The Testarossa name, which means "red head" in Italian, comes from the red-painted cam covers on the flat-12 engine. Of course, the double entendre with a red-headed woman was intentional; in fact, Ferrari and Pininfarina regularly use descriptive terms related to a female's body when describing the style of their automobiles.
The Testarossa sports a 4.9 litre (4,943 cubic centimetres/302 cubic inches) Ferrari Colombo Flat-12 engine longitudinally mid mounted. Each cylinder has four valves, with forty-eight valves total, lubricated via a dry sump system, and a compression ratio of 9.20:1. These combine to provide a maximum torque of 490 newton metres (361 ft·lbf) at 4500 rpm and a maximum power of 291 kilowatts (396 PS; 390 hp) at 6300 rpm. Early U.S. versions of the car had the same engine, but slightly less power with only 283 kW (385 PS; 380 hp).
The Ferrari Testarossa can accelerate from 0–100 kilometres per hour (62 mph) in 5.8 seconds and from 0–97 kilometres per hour (60 mph) in 5.2 seconds and on to 161 km/h (100 mph) in 11.40 seconds (though Motor Trend Magazine managed 5.29 seconds and 11.3 seconds, respectively). It can complete a standing (from stationary) quarter mile (~400 m) in 13.50 seconds or a standing kilometre in 23.80 seconds. The maximum speed of the Testarossa is 290 kilometres per hour (180 mph).
The Testarossa has 16-inch (406 mm) wheels with a width of 8-inch (200 mm) at the front and 10-inch (250 mm) at the rear for both U.S. and International versions. The tire code for the U.S. version of the vehicle had Goodyear 225/50 VR 16 and 255/50 VR 16 for the rear tires, whilst the tire codes for the international version had Michelin TRX 240/45 VR 415 for the front tires and TRX 280/45 VR 415 for the rear tires. The front brakes have a diameter of 309 millimetres (12.17 in) and the rear brakes have a diameter of 310 millimetres (12.20 in).