Introduced in 1984 as a replacement for the Berlinetta Boxer, the Ferrari Testarossa became an icon of 1980s retro culture due to its radical design and significantly more premium interior, compared to other Maranello-built sports car. The coupe soldiered on mostly unchanged until 1991, when it was replaced by the 512 TR.

Although it was presented as a new car, the 512 TR retained the Testarossa’s dramatic design language, as well as the flat-12 powerplant. Of course, improved internals made the 512 TR quicker and more powerful than its predecessor, while a revised weight distribution also made it more stable under full throttle.

Compared to its predecessor, the 512 TR was short lived, being produced for only three years (compared to the Testarossa’s seven-year run). As a result, the 512 TR was also built in significantly less numbers, with only 2,261 examples leaving the factory until 1994. Although this figure makes it rather scarce compared to the Testarossa (produced in more than 7,100 units), the 512 TR isn’t the rarest Testarossa, a feat that goes to the F512 M, the second and final upgrade for the nameplate.

Having already reviewed the standard Testarossa and the Testarossa Spider one-off, it’s time we also have a better look at the 512 TR. Keep reading to find out what set it apart from the original model.

Continue reading to learn more about the Ferrari 512 TR.

  • 1991 - 1994 Ferrari 512 TR
  • Year:
    1991- 1994
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    flat-12
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    428 @ 6750
  • Torque @ RPM:
    362 @ 5500
  • Displacement:
    4.9 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.8 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    195 mph
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

1991 - 1994 Ferrari 512 TR
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1991 - 1994 Ferrari 512 TR
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1991 - 1994 Ferrari 512 TR
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The 512 TR retained most of the Testarossa’s exterior features, including the trademark side strakes and the ultra-wide rear track and fenders. Up front, Ferrari meddled with only the fascia and the bumper, leaving the trunk lid and the pop-up headlamps unchanged. Below them, however, the 512 TR received new light units with clear turn signals and a redesigned grille with chrome slats in between. Also, the two-piece bumper with the black lower element was replaced by a one-piece unit with vents under each daytime running lamp, a splitter, and no character lines on the sides.

On the sides, the 512 TR carried over unchanged toward the C-pillar, save for the body-colored side skirts, and updated five-spoke wheels.

On the sides, the 512 TR carried over unchanged toward the C-pillar, save for the body-colored side skirts, and updated five-spoke wheels. Changes become more obvious toward the rear. Not only did Ferrari revise the flying buttresses of the engine hood, but also extended them toward the rear, eliminating the Testarossa’s already short deck lid. Also, the Italians altered both the lower rear section of the fenders, as well as the bumper, making the latter slightly thicker.

Around back, changes were limited to a mildly reshaped bumper, new exhaust tips with a revised grille in between. The car also received a "512 TR" badge, while the "Ferrari" lettering on the deck lid was moved closer to the fascia. The engine hood also gained a facelift that included black-painted inner panels and a body-colored deck lid section.

The vehicle’s dimensions remained pretty much identical, as the revised body was only 0.2 inch shorter. The 512 TR also sat 0.2 inch lower due to a revised suspension.

Exterior Dimensions

Length 4,480 MM (176.37 Inches)
Width 1,976 MM (77.79 Inches)
Height 1,135 MM (44.68 Inches)
Wheelbase 2,550 MM (100.39 Inches)
Front track 1,532 MM (60.31 Inches)
Rear track 1,644 MM (64.72 Inches)
Weight 1473 KG (3247.40 LBS)

Interior

1991 - 1994 Ferrari 512 TR
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The new element integrated the steering column, a mid-mounted three-gauge cluster, and lacked the Testarossa's old-fashioned cassette rack.

The interior also received a facelift compared to the Testarossa, with many design features updated to early 1990s standards. Although the dashboard retained its shape and size, Ferrari dropped the wraparound design and added round A/C vents below the stereo. The instrument cluster gained new dials and light indicators, while the steering wheel had a more modern design.

Arguably the most important change was the addition of a the new console below the dashboard. The new element integrated the steering column, a mid-mounted three-gauge cluster, and lacked the Testarossa’s old-fashioned cassette rack. The center console was revised into a slightly cleaner design and moved a few inches toward the back. The shifter, however, retained its position on the left side of the console.

