2018 Ferrari GTC4 Lusso review

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The ultimate family car from Maranello has no rival. Thankfully, the Ferrari GTC4 Lusso doesn't need one.

For exactly six years, the biggest issue I have had with exotic cars has been my son losing his mind when I can’t take him for a drive. As a father of car-obsessed boys, the Ferrari GTC4 Lusso is the best thing that has ever come out of Maranello.

Some argue that Ferraris are meant to be two-seater super sports cars and that any model that tries to bring an ounce of practicality to the brand is blasphemous. Well, if you happen to meet someone with such a mentality, feel free to tell them they're an idiot.

The reality today is that choices for the iconic Italian brand's future were rather simple: make an SUV or a four-seater shooting brake. It picked the option that still allows Ferrari to produce an amazing sports car the whole family can enjoy.

It didn’t take an SUV platform from its lesser brand siblings and try and turn it into a Ferrari. Its direct rival, Lamborghini, went the opposite direction with the upcoming (Audi Q7-based) Urus and only time will tell who was right. (Amusingly, since the time of writing, Ferrari now appears to have confirmed an SUV.)

Of course, Ferrari could’ve used this as an excuse to make a relatively uninspiring drivetrain combo that took the family practicality at face value and ran with it. Instead, we have a naturally-aspirated 6.3-litre V12 that roars like no other.

With a massive 507kW of power and 697Nm of torque, it’s the life and heart of the GTC4 Lusso and the main reason why it justifies its $750,000 (with options) price tag. There is a slightly cheaper turbocharged V8 coming, but honestly, why would you?

To be fair, this is no Ferrari FF. For a start, it’s a relatively good-looking car from nearly all angles and while it shares a great deal of its underpinning with its predecessor, it has the addition of rear-wheel steering, a much more refined transmission and a faster 0-100km/h times of 3.4 seconds (0.3s quicker than FF). Not to mention the interior has taken yet another step forward.

Actually, it’s perhaps the most accomplished Ferrari interior ever. The word Lusso means luxury and in this case, there is nothing inside this cabin that says otherwise. Every surface, every touch point feels amazing to admire and embrace. The seats are an experience to be in, front or rear, and moving your hands over the dash and doors, particularly the carbon-fibre ‘driver zone’ enhanced steering wheel. It’s a work of art, no matter how you look at it.

The workmanship and build quality is the best we’ve seen from Ferrari. In fact, if you ignore the hypercar territory with the likes of Bugatti, Pagani and Koenigsegg, Ferrari is in a league of its own with its interior refinement and cabin quality compared to direct rivals. Speaking of which, this car actually has no direct rivals. What other naturally-aspirated V12 can take your kids to school and sound this good?

The only thing letting this Ferrari’s interior down is the rather buggy infotainment system that – despite asking $6790 for optional Apple CarPlay – hardly ever worked as intended with or without it. This is somewhat ironic as not only was Ferrari the very first brand to launch CarPlay, it also employs very senior Apple executive Eddy Cue on its board of directors. We would kindly ask Eddy to fix this problem, please. It is more than likely all software-related so there is a good chance it will get an update soon. You could almost call the experience inside perfect, otherwise.

But what is the first thing you do with GTC4 Lusso? Take it to a race track? Spirited drive up a twisting mountainous road? It’s more than capable of both. But no. Take the kids to school was our initial choice.

The GTC4’s lift system not only raises the nose, but also the rear, and given how long the car is, this stops it from bottoming out. This meant getting in and out of bad driveways was no longer nerve-wracking. We didn’t once scrape the underside of the Lusso in the tight confines of the inner-city, which is more than we can say for most other Ferraris.

We installed our two ISOFIX child seats in the back and dropped the youngest to kindy and the eldest to primary school. Amazingly, both seats fit in with relative ease (though getting them out was more challenging – but that shouldn’t worry you if they are permanent placements) and given their chassis connection via ISOFIX, they never moved a millimetre.

This was good because when we went for a spirited drive through the mountains, they both giggled with delight without ever feeling sick by the movement. Well, at least I assumed they giggled because no noises were heard over the thunderous, almost religious-awakening sound experience.

The V12 in this car is tremendous, not only in its linear power delivery but also the noise. Oh my god, the noise. Please go watch the video attached to this review and if you can’t get enough, go on our Facebook page and listen to it some more.

It’s not an outright assault on the senses such as an Aventador might deliver; it’s more subdued and a little more mechanical, but it is perfection.

Many manufacturers have long ago killed naturally-aspirated engines. Be it Mercedes-Benz or BMW and even Ferrari itself, all have given up on naturally-aspirated V8s due to tightening and illogical emission regulations. And, no doubt in the not too distant future, the V12 will have some form of assisted induction or find itself electrified. For now though, this Ferrari is a treasure worth cherishing and keeping for your own, for it will soon be consigned to history.

