Maranello will not build an SUV. No way, not ever, non e possibile. However, the 2017 Ferrari GTC4 Lusso certainly aims to lure in buyers of mega-luxury behemoths.
As the successor of 2012’s FF – Ferrari’s first four-wheel drive, four-seater – the GTC4 Lusso now focuses on boosting the model series’ exterior and interior styling, and infotainment, to better appeal to families perhaps looking at a Bentley Bentayga.
At just under $600,000 before (a long list of) options, this Ferrari also forms entry to V12-engined ownership, sitting above the twin-turbocharged V8-powered 488 GTB rear-wheel-drive two-seater, but below the 812 Superfast that is V12 but rear driven.
Ferraris have almost always been known for putting the driver first, second and third; so can this four-seater broaden its base without diluting that prancing horse focus?
Vehicle Style: Sports wagon
Price: $578,000 (plus on-road costs)
Engine/trans: 507kW/697Nm 6.3 V12 petrol | seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
Fuel Economy Claimed: 15.0 L/100km | Tested: N/A
If this were a consumer-focused contest, the GTC4 Lusso probably wouldn’t be described as a ‘value buy’. Not only is it expensive, but check out the long list of options fitted to this Grigio Ferro-coloured test car below. Then take a cold shower.
Most importantly, however, a revised 6.3-litre naturally aspirated V12 engine is standard, and it now produces 697Nm of torque at 5750rpm (although 556Nm is available from 1750rpm) and 507kW of power at 8000rpm. Driving through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, it claims a storming 3.4-second 0-100km/h.
For passengers, the 1920kg three-door hatchback delivers the same space as the FF it replaces. However, to match the squared-off front styling – its predecessor was a bit too ‘smiley’ – and new quad tail-lights sitting beneath an integrated lip spoiler, the cabin has been overhauled with a 10.25-inch touchscreen taking centre stage.
Of course, this 4922mm-long Ferrari still offers one of the longest dash-to-axle ratios of any vehicle, with that extended nose ensuring that all twelve cylinders somehow fall behind the front suspension towers for 53 per cent rear-biased weight distribution.
- Standard Equipment: Electrically adjustable steering column, cruise control, leather trim with front heating and eight-way electric adjustment with memory, keyless auto-entry, dual-zone climate control air-conditioning, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, auto headlights/wipers, bi-xenon headlights and electric tailgate.
- Infotainment: 10.25-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, four USB inputs, and 3D satellite navigation with voice control.
- Options Fitted: Panoramic glass roof ($32,500), carbonfibre steering wheel and surrounding trim ($13,000), suspension lift system ($11,000), 20-inch forged alloy wheels ($10,600), premium audio system ($10,450), colour passenger display ($9500), diamond-pattern leather seats ($9000), Apple CarPlay ($6790) and adaptive front headlights ($4900).
- Cargo Volume: 450 litres.
No arguments, please: the GTC4 Lusso is now undeniably sexy on the outside. But its cab-backward or ‘shooting brake’ proportions also mean there isn’t exactly lounging room inside. This is no Bentayga, let alone a Mercedes-AMG S65.
Ferrari has been clever with the packaging of its four-seater, however. While the front seats are positioned low but are electrically adjustable, the beefy individual rear buckets offer a heavily tilted base to push thighs upwards before allowing calves to drop to the floor – effectively increasing the amount of legroom on offer.
It works a treat and means that taller bodies can fit admirably well in back quarters that initially don’t look to offer much in the way of lower-body accommodation. Rear riders are then left to enjoy sumptuous seat support and broad centre-console space.
Further back, the bulky four-wheel drive hardware underfloor does create an awkward boot floor that also restricts cargo volume to 450 litres – or a little larger than a small hatchback, but more crimped than the average medium SUV.
If the GTC4 Lusso never had to be reverse parked, however, then the driver simply wouldn’t know there are seats and a boot behind the front chairs. The front mounting points share the same deep and all-encompassing feel of other Ferraris, while the revised dashboard is a master of simplicity and subtle detail.
There isn’t myriad active safety equipment – although curtain airbags absolutely should be added for rear riders – or other tech wizardry found with other models in this price range, which is stingy or refreshing depending on the perspective. After spending a full day with this four-seater the latter became a safe viewpoint.
Rather than filling the cabin with buttons and buzzers, the clean layout and intuitive touchscreen is as simple to use as it is good looking – notably with the optional carbonfibre steering wheel with F1-style LED upshift lights, and the colour passenger display. It leaves a driver’s eyes to focus on the road ahead as its own safety device.
