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Road test: Ferrari GTC4Lusso T

  • Entry-level V8 version of GTC4Lusso
  • £30k cheaper, 2WD instead of AWD
  • Four-seater grand tourer costs £199k

The GTC4Lusso is a strange kind of Ferrari. Two doors, four seats, and an estate-style ‘shooting brake’ body shape – not to mention a stonking great 6.3-litre V12 engine and a complicated all-wheel-drive system.

Now, however, there’s a new, entry-level GTC4Lusso with a smaller V8 engine and rear-wheel-drive in place of the complex AWD setup. It’s called the Ferrari GTC4Lusso T, with the ‘T’ standing for turbocharged. It uses the same twin-turbo 3.9-litre V8 engine as Ferrari’s 488 and California T.

The flagship V12-engined GTC4Lusso carries on unchanged. Ferrari is treating the new GTC4Lusso T as a separate model line, priced at around £199,000 – circa £30,000 less than the V12.

What are the rivals?

As a full four-seater Ferrari with a two-door estate-style shooting brake shape, it’s an unusual car with few obvious rivals. Ferrari cites Bentley’s Continental Flying Spur as a benchmark for refinement, but points out that it’s a very different car in character.

Porsche’s Panamera is another rapid four-seater from a sports car specialist, albeit more of a saloon than a grand tourer, and is now available in estate-style Sport Turismo form.

Who is it for?

Ferrari says the GTC4Lusso T is aimed at a younger demographic of customers, who tend not to drive their Ferrari in areas with inclement weather and thus don’t need or want all-wheel drive.

Going two wheel drive and adopting the smaller engine gives the GTC4 around 30% more mileage between fuel fills.

More pertinently, it incurs much less tax in countries such as China, which have a heavy taxation policy on cars with engines larger than four litres.

Does the V8 have any other advantages over the V12?

Although the V8 engine is smaller, its turbochargers give it more torque than the V12, available lower down in the rev range so it’s easier to make progress without using so many revs.

Although it’s less powerful than the V12, the V8 still develops more than 600bhp, and can get from 0-62mph in 3.5sec. So it’s hardly slow.

The car’s overall weight is reduced by around 55kg (less than you might think, but all the extra cooling ancillaries for the turbochargers are heavy), and more of the car’s weight is concentrated towards the rear, giving it a more agile handling balance.

What’s it like to drive?

It’s a very big car, both wide and enormously long, but after a few miles you become used to its bulk and it’s surprisingly easy to maneuver in town. That’s aided by rear-wheel steering, which ever-so-slightly swivels the back wheels in the opposite direction to the fronts at low speeds to tighten the turning circle.

This also helps the car pivot into tight corners in a more agile fashion when pressing on.

At higher speeds, the rear wheels turn in the same direction as the fronts to a small degree, making the Lusso more stable in fast corners. For such a big, heavy car (more than 1800kg) it handles incredible well, with a huge amount of grip.

Like most modern-day Ferraris, it has very fast steering, but it’s less sensitive and darty than that of the 488. It feels rock solid on the motorway, but when entering a tight corner you only need to turn the wheel by a small amount, allowing you to keep your hands in one position – which is essential when all of the controls, including the indicators, are arranged in buttons on the wheel.

On uneven roads, the GTC4’s adaptive dampers do an impressive job of absorbing big bumps, but the ride is turned a little bit pattery by smaller surface imperfections, slightly spoiling its credentials as a long-distance cruiser.

How practical is this most practical of Ferraris?

Although it only has two doors, the enormous wheelbase makes it surprisingly easy to climb in and out of the back seats, and once you’re in them you’ll find plenty of leg room behind a tall front passenger, decent back support, swiveling air vents in the rear centre console, and good headroom – provided you’re under 6ft1in or so in height.

The boot isn’t quite so capacious, with a stepped section stealing luggage space, but you’ll still fit three to four large bags in there.

Verdict

The turbocharged V8-engined 2WD Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T has several tangible advantages over its V12 AWD cousin. It has more fun, agile handling (in dry conditions, at least – if you plan to strap a set of skis to your GTC, take the V12), it will travel far further on a tank of fuel, it is subject to smaller tax penalties and it is just as fast in the real world thanks to its wider spread of torque.

On the downside, it doesn’t sound as charismatic as the snarling, wailing V12, and its £30k price advantage could easily be negated with a quick box-ticking session in the options catalogue. If you can justify or afford it, the V12 GTC4Lusso still has the greater feelgood factor – a supercar isn’t a rational kind of purchase, after all.