Car reviews - Ferrari - GTC4Lusso
Superlative engine and performance, epic breadth of dynamic talent, superbly comfortable and quiet, lush four-seat cabin
Room for improvement
Extraordinary options list, small boot volume, mid-engined Ferraris purer yet more compromised
28 Jun 2017
SOME could question the purpose of the Ferrari GTC4Lusso.
Surely if buyers want a spacious vehicle with some sportiness, there are plenty of premium SUV models on offer and if someone is wealthy enough to afford one, then there is probably a two-seat sportscar in the garage as well (and Ferrari’s own 488 GTB comes more than highly recommended).
We do not want to use the word compromise here, especially for a vehicle of this price. But at least the GTC4Lusso now gets off to a solid start in the looks department.
At the front the smiley jawline of the FF has been straightened and widened for a more serious fascia. The side-view of this three-door ‘breadvan’ or ‘shooting brake’ remains, which means a Holden Caprice-rivalling wheelbase but with an enormous dash-to-axle ratio that, amazingly, leaves 12 cylinders sitting behind the front-axle line. Plus a very short rear overhang, to boot. That end now returns to quad tail-lights, matching the exhaust count, and with an integrated rear lip spoiler.
The electrically operated bootlid opens to reveal a small hatchback-sized compartment, and likewise rear legroom falls right on the line between too tight and just roomy enough. But comfort is about more than space, and this is a proper touring four-seater with the duo of rear pews being heavily tilted and lushly padded bucket items that engulf the back and thighs. Complete with air-vents and plenty of headroom, the GTC4Lusso is more than the sum of its millimetres back there.
Entry through the long, pillarless doors likewise is not as low and tight as that of a 488 GTB, which some might struggle to enter gracefully after a night at the opera. But it is also nowhere near as lofty and broad as that of an SUV.
The front seats’ auto tilt-and-slide function helps, however.
When appropriately – read highly – specified this Ferrari is a properly high-end and beautifully finished place to be. The new 10.25-inch touchscreen mostly works seamlessly, although some of the graphics are still not quite as premium as the elements surrounding them.
Teamed with the colour passenger display screen ($9500), carbon-fibre steering wheel ($13,000), the quilted leather trim ($9000) and the premium audio ($10,450) all present on our test car, and such options really do stand this Ferrari apart from rivals. It feels as rich and special as it should.
Call them a fine complement to the 6.3-litre naturally aspirated V12 engine, which is one of the great masterpieces of our time. Although its 697Nm is produced at 5750rpm, 80 per cent of torque is available from 1750rpm. And 556Nm from above idle helps this 1920kg three-door purr along in traffic, aided by a smooth seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, and light but ultra-direct steering.
The adaptive suspension, with only standard or ‘bumpy road’ mode, deals with low-profile 20-inch tyres and road imperfections with astonishing ease, and even coarse-chip road roar is low. These are not only luxury SUV traits, but the GTC4Lusso appears to better the best of them.
Its effortlessness around town means a driver could be forgiven for forgetting that this engine also delivers 507kW at 8000rpm. Despite the reciprocating mass of a dozen pistons, the V12 spins with sports bike-esque speed. Its rich timbre and sheer thrust also humbles the near-two-tonne kerb mass.
Yet for what might seem an incredibly complex machine, this Ferrari creates little fuss for its driver. Beyond a simple steering wheel-mounted button for the suspension’s ‘bumpy road’ mode – which actually makes little difference to the superb standard ride quality – there is a dial for Wet, Comfort, Sport and ESC Off modes. Likewise, Sport could be left forever engaged and things would be fine.
The steering is always flawless in its sharp yet progressive responses. The way the dual-clutch detects calm or hard driving, and is then able to instantly respond, also makes mockery of the multi-mode plague delivered by most other brands. The auto could be relaxed in seventh at one moment, and then swiftly charging back through the gears and thrusting the engine into the red zone the next.
Ferrari’s Slip Slide Control traction system now gets another S added to its name, for four-wheel steering. Through corners the Lusso’s agility transcends its size, and the fact so many cylinders are laid out ahead of the driver. The 4RM Evo four-wheel drive system endows the GTC4 with a rear-driven feel, but with front traction that can claw out the best the V12 has to deliver in tight bends.
The way the GTC4Lusso can sling itself from low-speed turns with jetfighter-like thrust, while ensuring the body remains almost entirely flat, is the stuff of which two-seat sportscar legends are made not relatively luxurious and quiet four-seaters.
Tension, indeed. After more than 350km from town to country in this Ferrari, it vividly highlights what a $600,000-to-$800,000 vehicle can offer.
In no way does a breadth of ability here hinder one aspect or trade away another. Quite possibly a mid-engined 488 GTB has the more ‘pure’ and lithe dynamics, but a V12 with a brilliant all-wheel drive system does not leave room for complaint. Staggering speed and cornering aggression, teamed with cabin indulgence and urban insouciance, really does create an exciting tension to be savoured.
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