Ferrari’s GTC4 Lusso replaced the FF a couple of years ago. In a series of very amusing events, it has taken me this long to get a hold of one. I specifically wanted the twin-turbo rear-wheel drive Lusso T because I suspected it would be brilliant.
The Ferrari FF was a special kind of Ferrari. Twelve screaming cylinders, all-wheel drive, a cabin you can fit four people in and, for some reason that will never make sense to me, a boot that fits golf clubs. Mostly because I can’t imagine why anyone would play golf, but there you are.
The GTC4 came along (all new, said Ferrari) and looked a lot like the FF. But with a new name came a new model – the
Words: Peter Anderson
Images: Rhys Vandersyde
Look and Feel
We’ve gone for dark and moody with this night photoshoot because my goodness, this car looks great under lights. I’ve heard all the complaints about the FF/GTC4. It looks like a
There is so much Ferrari DNA in this car it hurts. Functional shooting brake design (you think the rest of them look the way they do purely for styling? Please), muscular rear end, stacked headlights, wide air intakes. I genuinely love it in the way I don’t adore the Portofino (although it is pretty). It looks special without screaming about it.
I also love this body style – I’m that weirdo who didn’t mind the Z3 M and Z4 M Coupes. Arrest me.
The cabin is lovely, certainly lovelier than the FF’s. It feels a lot more designed and feels unique to the GTC4. Sensible places to put things, cupholders (gasp!), a good size glovebox to go with the almost-usable boot. The central media screen that means you don’t have to faff about with dials while you try and activate Apple CarPlay the way you do in a 488.
Also, the FF I drove had this dreadful tartan interior, so I might just be coloured (I am not sorry) by that.
Ferrari’s F154 V8 lives under that long bonnet. It’s a lonely existence in an engine bay created for the much bulkier V12. A good number of the cylinders actually live the other side of the windscreen. It looks great.
In the Lusso T, the 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 rustles up 449 kW (610PS) and 760Nm between 3000rpm and 5250rpm. As in the 488 and Portofino, maximum torque is limited by Ferrari’s clever torque management system that ensures the longevity of its seven-speed twin-clutch Getrag gearbox.
People say the engine is quite different in the Lusso T than the other cars, but I disagree. I think the reality is that the exhaust is a long way back and you don’t hear it as well. It’s still amazingly drivable for such a high powered, turbo, with so little lag it’s virtually absent.
Ferrari says the Lusso T will crack 100km/h (62mph) in 3.5 seconds and go on to a top speed of 320km/h (199mph).
|GTC4 Lusso T||3.9-litre F154 twin-turbo V8, seven-speed twin-clutch, rear-wheel drive||449kW (610PS)||760Nm @ 3000-5250rpm||3.5 seconds|
|GTC4 Lusso||6.3-litre F140 naturally-aspirated V12, seven-speed twin-clutch, all-wheel drive||507 kW (690PS)||700Nm @ 5750rpm||3.4 seconds|
Lots of lovely aluminium has gone into the GTC4’s chassis and if you look close enough, there’s probably a lot of the f12 berlinetta/812 Superfast underneath. When you pop the massive bonnet you could be looking at either of these cars. Except if you pop the cover at the front, you’ll notice it’s missing *counts on fingers* four cylinders, so there is a lot of open space.
There is a lot of technology, too. Magnaride adaptive damping, four-wheel steer, Side-slip Control 4, Ferrari’s e-diff and a whopping set of carbon ceramic discs.
This GTC4 ran on 20-inch chrome painted forged alloys (optional) that look a lot better than they sound. They’re not some fully sick chromed wheel, they’re just a very bright silver. The usual Pirelli P Zeros are along for the ride, with 245/35s at the front and 295/35s (!) at the rear.
The carbon ceramics are 398mm at the front and 360mm at the rear. I think that makes the brakes the biggest I’ve ever used, along with the 812 Superfast.
Another weight-saving measure is the very clever (and appropriately loud) ceramic exhaust system. This car had the optional black ceramic exhaust which looked amazing.
