What Car? says...
Ever since the introduction of the 250 GT/E back in 1960, Ferrari has prided itself on offering the finest front-engined four-seat GT cars on the market; even Enzo himself famously preferred these practical tourers over their two-seat counterparts.
And yet, until the FF arrived to replace the 612 Scaglietti, Ferrari had never offered a four-wheel-drive GT – a move that immediately marked the FF out as the technological tour de force in the Ferrari range.
Indeed, it’s a role that the updated FF, now renamed GTC4 Lusso, still serves today. Featuring four-wheel steering from the limited-run F12tdf and – for the first time in Ferrari’s history – a choice of two engines, the GTC4 is arguably the most interesting car in Ferrari’s limited line-up, but also one of the most confusing.
So to find out which GTC4 is for you, read on for our full in-depth lowdown.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Despite having four fewer cylinders and two fewer driven wheels than the V12-engined Lusso, the Lusso T is only a tenth of a second slower in the 0-62mph sprint, taking just 3.5sec. And with twin-scroll turbochargers, the Lusso T’s V8 has significantly more low-down grunt than its V12 sibling, so in most everyday situations the ‘entry-level’ car actually feels quicker.
Turbo lag is also virtually nonexistent and, as long as you’ve nudged the seven-speed paddle-shift gearbox into manual mode (it’s a big laggy if left in auto), it takes very little effort to maintain a serious pace. In fact, as a long-distance cruiser or day-to-day commuter, the Lusso T is not only better than the Lusso, but it also gives our current favourite GT, the Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo, a serious run for its money.
But you have to ask: should a Ferrari be judged on usability alone? We certainly don’t think so, and that’s where the Lusso T begins to struggle. You see, as a pure spectacle, the turbocharged V8 lacks the red-blooded drama expected of a car from Maranello. Not only does it struggle vocally – its engine note strangled by acres of turbocharged plumbing – but it’s also all too easy to run into its conservative 7,500rpm limiter. Perhaps an extra 500rpm would help give the V8 more of a spine-tingling crescendo, but we doubt it would ever reach the lofty heights of the mighty V12 soprano.
Where the Lusso T does score back some serious points, however, is in the corners. By ditching the four-wheel drive system of the V12 car and installing a lighter and more compact engine, the Lusso T benefits from a more favourable (46/54) weight distribution. Lightning-quick steering delivers stunning precision on the way in to corners and, despite weighing 1.8 tonnes, there is virtually no front-end push. Grip from the rear end is less secure – especially if you exercise your right foot – but, thanks to a lengthy wheelbase and a wonderfully innate chassis balance, it’s laughably easy to hold the Lusso T in long, controlled slides.
And if the idea of that scares you, do not fear. As usual, there’s a Manettino switch on the steering wheel that allows you to pick the right mode for the conditions, ranging from Ice, Rain, Comfort and Sport, all the way to ESC Off. But our favourite button on the densely packed steering wheel remains the one that activates Bumpy Road mode. Stab it and the suspension is softened, enabling the car to do a remarkable job of smoothing out the battered bitumen beneath you. Does it provide Rolls-Royce levels of compliance? Not quite, but it’s softer than an Aston Martin DB11 V8 and yet still manages to be a sharper thing to drive. That’s no small feat.
The interior layout, fit and finish
The driving position is as good as other Ferrari cars and there's surprisingly good visibility too. The GTC4’s dash is a lavish mix of hand-stitched full-grain leather panels, banks of bull’s-eye air vents and a Formula 1-inspired flat-bottom steering wheel. Add to that rocker switches for the indicators and wipers, a five-position Manettino dial to control all manner of electronic intervention and a stunning panoramic roof, and you have one of the most luxurious interiors on the market.
And then there’s the new 10.3in infotainment screen. Pin-sharp and neatly integrated, it’s far easier to use than the IRIS system in the McLaren 570GT. But the best bit is surely on the passenger’s side, where Ferrari’s system is augmented by a wide touchscreen panel so that the passenger can operate the settings, too. Very cool.
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
Ferrari is clearly marketing the GTC4 as a practical everyday supercar. There’s a surprising amount of space in the back, with plenty of head and leg room for average-sized adults (even with the optional panoramic roof fitted), plus there is a 450-litre boot with split-folding rear seats.
That said, it’s worth nothing that, despite being wide and easy to access, the boot is far from flat and has clearly been designed for bespoke fitted luggage (which you can purchase from Ferrari as a rather expensive option). So if you’re planning to travel four up to St Moritz, it might be worth sending your luggage ahead.
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Even the ‘entry-level’ Lusso T costs around £200,000, and it’s easy to push that price over £250,000 once you’ve added a few options. So why wouldn’t you just go for the V12, I hear you ask? Well, it depends entirely on circumstance. If you live in a rural area or frequently travel to ski resorts, then the added traction of the four-wheel-drive Lusso is a real boon. And there’s also the fact that the 12-cylinder engine in the Lusso brings a whole heap of drama and aural appeal to the driving experience that, in a Ferrari, is really rather important.
However, for those who plan to drive their GTC4 on long distances – and why wouldn’t you? – it’s hard to ignore the fuel economy benefits that the V8 brings (24.8mpg versus the V12’s 18.8mpg). Now, that may not look a lot on paper, but factor in the 91-litre petrol tank and that’s a range increase of around 30%. In our book, that’s a serious win for the Lusso T.
Not that we’re trying to convince you that a four-seat, 200mph Ferrari is a sensible purchase. It isn’t. But it’s also important to recognise that the Lamborghini Huracán and McLaren 570GT are similarly expensive to buy and run, and neither has quite the same cache or surprising levels of practicality.
The GTC4 is also very well equipped, including as standard a full leather interior, dual-zone climate control, powered seats, bi-xenon lights with wipers, heated door mirrors, satellite navigation and Bluetooth. That said, it stings somewhat that Apple CarPlay is an eye-wateringly expensive option, especially when it comes as standard on most mid-level hatchbacks.
Ultimately, the GTC4 is a unique proposition in the supercar world and, for that, it should be praised.
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