The arrival of the new Ferrari GTC4Lusso has changed the sporty four-seater four-wheel drive Grand Tourer concept forever. The GTC4Lusso’s name references illustrious predecessors, such as the 330 GTC or its 2+2 sister model, the 330 GT – one of Enzo Ferrari’s favourites – and the 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso, which represented a sublime combination of elegance and high performance. The number 4 alludes to the car’s four comfortable seats.
The Ferrari FF is a monster, a four-wheel-drive bread van with a 6.3-liter V12 that people like us have adored since it arrived in 2011. It’s great to drive and better to look at, a shooting brake with more power, less practicality, and a higher price tag than pretty much anything else in this shape. Ferrari has sold almost 6,000 of them, handily beating its target of 800 per year. It was a success by any measure.
Its replacement, the GTC4Lusso, might sound like something out of Ferrari’s mad, bad Sixties brochures, but under the skin is pretty much the same aluminum-alloy space frame of the FF. Ferrari has carefully listened to its critics on practicality, price, and power, and duly made the GTC more powerful, pricier, and not much more practical.
There have been some slight stylistic adjustments. A scallop was cut into the front fender and door skins to reduce the visual weight, and the roofline has been extended, terminating in a slight spoiler at the waist, which is said to improve aerodynamic efficiency by up to six percent. It looks sharp and mean on its 20-inch five-spoke alloys, although some of the detail, such as the wing vents and the absurdly long hood, verge on the cartoonish.
The engine drives a rear-mounted, seven-speed, twin-clutch transaxle and then there is that extraordinary four-wheel-drive system, which consists of a simple, helical-cut, hydraulically controlled gearbox running off the front of the crankshaft. It weighs 100 pounds and has two speeds plus reverse and a couple of Haldex-type clutches to activate each wheel when required in first to fourth gears and at speeds below 124 mph. New for the GTC is a ZF rear-steering system, a ram powered by an electric motor that pushes the rear suspension against its bushings to give a couple of degrees steering in either direction. Driving these systems, together with the F1 electronic rear differential, electronic stability system, magnetorheological adjustable dampers, and the torque vectoring, is handled by Ferrari’s fourth-generation side-slip-control system. It’s a mighty task of calibration and we’ll come back to this, but the system is designed to improve the car’s stability and agility from fast to slow speeds on bone dry or icy road surfaces. Ferrari claims a five percent improvement in responsiveness (the reduction in steering delay) and an eight percent improvement in agility (the reduction in steering response).