Like the Portofino, the GTC4 has the simplified manettino on the steering wheel, offering Ice, Wet, Comfort, Sport, ESC off.
Is it any good with a V8?
I’m no stranger to V8 twin-turbo Ferraris. I’ve been very lucky to drive the 488 GTB, 488 Spider, the California T and the Portofino. It is a brilliant engine. Refined, torquey and it revs as though those two turbos aren’t even there. It shouldn’t do it, but it does because Ferrari put in an absolute truckload of work to reduce the lag.
Much of the credit goes to the very clever electronic wastegate control on the F154. That control does a few jobs, the most prominent of which is controlling the delivery of 760Nm of torque. As with the 488 and Portofino, you can’t have all of that number until seventh gear.
Ferrari has long acknowledged that the turbo doesn’t respond as quickly as the naturally-aspirated V8 or V12, but claims it has reduced the gap over the years.
The V8 is smooth and powerful and even with an exhaust pipe a long way behind your ears, it sounds fantastic. It still revs to a very impressive .
The driving position in the GTC4 is terrific. Because you have a lot of extra glass to around you and you sit maybe a touch higher than the 812, you get a very good view around you. The reversing camera weirdly useless because it’s mounted in the fog light assembly, but it doesn’t matter.
The seats are, of course, wonderful and there’s plenty of adjustment to ensure you’re comfortable. It’s surprising how much space there is for rear passengers, too. Three of us piled in – one insisting that he sit in the back so he could tell people all about it. We’re all about the same height, just under six foot tall and we were all comfortable. Like, two or three hour trip comfortable. That’s quite a feat, because when you look at the space for rear passengers, it doesn’t look pleasant. Contrast that with the Portofino’s tiny rear seats and the clever shape of the GTC4’s, you soon realise how it works.
Obviously, being tall is not going to be great back there.
As with all Ferrari’s there’s a big red button on the steering wheel to fire up. And fire up it does, with a flourish before settling into a busy idle. One of the things I really like about Ferraris is how drivable they are all the time. Some twin clutch transmission equipped cars are deeply unpleasant when cold. Some big meat twin-turbo V8s with a lot of torque get really shunty as the high warm-up idle clunks against the clutch.
Dispense with the silliness of driving in Comfort. Leave it in Sport and enjoy the sharp throttle response and the well-weighted steering. If you don’t like the ride, hit the Bumpy Road button and let it all smooth out.
The GTC4 is lovely around town. The low down torque and easy feel of the long wheelbase means it rides happily and with four-wheel steer is ludicrously manoeuvrable for a car of its length, 4922mm (193.8-inches). That’s just a touch shorter than an Alpina B5. Or just a few centimetres shorter than a Mazda CX-9 seven-seater. It’s longer than a Honda CR-V.
Don’t be afraid to get on it, though. The four-wheel steering turns this car into right animal, along with the more purist rear-wheel drive. Fire it at a corner, even if it’s bumpy and messy, the long nose swings in like a much lighter and smaller car.
You can be fairly brutal on the throttle on the way out, too. Between the huge rubber, e-diff and steering, it will swing a bit and then settle down, getting on with the business of getting you out of the corner.
High speed stability is also amazing, with a planted high-speed lane change behaviour as well as unbelievable grip in long sweepers. It really does everything and it does it while still managing to be comfortable.
And it does it while being a Ferrari.
But you know what else it does? It won’t draw the wrong kind of attention. Nobody really knows what it is – at least in Australia – and so will leave you be. You can park it wherever you want (within reason) and like an Audi R8, it will only get the attention of people who know their cars.
Well of course. It’s not an 812 Superfast, it won’t scare you or tear strips out of the road. It’s also not for those who really need the all-wheel drive capability if you’re one of those well-heeled types who takes their Ferrari to the snow or, heaven forbid, on gravel.
While I personally would find it difficult to own a 488 or 812, the choice for me would be tricky between a GTC4 Lusso T and the Portofino. And I think, ultimately, it would fall in favour of the Lusso T.
Peter Anderson is the Editor and founder of the theredline.com.au. He’s been writing about cars for years and finds it difficult to talk about anything else.