This was the FF. For five years it was the FF and now it’s the GTC4 Lusso, a name that doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue. So why the name change? In reality you could argue that a name change implies more differences than there actually are, but, whatever the changes, this is still a car with a rather unusual set of qualities.
You could say it’s a four-seater sort of estate car with four-wheel drive. That makes it sound a touch normal. But add in a 6.3-litre V12 making 680bhp (compared to the FF’s 651bhp) and you have a machine which, as the security forces would put it, is of interest.
Compared to the FF there are some minor changes to the bodywork and lighting, but the main body changes are at the front where it all looks more aggressive. This is the case but it’s brought about by the need for more cooling to get to that uprated V12.
In a world which is shifting over to smaller, turbocharged petrol engines for even the mightiest of hypercars, a four-seater with a strange rear and 4x4 ability to have such an old-school monster of an engine in the rear is deeply refreshing. You just can’t argue with 680bhp. Note though that maximum power is at 8000rpm. Oh yes, you’re going to be indulging in spine-tingling runs up the rev range. And note too the torque. Not the fact that it’s 514lb ft but that it is made at 5750rpm, which is where some cars’ redlines appear.
In some Ferraris that would mean the sort of howling wail that would make you stop talking in the cabin. But this is a sort of grand tourer for four, so the noise is most definitely there but more muted than you might imagine. It sounds magnificent, just magnificent, even more so in a world where even Porsches are losing cylinders and capacity thanks to the turbo.
The cabin is equally grand. The new infotainment system is very classy and works rather well, and there’s another touchscreen in front of the passenger should they somehow become bored by the whole experience. Those in the rear really do get two seats with decent head and legroom so the GT concept is backed up by reality. The boot is a decent size but since most owners’ luggage will consist of a Black Card from American Express it probably won’t get much use.
The drive system is extremely complex and reverts to two-wheel drive at higher speeds, but the bottom line is it gets power down and grips like a limpet that feels it still has much to achieve in life. Bearing in mind where max power and torque come in, you can indeed doodle about the place on a whiff of throttle, luxuriating in the Ferrari cabin and enjoying the soundtrack.
But then you put your foot down and it’s off. Power washes over the car, hurtling it forward with remarkable alacrity. At that point it’s not a 4x4 with four seats, it’s a monster of a supercar. As the noise hardens, so too does the handling. The adaptive dampers start working harder and the handling ensures you’re never limited by any sensible parameters. Yet, because this is designed for the miles, the ride remains on the comfortable side of firm.
In fact, even if you put the drivetrain into Sport mode you can still keep the suspension in a softer setting, and that’s all you’ll need this side of a racetrack. The steering too quickens and is remarkably good at turn-in, but once again it’s slightly softer than some more committed Ferraris that only have a pair of seats in them.
The GTC4 Lusso also has rear-wheel steering, something carried over from the far more aggressive F12tdf model, but in this instance softened down so you’re barely aware of it bar a delightful tightening of the line just when you want it.
This means there is quite a lot going on under the skin here, as the rear-steering makes adjustments and the four-wheel drive system shuffles things between the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the power transfer unit in front of the engine and everything else. There is a lot of mechanical trickery going on here but it all seems to work together seriously well.
So, should you find yourself wanting a four-seater with four-wheel drive, there are plenty of options out there. But should you want a supercar engine with 680bhp as well, then your choices become more limited.
The looks are very much in the eye of the beholder, but the addition of a naturally aspirated big V12 in the rear makes this a pretty unique proposition. Should you have a quarter of a mill to spend on such a thing, then this is about the only game in town.
Ferrari GTC4 Lusso
Engine: V12, 6262cc, petrol
Power: 680bhp at 8000rpm
Torque: 514lb ft at 5750rpm
Gearbox: 7-spd dual-clutch auto
Kerb weight: 1920kg
Top speed: 208mph
Economy: 18.8mpg (combined)
CO2/tax band: 350g/km, 37%