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.