Getting the Ferrari GTC4 Lusso’s rubber down
Inside? Very nice. Plush. And when you fire up the GTC4, although it makes a rich noise, it doesn’t make a deafening one. This is, for a car of this type, a good thing. It has a supercar engine, but straight away the modest noise that it makes suggests it knows its place.
Other signs are strong, too. The seats are comfortable, the driving position good, visibility decent – you can’t see the end of the bonnet and the rear window is small, but the GTC4 feels quite usable. You still have to think twice about kerbs and grounding it over harsh speed bumps and such, but, hey – it is, after all, a Ferrari.
In case you forget it’s a Ferrari (unlikely, given the number of prancing horses with which the company adorns the car), the engines will remind you. Oh, sure, it mooches around amenably enough at low speeds, at which point the gearbox shuffles ratios cleanly and smoothly and the ride is fairly composed.
But this is an engine that ‘only’ makes 514lb ft of torque and makes it at 5750rpm (yes, that’s a lot, but not in the context of 680bhp at 8000rpm). If you want to make progress, in other words, you will have to exercise your right boot.
Do so and the noise hardens, the response quickens and the whole 1920kg caboodle finally takes off. Throttle response at any revs is good, but the strength of acceleration just grows and grows as you wind around the rev counter. Upshifts feel instant and downshifts are nicely brapped if you’ve got revs wound on and you’re braking hard (the limits of the standard carbon-ceramics are unapproachable on the road) but muted if you’re driving more slowly.
That’s something the GTC4 remains good at, too, by the way. Adaptive dampers mean the ride/handling balance is always a good one. I can’t think of a road situation when you’d really want the dampers in their Sport setting, but even if you put the drivetrain into Sport, you can push the dampers back into a softer ‘bumpy road’ setting.
The steering is pretty good. Ferraris steer quickly, as a rule, which can make some feel too lively, but the GTC4’s measures around 2.2 turns lock-to-lock, and it’s stable at speed yet responsive on turn-in. Doubtless the rear-steer helps in both of those situations, but you don’t really notice it working, unlike in the massively aggressive F12tdf on which the system made its debut.
Here it’s honed and more suited to giving a bit more agility on turn-in yet a bit more stability on the highway.
And that’s how these systems should work: unidentifiably. I wonder if you sometimes can feel the four-wheel drive system shuffling things, and the steering tugging a bit in response, but I’d want a more thorough handling test than our drive allowed to be sure of its extreme handling.
Does the GTC4 Lusso live up to the Ferrari name?
Could I honestly sit here and say to you that what you really need is a four-seat pseudo-estate car that doesn’t have back doors, has a smallish boot by the standards of things and has a supercar engine that will return you 350g/km of CO2? No, of course not (the V8 version produces a mere 265g/km).
Especially bearing in mind that it costs nearly a quarter of a million quid before you’ve even put an option on it – and you will, which would take the price towards twice as much as a Bentley Continental GT or an Aston Martin DB11. It is not twice as good as either.