Designing a new Ferrari is never an easy task but coming up with a replacement for the FF must have been especially taxing. Why? Because it has to satisfy the demands of the brand’s most discerning clientele. Not only do they expect Ferrari’s trademark blistering performance, but they also want a car that can comfortably house four adults plus their luggage while still being head-turningly stunning.
Thankfully, the GTC4Lusso ticks all of these boxes. It’s frighteningly quick (0 to 100km/h in 3.4 seconds), unexpectedly practical (800 litres of luggage space) and seductively stylish (unlike its predecessor whose design was sometimes unflatteringly compared to that of a bread van). Under the bonnet it’s Ferrari’s most technologically advanced car yet, with four-wheel drive, four-wheel steering and slip-slide control.
Inside it’s an oasis of hand-stitched caramel leather and beautifully crafted black and silver switchgear. There’s a new 26-centimetre touch-sensitive multi-function display plus an optional HD passenger screen with stats including the G-forces while cornering. The wraparound front seats are reassuringly supportive but the biggest surprise is the accommodation in the back. So often the rear seats of a supercar are a cramped and claustrophobic prospect for anyone taller than an Ewok. The GTC4Lusso, on the other hand, can accommodate two full-sized grown-ups with lavish amounts of headroom and leg space. There are even cup holders.
So on paper, at least, it would seem that Ferrari has achieved the impossible – built a car that’s as happy delivering the kids to school as it is roaring up a snowy mountain pass or hurtling down a German autobahn. But what’s it like to drive?
Push the red starter button and the 6.3-litre naturally aspirated V12 engine fires up with a reassuring bark. Leave the seven-speed dual clutch gearbox in automatic and the car in “comfort” mode and it drives like a family sedan. The ride is refined, easily absorbing bumps and ruts, there’s minimal road noise and, thanks to a two-stage exhaust, there’s nothing more than a background purr from the engine.
Drop the kids off, change the gearbox to manual and flick the car into “sport” mode and things get interesting. Eighty per cent of the engine’s torque is available below 2000 rpm so even a tentative tap on the accelerator sends you hurtling towards the horizon with the ferocity of a slingshot. The car’s advanced four-wheel drive and four-wheel steering systems dynamically send power to the wheels that need it giving the GTC4Lusso an agility and cornering prowess that belies its 1920kg kerb weight.
At higher revs the exhaust note changes too. Gone is the don’t-wake-the-neighbours muted gurgle, replaced by an all-out bellow that rises into a glorious banshee-like scream at 8000 rpm.
As for the design, the GTC4Lusso looks lower, wider and more muscular than the FF. The “shooting brake” rounded rear is still there but the overall package is sexier and sportier than its predecessor with more of that head-turning appeal that’s such an important part of Ferrari’s DNA.
In summary, Ferrari has succeeded in creating the brand’s most versatile car yet – a family-friendly grand tourer with 458 Italia-like performance that’s as comfortable delivering four people to the golf course as it is on the race track. Bravo.