Sure, $6790 for Apple CarPlay could be considered daylight robbery, but it soon becomes clear that in this rarefied world the single-specification GTC4 Lusso aims to be as convincing for $578,000 plus on-road costs, as it does for an(other deep breath) as-tested $745,490 (plus orc).
ON THE ROAD
- Engine: 507kW/697Nm 6.3 V12 petrol
- Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, AWD
- Suspension: Independent front and rear
- Brake: Ventilated front and rear disc brakes
- Steering: Electrically assisted mechanical steering
Forgettable is the word for the GTC4 Lusso on the road. Hold the phones Maranello, though, because for the driver this word is a major positive. Compared with any mega-luxury SUV this Ferrari may be cramped, but it absolutely is not an SUV.
Whether around town or on the open road, this V12 prancing horse never feels like the driver is dragging along a carriage full of twin rear buckets and boot with it. It is simply a two seater with a forgettable back-seat.
It all starts with deliciously light and immaculately incisive steering. No driver-select modes for Comfort or Sport here, just one ideal tune perfectly decided upon by Ferrari engineers – as it should be.
It makes threading the (albeit 1980mm-wide) GTC4 Lusso through Sydney streets an easier affair than it should be, now aided by (newly added) rear-wheel steering that twerks the tyres in the opposite direction to the fronts to aid manoeuvrability.
Ride comfort, likewise, is marvellous on low-profile 20-inch tyres, with only one steering wheel-mounted button enabling a Bumpy Road Mode – yes, it’s actual name – that makes the most subtle of difference compared with the standard mode.
And on the same coarse-chip country roads a Porsche 911 GTS was tested on a week earlier, the Ferrari was significantly quieter despite 295mm-wide rear rubber.
All of which means the GTC4 Lusso gets a huge tick as a Grand Tourer even before the taps on the V12 are twisted open. Do so, and be prepared for one of the fastest-spinning engines and a gloriously rich sound past 8000rpm and just before the seven-speed dual-clutch snaps to the next gear. It feels as super-fast as its claim.
Yet a theme is emerging here, because even with the steering wheel-mounted dial – dubbed manettino – moved from Ice to Wet to Comfort and finally to Sport, the automatic is flawless in picking the driver’s intentions. It never needlessly hangs onto lower gears, but can detect hard driving instantly. Leave it in Sport; set and forget.
Having driven the predecessor to the 812 Superfast – the F12 Berlinetta – using this same V12 but with rear-wheel drive, the way the 6.3-litre gels with the GTC4 Lusso’s 4RM Evo all-wheel drive system arguably harnesses its abilities to a greater degree.
In concert with new Slip Slip Control 4.0 electronics, this Ferrari demolishes distance while maintaining a firmly engaging rear-driven feel. The front suspension feels like it could have four cylinders above it, such is the electric turn-in response. And the naturally aspirated V12 delivers top throttle response and a huge rev band to play in.
No, the GTC4 Lusso doesn’t have the fleet-footed feel of a mid-engined Ferrari, and nor is it quite as willing to be adjusted on the throttle as the more affordable two-seat models. Really, though, Maranello is in a contest with itself here, and this is the vehicle with broader abilities and yet with next to zero dilution of driving enjoyment.
ANCAP has not rated the Ferrari GTC4 Lusso.
Safety Features: Four airbags, ABS and ESC, front and parking sensors with rear-view camera.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Three years/unlimited km.
Servicing: Ferrari offers seven years’ free scheduled servicing.
RIVALS TO CONSIDER
A Rapide is old and Bentayga enormous. An S-Class Coupe would eclipse the GTC4 Lusso for space and luxury, as would a Panamera that would challenge it for pace – but neither could offer the Ferrari’s absolutely incisive, visceral driver appal.
- Aston Martin Rapide S
- Bentley Bentayga W12
- Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG Coupe
- Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
It could be said that as a quiet, refined, smooth-riding touring vehicle, the GTC4 Lusso makes a fantastic sports car. Or vice-versa. However, this Ferrari genuinely balances both contrasting attributes beautifully while making few compromises.
Think of this latest model as a boutique, indulgent four seater – not overly spacious, but richly appointed and understated. It can tootle around town never exceeding 2000rpm, only to then be pointed at a mountain pass and reach beyond 8000rpm.
It is eminently driver-focused while flattering passengers and bystanders alike, comfortably becoming the Ferrari with the broadest range of attributes and the $500,000-plus multi-seater with the fewest performance and dynamic compromises.
Perhaps it’s most telling that even despite the very extensive range of options, the Ferrari GTC4 Lusso is as impressive at $580,000 as it is at $750,000 – and that is indeed rare within this rarefied automotive space.
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