The seats were also redesigned for improved comfort. Other changes included new door panels, a new handbrake lever, an updated audio system, and reshaped A-pillars.

Drivetrain

1991 - 1994 Ferrari 512 TR
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The 4.9-liter flat-12 engine of the Testarossa was thoroughly revised for the 512 TR. The unit received Nikasil liners, a new air intake system, Bosch engine management system, larger intake valves, and a new exhaust system. As a result, output increased to 428 horsepower and 362 pound-feet of torque, a 43-horsepower improvement over the Testarossa. The sprint from 0 to 60 mph took only 4.8 seconds, versus the Testarossa’s 5.2-second benchmark, while top speed was increased from 180 to 195 mph.

The sprint from 0 to 60 mph took only 4.8 seconds, while top speed was increased from 180 to 195 mph.

The engine mated to an updated version of the Testarossa’s five-speed manual gearbox with a new single-plate clutch and sliding ball bearings for easier gear shifting. The position of both the engine and the gearbox were revised, giving the 512 TR an improved weight distribution of 41/59 percent front/rear, which resulted in more precise handling.

Further chassis enhancements included larger, 14-inch front brake rotors and cross-drilling all around, quicker steering, lower-profile tires, and a reconfigured suspension system.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type rear, longitudinal flat-12
Bore/stroke 82 x 78 mm
Unitary displacement 411.92 cc
Total displacement 4943.03 cc
Compression ratio 10 : 1
Maximum power 428 HP @ 6,750 RPM
Power per liter 87 hp/l
Maximum torque 362 LB-FT @ 5,500 RPM
Top speed 313.8 km/h (195 MPH)
Acceleration 0-100 km/h 4.8 sec

Prices

1991 - 1994 Ferrari 512 TR
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At launch, the 512 TR was priced from £131,600 in the U.K. and $212,160 in the United States, a significant premium over the original Testarossa, which was introduced at $94,000 and soared to around $150,000 toward the end of production.

Much like its predecessor, the 512 TR’s value plummeted on the used car market in the following decades, with most examples selling for less than $100,000 until 2010. More recently though, the TR gained more value and low-mileage models started to change owners for more than $100K. The most expensive model sold at an auction fetched $187,000 in 2014. The vehicle came with only 2,800 miles on the odo, original books, tools, and window sticker.

Competition

Lamborghini Diablo

1990 - 2001 Lamborghini Diablo High Resolution Exterior
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While the Testarossa was seen as a competitor for the iconic Lamborghini Countach, by the time the 512 TR arrived, Ferrari’s main rival had already introduced the Diablo. A major departure in terms of styling, comfort, and power compared to its predecessor, the Diablo was to the Countach what the Testarossa represented when compared to the Berlinetta Boxer. Unlike the 512 TR, the Diablo came with more than one drivetrain configuration. While all models were motivated by the same 5.7-liter V-12 until 1999, output ranged between 492 and 523 horsepower, not counting the limited-edition, 595-horsepower SE Jota. The least powerful model came with 492 horses and 428 pound-feet on tap, 64 horsepower and 66 pound-feet more than the Ferrari. As a result, the Diablo was significantly quicker, needing only 4.5 seconds to hit 60 mph. Also, the Lambo had a top speed of 204 mph, a figure only the Ferrari F40 was able to match. The Diablo, however, was more expensive than the 512 TR, retailing from $239,000 in 1991.

Find out more about the Lamborghini Diablo here.

Conclusion

1991 - 1994 Ferrari 512 TR
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Although Ferrari made a big fuss about how the 512 TR was an all-new model, it was considered a facelift to the Testarossa by most enthusiasts for many years, despite the significant updates under the skin. And, even though it was built in notably less units than the Testarossa, the 512 TR has yet to become as valuable as its predecessor. Still, it’s importance in the Ferrari lineup can’t be denied, especially since it was among the last Prancing Horses to use the company’s flat-12 powerplant.

  • Leave it
    • * Low value despite small production run
    • * It was no match for the Lamborghini Diablo
    • * Not as awe-inspiring as the original Testarossa
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