The New Ferrari 12Cilindri’s Design Is a Nod to the Optimism of 1970s Sci-Fi

05.14.24 | By
The New Ferrari 12Cilindri’s Design Is a Nod to the Optimism of 1970s Sci-Fi

When Ferrari rolled out not one, but several of their new 2025 12Cilindri grand tourers onto stages across the Prancing Horse’s luxuriously appointed tent set across Miami’s South Beach, you could feel a palpable collective pause, as if every breath was being withheld in awe of what had rolled before us. A distillation of automotive mythology, the 12Cilindri is undeniably a Ferrari from muzzle to tail, a 2-seater engineered to satiate the insatiable desire for speed while confidently dressed in style and proportions distinctly Italian.

Ferrari 12Cilindri event tent set across Miami Beach

The rare unveiling of a new Ferrari outside of Italy and in Miami was calculated in part as a celebration of Ferrari’s 70 years selling cars in the U.S. \\\ Photo: Gregory Han

Red Ferrari 12Cilindri sports car on display at an auto show with people and promotional images in the background.

Photo: Gregory Han

A man in a suit presenting a Ferrari 12Cilindri on stage at a car show, with the Ferrari logo projected in the background.

Photo: Gregory Han

Imagined from the Ferrari Centro Stile in Maranello by Ferrari’s chief design officer Flavio Manzoni and team, the 12Cilindri – or Dodici Cilindri in proper Italian elocution – is an ambitiously realized design Manzoni would remark upon during a table side interview as one that “probably won’t be immediately understood or celebrated… but in time people will.”

Why would Manzoni hedge his bets in initial public reception?

Two men in suits presenting a Ferrari 12Cilindri sports car design on a large screen at an automotive event.

Photo: Gregory Han

Two men presenting a Ferrari 12Cilindri sports car sketch on a large screen at an automotive event.

Photo: Gregory Han

“It felt like it was time to trying something new, and new is always a challenge for some to accept,” says Manzoni.

Introducing itself with a sloping bonnet dropping off to a low slung black trim extending to each side, the 12Cilindri exudes a self-conscious confidence not unlike a winking grin delivered by a Marcello Mastroianni mustache. It looks good and it knows it, a front detail echoing the 1970s-era Ferrari Daytona GT accentuating 12Cilindri’s low and wide stance.

A Ferrari 12Cilindri on display at an automotive event, surrounded by people and large screens showing car designs.

Photo: Gregory Han

Top-down view of a silver Ferrari 12Cilindri sports car on a light gray surface, showcasing its sleek design and aerodynamic shape.

Is there any car more graphically engaging than the Ferrari 12Cilindri viewed from overhead?

Move beyond the front and the V12 powered grand tourer becomes even more interesting, with a sinuous rather than excessively curvaceous profile contained by a pair of parallel lines running horizontally. These lines effectively direct eyes to both ends of the 12Cilindri’s muscularly haunched wheel wells, the sum emphasizing how far back the car’s cockpit is set. Squint and it’s easy to imagine the car’s side view silhouette as a stallion’s head as it sprints with grace.

Close-up view of a red sports car's rear quarter panel and wheel, featuring a yellow Ferrari logo on the brake caliper.

Photo: Gregory Han

A large event screen displaying a variety of images including astronauts, spacecraft interiors, and two men conversing beside a Ferrari 12Cilindri sports car, viewed by an audience under red lighting.

Photo: Gregory Han

Things get a bit more radical as you make your way around to the rear of the 12Cilindri, where a large graphic rear hatch window simmers with retro-futuristic vibes of a spacecraft or an astronaut’s visor. Those sci-fi evocations are no mistake, with Ferrari making it a point to highlight the connection during the event with a collage of concept sketches alongside stills from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and other science fiction films, an era of storytelling defined by modernist optimism colliding against the technological challenges of the future.

But Manzoni would bristle upon mention of the design’s “retro” elements. Instead, Ferrari’s chief designer emphasizes the everlasting modernity and optimism represented by futurist 1960s and 1970s architecture, furniture, and industrial design – and in turn, the 12Cilindri – a moment when everything seemed possible and good design inhabited corners of our homes outward into the deep recesses of galaxies far, far away.

A Ferrari 12Cilindri sports car displayed at an exhibition with a crowd of people and presenters around it.

Photo: Gregory Han

For most of us earthbound by budget, the 12Cilindri will remain within the realm of science fiction. For those with deep pockets, the 12Cilindri coupe will retail around $425,000, with the top-optional 12Cilindri Spider selling for just under $470,000. For additional info, head over to

Gregory Han is a Senior Editor at Design Milk. A Los Angeles native with a profound love and curiosity for design, hiking, tide pools, and road trips, a selection of his adventures and musings can be found at