2018 Ferrari GTC4 Lusso review – price, specs and release date
Does the V12-powered Ferrari GTC4 Lusso capture the magic of its maker's badge while offering genuine practicality and comfort on long-distance cruises?...
Priced from £231,310 Release date On sale now
Can Ferrari really do 'practical'? Well, if it can, the GTC4 Lusso is as practical as it currently gets.
The replacement for the FF, the GTC4 Lusso is a three-door, four-seat, continent-crushing luxury coupé with a starting price that will get you a sizeable bit of land in Yorkshire (or a garage in London), setting it way above rivals such as the Aston Martin DB11 and Bentley Continental GT.
There's a choice of two engines: a twin-turbocharged V8, badged GTC4 Lusso T, which drives the rear wheels, or this naturally aspirated V12 that drives all four. We drove the V8 in the UK earlier this year and were very impressed, but this is our first go in the full-fat V12 model in Blighty.
Is it worth the sizeable wedge of cash over the V8? And, stripping away the badge euphoria of the Prancing Horse, how does the car stack up objectively?
2018 Ferrari GTC4 Lusso on the road
It’s likely that a brawny, £240k, V12-engined Ferrari will set your pants on fire at the very thought of what it might sound and drive like. But the reality of getting behind the wheel of the GTC4 Lusso is a little more restrained than you might have imagined.
On start-up, you get a welcoming and tuneful snarl, but there’s a surprising air of modesty to it. The old FF had a monstrously obnoxious start up, capable of awaking anyone within a one-mile radius. So the V12 has clearly been toned down for the GTC4 Lusso, and that, to our ears, is to its credit.
At low speeds, with the automatic gearbox gently shuffling through the gears, the V12 burbles along pleasantly, and with the double-glazed windows closed it’s just as audible as you’d like it to be for relaxed cruising – deep and menacing enough to make you threateningly aware of its presence but not so abrasive as to cause any earache on long journeys.
But Ferrari doesn’t make slow, quiet cars. So, predictably, it doesn’t take a lot of goading to provoke a more aggressive nature out of the GTC4 Lusso. Drop the gearbox down a couple of ratios using the exquisitely crafted paddle shifters (which are, slightly annoyingly, mounted to the steering column rather than the wheel itself, which means changing gear when you have some lock on can result in you fumbling around trying to find the paddle), plant your right foot and you’ll bring the engine to life.
The initial burst of acceleration is very measured rather than overwhelming, but what’s most impressive is the sheer relentlessness of the acceleration as you chase the rev limiter. The slight disappointment of a shortage of low-end shove is tempered by an exhilarating top end.
The engine is missing an initial bite at low revs because it makes 'only' 514lb ft of torque . In most other contexts that’s a lot, but when we’re talking about a 681bhp Ferrari, it does feel slightly meeker than perhaps it should. Don’t get us wrong, though – it's still chuffing quick.
You need to get the engine spinning beyond 5750rpm to access all of that torque. Once you get to that magic number, you're rewarded with astonishing throttle response, a truly guttural engine note and brutal acceleration. If you go hell-for-leather and ram down your right foot with a large open stretch of Autobahn ahead of you, the GTC4 Lusso will carry on to more than 200mph. Even with its relatively modest reserves of torque, the V12 is a magnificent, characterful engine that will slap a beaming smile across anyone’s face.
The GTC4 Lusso is a big, heavy car though; at 1920kg, it’s as porky as some versions of the tech-laden Audi A8 limousine. But such is the sophistication of the quick steering set-up and supple chassis of the Ferrari that it feels remarkably nimble and agile, with masses of grip available. Steering inputs are very sharp, if not quite so sharp as the V8 model's, with a lot of that enhanced by the four-wheel steering set up that helps it feel stable at high speeds and makes it easier to manoeuvre at low speeds.
The GTC4 Lusso has an extremely long wheelbase, with the distance between the front and rear wheels measuring 2990mm – a space almost large enough for two Kia Picantos to drive through side by side. This helps give the GTC4 Lusso a very composed and stable ride at all speeds, and the suspension does a brilliant job of soaking up imperfections in rough roads. There’s also a 'bumpy road' setting in Sport mode that softens the ride, making it comfortable even over scruffy B-roads. In any setting, you can happily storm through the miles hour after hour in comfort. The only irritation in its mile-crunching ability is the road roar you hear inside, which gets a bit tiresome.
The GTC4 Lusso automatic gearbox has seven speeds, and when you’re in Comfort mode it very gently and quickly shifts you through the ratios. If you want to properly boot it when you’re on the move, though, it doesn’t kick down enough gears to make the acceleration feel as snappy as you’d want it to. Put it in manual mode, however, and the shifts will be as quick as you'd possibly want them to be.
2018 Ferrari GTC4 Lusso interior
There’s no doubting that you’re in a Ferrari. There’s a stench of luxury as you survey the interior, from the wonderful hand-stitched leather wrapped around everything in sight to the beautifully supportive seats and crisp font used for the numbers on the rev counter. And, naturally, you’re never too far from some Ferrari branding, wherever you look.
But the interior is not without its disappointments. All of the buttons and dials are angled slightly towards the driver, making everything within easy reach while you're driving. But the problem is that when you actually use any of those buttons or dials, you soon realise the quality of materials used for them is quite some way below what you’d expect in a car that costs as much as a house. The knobs and switches wobble in a way that you wouldn’t find in a Bentley or German prestige car. Indeed, we’d go so far to say it would be disappointing in a mid-range small hatchback.
The GTC4 Lusso's dashboard is centered around a new 10.3in infotainment touchscreen, which is usefully responsive and has sharp graphics. Admittedly, the system still isn't a patch on the usability of BMW’s iDrive, and it has a slightly confusing number of menus and sub-menus. But this is at least a decent step forward for Ferrari interiors ergonomically – they've disappointed in this respect in the past.
There’s also an optional extra that allows an additional widescreen touchscreen panel on the passenger’s side of the dashboard, above the glovebox, which lets them operate some settings and see the performance dials. A gimmick? Yes. Quite fun? Also yes. At £3360 it’s not cheap, but then nothing on a Ferrari options list will strike you as particularly good value. Step forwards Apple CarPlay – it's standard on a Hyundai i20, but if you want it fitted on your GTC4 Lusso it’ll set you back a laughable £2400.
Space-wise, the GTC4 Lusso impresses. There’s acres of room up front, while in the rear (once you’ve squeezed in behind the front seats) it’s surprisingly spacious for adults, with the panoramic glass roof (£11,520, sir) actually allowing a good amount of head room. Adults won’t be comfortable on especially long journeys, but it’s still very useful having the option of those seats – and they have Isofix mounts for child seats, too.
The boot brings more good news. There’s a big raised step in its floor, but even still it has a capacity of 450 litres, which is more than in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupé and considerably more than in the DB11. Even with the slightly awkward floor, we managed to fit five carry-on suitcases into the GTC4 Lusso's boot. If you want even more space, you can fold down the rear seats to almost double the available space.