Production of the BB was a major step for Enzo Ferrari. He felt that a mid-engined road car would be too difficult for his buyers to handle, and it took many years for his engineers to convince him to adopt the layout. This attitude began to change as the marque lost its racing dominance in the late 1950s to mid-engined competitors. As a result, the rear-mid-engined 246 P Formula 1 car was introduced in 1960, followed by the Dino SP racing sports prototypes in 1961. In 1963, the company also moved its V12 engines to the rear with its P and LM racing cars.
Introduced in 1967, the Dino 206 GT and 246 GT/GTS road cars were the first road-going Ferraris to use the rear-mid-engined layout, albeit under the lower-cost Dino marque. Ferrari's flagship V12-powered road cars remained front-engined through the early 1970s, with the 365 GTB/4 Daytona and 365 GTC/4 introduced in 1968 and 1971, respectively. In 1973, Ferrari introduced the 365 GT/4 Berlinetta Boxer as its first mid-engined 12-cylinder road car.
The Bosch K-Jetronic CIS fuel injected BB 512i introduced in 1981 was the last of the series. The fuel injected motor produced cleaner emissions and offered a better balance of performance and driveability.
External differentiators from the BB 512 besides badging include a change to metric sized wheels and the Michelin TRX metric tyre system, small white running lights in the nose (grill), and red rear fog lamps outboard of the exhaust pipes in the rear valance.
1,007 BB 512i models were produced.