The GTC4Lusso T, successor to the spectacular yet ultimately flawed FF, is Ferrari’s first foray into the V8-engine sports GT market, and one of the latest to be inducted into Maranello’s slightly confusing new spacebar-phobic naming regime.
Much like its predecessor, the GTC4 Lusso’s styling has proved somewhat decisive. Trying to make a commodiously proportion vehicle attractive is no easy feat, a bit like trying to shoehorn a rotund Munich beer hall bardame into a cocktail dress. However, in my eyes, at least, Ferrari has somehow managed to pull it off. Although it may be unlikely to win favour amongst the most die-hard purists, I think there’s something rather evocative about its unconventional, shooting brake-esque silhouette. Whether you agree or not, it’s hard to argue its ability to evoke the sort of reactions usually reserved for the most raucous, luridly-styled supercars. Its ability to do so is a testament to its mass-defying aesthetic appeal.
As one would expect, the cabin materials are exquisite. Soft, waxy hides adorn almost every surface, and each detail, from the jet-thruster-inspired, titanium-edged air vents to the sizeable central rev-counter is just pure Ferrari theatre. Our test vehicle was fitted with the optional digital passenger display, one of the many features on the GTC4Lusso which indicate a shift from the usual driver-centric focus of Ferrari supercars. The infotainment system is refreshingly intuitive, and the Apple Car Play functionality works seamlessly, albeit a £2,500 option.
With the trademark Manettino set to ‘comfort’ and the Lusso T’s 7-speed, dual-clutch transmission left in auto, I pulled out of Ferrari North Europe and onto the M40. On the motorway, the Lusso T is so refined and civilised, it’s only the occasional visceral bark from its quad tailpipes and the odd smartphone-wielding passer-by that reminds you of the significance of what you’re driving. Even in sport mode, the ability to soften-off the dampers makes the Lusso T no more unmanageable or uncomfortable than an executive saloon.
Above 3000RPM, it takes little provocation for the Lusso T to unleash all its monolithic 760NM of torque. The twin-turbocharged V8 isn’t as sonorous as the V12 – however, the way it delivers its power is nothing short of sensational. Underload, it covers ground at an astounding rate, turning a sneeze or a brief glance at the infotainment system into a death-defying game of Russian Roulette. The throttle response with the twin-scroll turbochargers is crisp and immediate, allowing you to properly exercise the impressively proficient torque vectoring electronic differential.
The Lusso T incorporates the same four-wheel steer system featured on its larger-engined sibling. However, unlike its four-wheel drive V12 stablemate, the V8′s power is sent exclusively to the rear wheels. Unencumbered by the task of providing drive – and due in part to the Lusso T’s lighter, more rear-bias weight distribution – front axle grip is excellent, and initial turn-in feels accurate and highly responsive. The electronic power steering is fast and precise, if not slightly devoid of feel. Also notable amongst the vast multitude of electronic systems is the Magnaride damper control, which does a great job of keeping the car composed and controlled under hard cornering, while the 3.9 litre V8 is deliberately mounted low down in the chassis in order to help further improve the dynamic capabilities of the Lusso T.
There’s a certain enjoyment derived from wringing-out a 600hp Ferrari, only to glance in the rearview mirror and see two gleeful passengers grinning inanely behind you. Over the course of four days, I covered 800 miles, consisting of an airport run, a weekly food shop and many, many miles exploring the countless windy b-roads in and around the Cotswolds. The road test culminated in a day’s filming at Cotswold Airport, fully-loaded with three grown men and travel cases full of camera gear. Believe me when I say that this is a genuine four-seater, with a boot, not some pseudo 2+2 with barely enough space for a weekend bag. As mile after mile passed, I could feel the Lusso T moulding to me like a comfy, familiar – £250,000 – sweater. It’s calm and civilised when you want it to be, and a noisy two-fingered salute to conformity when you don’t. It seamlessly embraces both distinctly different sets of characteristics, instantly changing between the two with a simple twist of the Manettino. On Monday, filming ran on a little longer than expected, a mad dash against the clock back to Ferrari HQ gave me a chance to partially test the Lusso T’s continent-crossing capabilities. With minutes to spare, having handled rush hour traffic and a very soggy M4 with complete ease, I removed the hastily packed camera gear and reluctantly handed the keys back to a relieved-looking PR manager.
The Lusso T’s intoxicating performance, versatility and day-to-day usability are all impressive qualities. However, above all else, it’s the overwhelming sense that you are driving something truly special, the product of a marque that’s spent the past 70 years honing and perfecting a formula; a formula which has produced some of the finest, most desirable motor vehicles ever. A marque so unashamedly focused on the relentless pursuit to create ever more evocative cars. Despite its practical credentials, you still get a real sense of that quintessential Ferrari theatre with the Lusso T, and the passion which has gone into its creation. That’s why you buy a Ferrari, and that’s why I’d choose a GTC4Lusso T over the raft of other super sports GT cars currently on sale. It’s not merely just a means of transportation – it’s an event.