There’s no mistaking the GTC4Lusso for anything else. It might be an unconventional take on a grand tourer, but it’s a proper Ferrari.
By: Brian Makse
April 5, 2018
Ferrari’s GTC4Lusso is a refreshed and revised version of the FF, which was a groundbreaking grand tourer, especially given that it’s from Maranello. The FF blazed new trails for the Italian marque with its four-seat configuration, shooting brake styling, and all-wheel drive, but that’s just the starting point for the Lusso.
Under the long hood, there’s a 6.3-litre, naturally aspirated V12 that makes a massive six hundred and eighty horsepower at 8,000 rpm. Its peak torque of 514 pounds is made just below 6,000 rpm. That’s a small bump over the FF’s numbers and the V12 retains those classic Ferrari characteristics of peak power and torque way up at the eardrum splitting end of the rev range. What’s interesting is that the entire V12 sits behind the front axle, which gives the Lusso a static weight distribution of 48 percent front, 52 percent rear.
Like the FF, there’s a two-speed gearbox at the front axle – yes, there’s a separate gearbox driving the front wheels – which is engaged while the transaxle is using first through fourth gears. In fifth and above, the front gearbox is disengaged and the Lusso is driven through the rear axle only. The front power transfer unit, as Ferrari calls it, receives a maximum of just twenty percent of available torque.
The seven-speed dual clutch rear transaxle includes an electronically-controlled, limited-slip differential. Between the e-diff and the complex all-wheel drive system, this Ferrari puts its power down like Northern Dancer leaping out of the starting gate.
Even though it weighs in at roughly two metric tonnes, it still posts some massive numbers. Zero to sixty happens in the low threes and it tops out at 335 km/h, and it’s this sort of performance that makes Ferraris so special. Plus, it’s so stable and inspires such confidence that exploring maximum velocity is solely a matter of enough open road (and local legalities).
The Lusso’s carbon ceramic brakes are all around excellent, with colossal stopping power and deliver high fidelity feedback through the pedal. The chassis uses magnetic ride dampers, which is probably the best modern damping solution for managing the body and wheel control of this substantial four seater.
Both the interior and exterior are much better resolved than the FF. Sure, styling is subjective, but this is undoubtedly one of the most attractive and balanced modern Ferrari designs. Where the FF was a bit ungainly from certain angles, the Lusso is refined and a much more cohesive expression of the fundamental design. The Lusso serves as a reminder that, with rare exceptions, a second generation model Ferrari is always better than the first.
Ferrari’s latest steering wheel designs concentrate all of the driver’s controls to the wheel itself. In addition to the start/stop button and the trademark manettino (Ferrari-speak for drive mode selector), you’ll also find intuitive turn signal and wiper controls. Clearly influenced by modern Formula 1 wheels, this design encourages drivers to keep their hands on the wheel. Which is a good thing when one is attempting to harness nearly seven hundred horsepower.
Once you’ve settled behind the wheel, the Lusso lives up to its name. Whether it’s the spaciousness of the cabin, the feel of interior finishes, or the excessive amount of power, this Lusso is sincerely luxurious. The flawless materials and feel of each switch, button, and dial only reinforce the fact that you’re piloting something truly special.
The new infotainment unit has a simple interface and is otherwise well resolved, particularly for a company not known for such systems. The optional 8.8-inch passenger screen is a bit of a novelty and only a company like Ferrari can pull off something like this.
The cabin is positively cavernous, particularly for a Ferrari, with ample space for the driver and front seat passenger. Plus, once in the second row, full-grown adults will find themselves absolutely comfortable in back and will be surprised by the abundance of legroom. Indeed, this second row isn’t reserved just for children. Making the Lusso even more usable are the rear seats that are 50-50 split/folding and, when folded, the total available cargo capacity is a remarkable 800 litres.
As gorgeous as they look, the seats are supportive for everything you could discover within the Lusso’s performance envelope, but they’re unusually firm. The seats’ cushions are so unyielding that they keep the driver and the passengers at full attention, not allowing for much relief. Think church pew rather than relaxed grand tourer, but you’ll be thankful for that additional support after a long drive.
The optional panoramic sunroof contributes to the perceived spaciousness and isn’t a simple slab of glass, but serves to retain heat in cold weather and keeps the cabin cooler in summer by blocking the sun’s rays.
Forward visibility is excellent, however, you can’t see, or even get a sense of, where the long nose ends. As well, with the quick steering ratio and that seating position set so far back in the chassis, it takes practice to time your steering inputs. You’re never quite sure where the front splitter sits and parking maneuvers require caution, lest you scrape the Lusso’s chin on a curb. Rear visibility is compromised when looking through the mirror, but the number one rule of Italian driving applies here, of course.
The Lusso’s rear wheel steering system wasn’t available on the FF and, combined with the car’s enormous power, quick steering, and traction, adds a unique dimension to the driving experience. When in motion, the rear wheels steer out of phase from the fronts, helping this long-wheelbased prancing horse turn easier and feel more responsive, or so the company says.
To a more experienced set of hands, however, this feels artificial. It’s as if you’ve initiated oversteer – which you’re brain can’t rationalize because it knows you’ve not exceeded available grip – and then causes your brain to counter steer, resulting in a corner entry movement that’s clumsy and uncoordinated. Again, it takes practice to feel perfectly at home in the driver’s seat.
Modern Ferraris, like the 488 variants for example, have transmissions known for the immediate shifts, but the Lusso’s seven-speed box is a little less rapid, but perfectly suitable to the car’s character. You’re best to shift the gearbox yourself, as the automatic mode leaves a little to be desired.
Ferrari’s GTC4Lusso is a magnificent modern grand tourer. It’s very quick, crushes road miles, it’s stunning to look at, quiet inside, very composed, wonderfully refined, and all the while making the right sounds. Plus, you and three passengers can be comfortable and the boot will still swallow a modest amount of luggage.
There’s no mistaking the Lusso for anything else. It might be an unconventional take on a grand tourer, but it’s a proper Ferrari.
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