Ferrari’s most family-oriented vehicle does not compromise the sporting brio its buyers expect.
And although the new GTC4 Lusso replaces the Ferrari FF (four-seats, four-wheel drive) and loses its name, it carries on much of its genetics. In fact, squint at a distance and it doesn’t appear all that different. There are some new tricks in the Lusso such as more power, less weight and the addition of four-wheel steering but, for the most part, it is business as usual for the family car from Maranello.
Vehicle Style: Grand tourer shooting brake
Price: $578,000 plus on-road costs
Engine/trans: 507kW/697Nm 6.3-litre 12cyl petrol | 7spd automatic
Wonderfully, the GTC4 Lusso has avoided the shift to forced-induction. Where the 488 GTB replaced the 458’s mid-engine naturally aspirated V8 with a twin-turbocharged block, the front-engine Lusso managed to hold onto the FF’s unblown 6.3-litre V12. Everything else is a step forward though – it’s more powerful, lighter and even blows out lower emissions.
But those emissions are not low enough to keep the four-seater fastback immune from turbos, however, as a more green and affordable GTC4 Lusso T model shoehorns the 488’s 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 into the front. Perhaps the end is near for the free revving V12.
Though the GTC4 Lusso might look similar at a glance to the FF, Ferrari tweaked the front and rear styling along with some smaller details like air vents and sharper pinched curves. It’s unmistakably a Ferrari still but the wagon rear-end removes the attention-grabbing looks of its super car siblings.
Priced from $578,000 (plus on-road costs) the Lusso isn’t for plebs, and options such as the $32,000 panoramic sunroof are equal to many family car budgets. Other options fitted to our test vehicle include Apple CarPlay ($6790), passenger display screen ($9500), 20-inch chrome plated forged alloys ($10,600), diamond pattern stitched leather seats ($9000) and a carbon fibre steering wheel ($13,000).
It’s enough to make eyes water, but for owners the options can be a talking point as they’re recorded on a plaque in the boot 450 litre boot.
Standard inclusions include a 20-inch alloys with 245/35 front and 295/35 rear Pirelli P Zero rubber, 398mm front and 360mm rear carbon-ceramic brakes, a 10.25-inch infotainment screen and electric heated seats that help tip the car to 1790kg.
But let’s not kid – if you’re buying a Ferrari it isn’t about the cost of Apple CarPlay. It’s about the badge and the performance. And there is plenty of both.
Lusso means luxury in Italian and expectations aren’t let down when stepping inside – literally. The door is wide enough to avoid contorting like an eel when entering the car, and rear passengers won’t feel awkward stepping onto the sidewalk outside the finest establishments in town.
The GTC4 Lusso straddles a line between super car feel and luxury liner that’s hard to get right, but it does. Touches like the optional carbon fibre wheel add plenty of Italian super car theatre, contrasting with an elegant, hand-stitched leather sun visor oozing quality craftsmanship. Even its pedals, including the passenger foot rest, are drilled and cut from solid aluminium.
Some elements such as the large 10.25-inch infotainment screen aren’t as harmoniously integrated, but Ferrari has at least upgraded its screen to full HD resolution and doubled processor speed so it's seamless to use rather than a nuisance.
By contrast, the dash, which relies on two displays either side of the large central tachometer to show speed and vital engine stats, is well implemented and clear to read. The tachometer reaches 10,000rpm but the needle won’t move past 8500rpm.
Two large carbon fibre column mounted paddle shifters sit waiting behind the F1-inspired steering wheel and require operations for necessities like the windscreen wipers and indicator stalks are moved to buttons on the wheel. Given a few turns, it doesn’t take long to adjust.
The seats are adorned with soft leather in a luxe-looking diamond pattern and hand stitched hide flows up the centre console and onto the dash where it juxtaposes with harsher metals and plastics. It highlights the Lusso’s wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing ability without being too conspicuous.
The seats are undeniably more comfortable rather than bolstered for performance and even the rear pews offer a cosy ride. There’s also enough head room for an over 6-foot frame back there which is elevated by the huge panoramic sunroof. The front seats also pop-down low and provide an excellent seating position for enthusiastic moments behind the wheel.
Around back, the 450-litre boot capacity is surprisingly practical and offers eight litres more space than a Mazda CX-5, but a box shelf means loading larger items isn’t as simple, though still ample for weekends away.
ON THE ROAD
The GTC4 Lusso offers two driving modes for most situations – comfort and sport. Being so luxurious the Lusso could have a softer ride but it leans steadily towards a stiffer, racier posture.
There’s not a night and day difference between the two modes and, although the ride is a bit more compliant in comfort, sport mode offers a bumpy road mode which removes some scuttle response on poor surfaces.
More importantly, the soundtrack doesn’t alter regardless of drive setting and volume is adjusted accordingly with the right foot.
Held up by traffic on Melbourne’s freeway where there are plenty of tunnels and walls which reverberate the barking exhaust, the Lusso is not short of notes. Press the throttle and the V12 begins an enthusiastic tremble which, at 4250rpm, is howling loud. But there’s still 4000 revs left in the ceiling where the funny bone begins to tickle.
Hitting 8250rpm in second gear on most roads will enter licence-losing territory, so there’s some tact required to enjoy it. But once up there it’s hard not to want to flick the paddle shifter and continue the cacophony. At high speed the Lusso is firmly planted and it’s hard not to get distracted by the glorious, rarefied growl out back.
Hitting 100km/h from a standstill happens in flash which Ferrari claims as just 3.4 seconds – 0.1 second faster than the incoming GTC4 Lusso T. Responsible for shoving the Lusso’s 1790kg weight in a hurry is its V12 producing 507kW of power and 697Nm of torque - 21kW and 14Nm more than the outgoing FF and 58kW more but 63Nm less powerful than its turbocharged twin.
With a 48:52 rear-biased weight distribution the Lusso would seem a handful, but all-wheel drive and four-wheel steering mitigates unruly oversteer. Ferrari’s ‘slide slip control’ does a fair bit too but, catch it off guard from low throttle, and the rear wriggles until the system kicks in.
It does well to control its heft and length in the bends, and although the four-wheel steering can feel a little twitchy, with smoother input at speed the Lusso is quick and upholds the Ferrari name with aplomb.
There’s plenty of grip through the all-wheel drive system and Pirelli P Zero tyres, though treacherously slimy conditions put a stop to too much enthusiasm. All-wheel-drive isn’t permanent either, engaging only in the first four gears when required, not that it would be needed in the upper ratios. Higher gears in the rear-axle mounted seven-speed dual-clutch transmission run in rear-wheel drive and otherwise gear shifts are rapid and willing to engage at any point in the rev range.
Brake performance was equally impressive and the carbon-fibre ceramic brakes wipe off speed just as fast as it comes on. Rounding off practicality is a variable ride height option which is a boon on speed humps and really poor roads.
If you want a Ferrari but need more than two seats the GTC4 Lusso is an offering from the gods.
There are a few other four seat grand touring options to consider at the high end of the market, including the Aston Martin Vanquish and Maserati Granturismo, but if brand loyalty or lust is a thing, then it will be hard to look past this prancing horse.
And the V12 is the one to get before it is too late
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