes were based on aerodynamic needs rather than design purposes relating to aesthetic qualities. She received a new integrated nose cap that included small but noticeable changes such as a trapezoidal indicator with similar parking lights. This was considered a small improvement over the 512TR. The small round fog lights rested completely segregated, which some people claimed broke away from any notion of continuity in eye pleasing design. The square tail lights that had detracted from the 512TR were replaced with round Ferrari
tail lights. Again, a noticeable and appreciated improvement.
Her underbody was redeveloped to improve airflow, and Ferrari
proudly released yet another sports coupe that cruised up to 60 miles per hour in under 5 seconds that carried the traditional Ferrari
One of the main goals of the designers was the overall lightening of the car, and the internal parts of the flat 12 engine were scrutinized for design enhancements. The pistons were then forged from aluminum and they introduced titanium connecting rods. They revised the crankshaft and redesigned the combustion chambers, giving them a lighter and more functional shape. The redesigned exhaust system didn’t shave much weight from her, but it did improve performance speeds by nearly .30 seconds.
The lighter engine proved to be a successful step in quickening her pace, and the Ferrari
512M came off the line with a top speed of 196 miles per hour. With natural Ferrari
grace she went from 0 to 60 miles per hour in a heart pounding 4.6 seconds, requiring 127 feet to bring herself back to a standstill from 60 miles per hour. Rounding out her ¼ mile test in 12.7 seconds, she was considered amply maneuverable and the 500 Ferrari
512M’s that were produced all flew like rockets right out of the box.
She came standard of course with a 5 speed manual transmission, rear wheel drive, and the flat 12 engine. Her fuel consumption was a bit high even for the Ferrari
designers expectations, averaging about 12 miles per gallon but ranging anywhere from 10 to 15 miles per gallon. Her peak horsepower topped out at 432 horses at 6750 rpm and she hit optimal torque when the tachometer reached 5500 rpm, delivering a 367 pound per foot ratio.
Her interior was remarkably similar to the Ferrari
512TR. A few minor changes claimed her personality, but it was quite obvious this was the little sister to the 512TR without much consideration given to improvements and advancements. The Ferrari
512M came with optional racing seats which was in fact an improvement over the 512TR, and most owners took advantage of this option. A small storage bin was added to the console. The center console was additionally more adequately covered in leather. The plastic sphere knob on the gear shift control was replaced with a more tasteful aluminum sphere. The new three spoke steering wheel was introduced and the inner rim of the steering wheel was lined with carbon finer, giving it a more upgraded look although certainly not contributing to functionality. The driver’s pedals were now adjustable and fashioned from drilled aluminum.
Critics stated that there were efforts made to create an appearance of an enhanced interior while in reality the appearances were exactly that and did not transpose enough enhancement features to signify design changes. They were obviously disappointed in the lack of imagination that kept the 512M so similar to the 512TR. They had hoped to see some interior overhauling to produce a more comfortable space and functional interior improvements.
standards were marginally met with the introduction of the Ferrari
512M. It was widely criticized for lacking distinction and being little more than a face lifted 512TR. However, there was a large enough following for the 512TR that the 512M was instantly accepted for not being a radical change to what was already considered to be an adequate Ferrari
The basic value of the Ferrari
512M has been well retained, and in some cases have even appreciated. This is a significant achievement even for high performance cars and race cars
. 512M enthusiasts regard her as Ferrari’s tribute to their classic styling and basic performance value and on the road is where most enthusiasts cast their vote for the baby sister.
Her handling had improved and her throbbing speeds were remarkably exhilarating as she was able to corner turns and survive abuse tests that only a Ferrari
driver would know. Throwing variable road conditions at her did not seem to deter her desire for performance or her ability to rise to the situation. Her wider rear wheel significantly improved her traction and manageability on the roadway. From the instant she is turned over to her brain flattening halt, she catapults herself from one end of the road to the other without so much as a minor infraction. Behind the wheel is where the enthusiasts fall in love, and the Ferrari
512M has certainly proven herself worthy of the devotion.
With no excuses and absolutely no apologies, the Ferrari
512M can not be missed when she takes to the road. While occasionally experiencing mistaken identity, she still out performs, out pleases, out wits, and out lasts the vast majority of street legal performance cars on the road from her era.
Pininfarina once again sharpened his abilities and created exactly what the public was searching for, even if the critics weren’t as impressed. Ferrari
enthusiasts consider the 512M a classic in the Ferrari
line, one that has made her mark on the hearts of the true critics, the Ferrari
enthusiasts. Her seductive nature will never go out of style and her classic lines will forever be easily recognized as “Ferrari.”
© 2007 Kiersten Stetser and Benjamin for sport-cars.org April 1, 2008, 10:47 am