It’s fair to say the rear seats are meant for little people, but one can fit adult friends in the back for short trips, and if they complain about being in the back of a Ferrari, you should consider finding new friends. It won’t be hard.

The kids loved the ($32,500) panoramic sunroof for it provides a very open-air experience that alleviates any feelings of being stuck in a tight space. It’s a little pricey (in the way that you can buy a sunroof-with-a-car-attached-for-less pricey) but worth the money if you want happy smiles from the back. Though, to be fair, Brisbane’s summer really requires a solid shade, which it doesn’t have. That means the cabin can become rather warm if the car is left outside and you’ll be working the air-con pretty hard to get things comfortable again.

My wife initially liked the idea of the passenger screen. Being able to control the music and also view the functions of the vehicle kept her occupied until the point she began to use it as a reason to scream profanities when the speed limit was, let’s say, challenged. At $9500, it certainly looks good and adds one more element to the cabin, but we can see it quickly becoming a talking point at the next marriage counseling session.

The best and worst thing about the GT4C Lusso is that unless you have the steering wheel dial turned to Sport and willing to sit in the higher rev ranges, not many notice your three-quarters-of-a-million-dollar ride. For some, this is a blessing - for the show pony attributes of a bright and loud Ferrari are not always welcome. But, for others, this is a reason why the outrageousness of something like the Urus or Bentayga (to a lesser extent) may offer more appeal.

For us, we didn’t once get asked ‘hey mate, what do you do for a living?’ when driving the Lusso around for a few days. In our experience, had it been a 488 or an F12, that question would’ve undoubtedly come up, to which our usual reaction is a stone-cold facial expression with the response, “investment banker”... to further ruin the reputations our friends in the financial sector.

But while it may not have the same street cred as other Ferraris, punt it around a twisty bit of road and it feels right at home. This is a more solid car to drive than the FF, it oozes stability at high speed and pushing it fast and hard into a corner elicits feelings of pure joy. The gearbox can be a little clunky at low speeds (like all DCTs), but shift up at high revs and it’s akin to Sebastian Vettel’s F1 car. (Albeit, far, far more reliable!)

This is a genuine Ferrari and that’s perhaps the best praise one can give it.

What surprised us the most with the GTC4 Lusso was the ride comfort. This Ferrari is like no other, in that you can drive it every day and never once feel the bumps and rough surfaces generously offered by Australian roads. Somehow, though, that magic carpet ride doesn't seem to affect its dynamics. It seems as though Ferrari has taken a leaf out of Porsche's ride and handling guidebook.

It’s worth pointing out the rear steering at high speed into corners feels a little unnerving for it has that strange sensation of impending oversteer which never materialises. You get used to it, but it can feel unsettling at first. As we drove it more and more, we came to appreciate it accordingly.

The GTC4 Lusso is technically an all-wheel-drive vehicle, sort of. Having made use of two separate transmission systems to keep the engine low, the four-seater Ferrari can send power to the front wheels in the first four gears but then goes exclusively rear-wheel drive from then onwards using its seven-speed dual clutch transmission. This technology has carried forward from the FF, but, as an owner, you’ll never have to worry about its inner workings; just know that if you need grip up front in the lower gears, it will be there seamlessly.

Ferrari is a company that doesn’t compromise. It could just as easily have taken plenty of parts from parent company Fiat Chrysler to use for its interiors, but this – like all current Ferraris – offers a unique experience that you cannot find elsewhere for the money.

At the end of the day, there is absolutely nothing like the Ferrari GTC4 Lusso on the market. If you want the credibility, technical mastery and emotional weight of a Ferrari badge in a family car, the GTC4 won’t disappoint. The way I tried to sell it to my wife was via emotional blackmail, ‘look how happy it makes the boys, isn’t that what we want?’ – it’s a good tactic.

Ferrari GTC4 Lusso – Options

  • Exterior Colour, Grigio Ferro –$22,000
  • Interior Colour, Cuoio – Included
  • Carpets, Nero – Included
  • Calipers, Aluminium – $2700
  • Adaptive front lighting system with SBL function – $4900
  • Panoramic glass roof – $32,500
  • Front and rear suspension lift system – $11,000
  • Embroided prancing horse on headrests, Nero – $3500
  • Sport exhaust pipes – $1400
  • Rear boot lid Italian flag – $1900
  • 'Scuderia Ferrari' shields on fenders – $3100
  • Colour upon request for leather tunnel compartment – $1900
  • Passenger display – $9500
  • Ferrari historical colours – $22,000
  • 20-inch chrome painted forged wheels – $10,600
  • Hi Fi premium system – $10,450
  • Standard stitching, Beige chiaro – $1250
  • Carbon-fibre driving zone + LEDS steering wheel – $13,000
  • Diamond pattern style seats – $9000
  • Apple CarPlay – $6790

Total price as tested – $745,490 (plus on-road costs)

Click on the Gallery tab for more images by Toby Leung.

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