Ferrari GTC4 Lusso 2021 lusso

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I've been Ferrari Approved

Going through the 190-point checklist ensuring the provenance of your pre-loved Ferrari.

Think buying a new Ferrari is like rocking up to your local Toyota dealer and a couple of days later driving away in a brand-new Corolla? Or Camry?

Think again.

The wait list for a brand-new Ferrari can stretch a long time, sometimes as long as 18 months depending on configuration and personalisation options.

“We don’t actually have off-the-shelf,” Rocco Mammone, Sales Executive for Ferrari North Shore tells CarAdvice. “It’s all built to order.”

Mammone explains most buyers customise and personalise their Ferraris, and depending on the level of customisation can add not only countless dollars, but also that most valuable commodity of all to the bottom line – time.

“Depending on the model, an average of 12 to 18 months. You have to be patient. It’s like a baby, good things take time,” he says.

But, for those who don’t have the luxury of time, or just want a Ferrari in their garage presto, there’s always the option of a pre-loved Ferrari.

But, like any used car, buying a second-hand Ferrari can have its pitfalls. How was it treated by its previous owners? Was it serviced and maintained regularly? Was the maintenance carried out be Ferrari technicians? Using genuine Ferrari parts?

Answering those questions is the Ferrari Approved program, the pre-owned certification process that provides peace of mind to buyers of pre-loved cars registered within the last 14 years.

Why 14 years?

“Effectively, Ferrari looks after it for the first 15 years as far as the warranty is concerned,” explains Mammone.

After that, a car becomes eligible for the company’s Classiche program, but that’s a story for another time.

For now, the Approved program has your back if you’re in the market for a second-hand Ferrari. And it’s a comprehensive program, designed by Maranello, to offer surety of ownership, originality and provenance, all important with cars if this calibre.

It starts with a technical inspection, covering every aspect of the car. The list comprises 190 items and all must be checked off by a Ferrari approved technician. It covers everything from mechanical components, electrical systems, suspension, bodywork and interior.

Anything found not to be up to Approved standard will be repaired or replaced using only genuine Ferrari spares.

It’s a rigorous process, exacting and precise. To find out just how rigorous, we visited Ferrari North Shore’s service centre in Sydney to get a better understanding of the process.

Just entering the service centre is enough to make even the most hardened car nut drool, with immaculate service bays lined by Ferraris of all vintages. We counted three – three! – F40s, their rear clamshell engine covers rising high into the rooftops exposing that glorious 2.9L twin-turbo V8 and the fat 335mm wide rear wheels. It’s car porn, in every way.

The workshop itself is meticulous, with pristine floors and work stations that sparkle and gleam. Ferraris of all vintages and in various state of undress line the work area, technicians buried in or under. In true Italian, fashion, opera plays softly over the sound system.

It’s a remarkably quiet workshop, despite the work taking place (and the opera streaming throughout). There are no power tools used when servicing and maintaining a Ferrari, everything done by hand, minimising the risk of accidental damage.

I keep that in mind as Adriano Giorgo, Ferrari North Shore’s Service Manager, walks me down the line to a GTC4 Lusso, Ferrari’s family car, if there is such a thing.

“This is the vehicle we’re doing the ‘190’ (Ferrari Approved checklist) on,” he says. “We’ve already taken the wheels off and gotten it ready for the preparation.”

‘Ready’ in this case, means ready for me. I’ll be undertaking some of the work on this particular GTC4 Lusso. Thankfully, to make sure my innate mechanical ineptitude doesn’t complete ruin a perfectly good Ferrari with a stray spanner, I’ll be under the supervision of Master Technician, Lachlan Hodder.

Before we start with the spanners, Adriano talks me through the process of Ferrari Approved certification. The GTC4 Lusso is hooked up to a laptop which is linked directly back to Ferrari HQ at Maranello. As well as running a diagnostics program that highlights any area of the car needing attention, it also documents electronically every single item of work carried out on the car, adding it to a report back at the factory.

“They can see us,” explains Adriano. “Once the vehicle comes into the facility, as soon as we plug the scan tool in, the factory is aware that it is here. It raises what’s called a ‘Service Entry’. Ultimately it’s a job card for the factory.”

In a slight case of Big Brother is watching, Adriano explains nothing is done to the car without Maranello being aware of it.

“They know what we are carrying out, what sort of activities we need to do on the vehicle. So if there are any outstanding ‘campaigns’ or anything like that, it will flash that straight away.”

A quick look at the laptop screen shows some areas of the Lusso that need if not attention, at least inspection.

My job today, the relatively simple task of replacing the air filters. Easy enough, except this is a Ferrari with a price tag that starts at $503,888 before options and on-road costs. The prospect of attacking it with spanners and a flathead screwdriver is slightly daunting.

Thankfully Lachlan is a man of patience and he talks me through every bolt, every screw, every clip. Under his watchful eye two (Ferrari genuine) air filters are replaced, the covers replaced and the job logged on the laptop and sent back to Maranello.

One down, 189 steps to go.

“That is pretty much every component on the vehicle,” explains Adriano. “We go through body, we go through interior, electrical tests, vehicle compression, battery health… we have the body [shop] manager come over and we go through the whole car in terms of paint as well; we check paint depth and make sure the vehicle is 100 per cent a Ferrari Approved car.

“If there are any modifications or things that need to be rectified that don’t quite meet Maranello standards, we’ll bring it back to standard only using genuine parts.”

It’s a rigorous and time-consuming process. Going through the checklist and generating the report itself takes a whole day, and that’s before any work is carried out.

The Process ends when all 190 items have been checked off the list, any work is carried out, and the car is in as perfect condition as a pre-loved Ferrari can be. Only then is it issued a Ferrari Approved certificate and sent to the showroom ready for its new owner who will, helpfully, find a detailed list of all the checks and work carried out in the glovebox, ensuring provenance.

“That’s [not only] very important to Ferrari as a brand, but to the clients [as well],” says Mammone adding that the typical Ferrari Approved customer is likely to be a first-time buyer.

“The most popular model is the 488 because that’s relatively new in the market, and the California,” he says. “They represent two very different pillars of the brand – sports car and grand tourer.”

Ferrari ownership is a dream for many, and no matter what pillar of the brand you ascribe to, the Ferrari Approved program adds a layer of surety and provenance to the process of buying a pre-loved car from Maranello.

Also, for peace of mind, we're pretty sure the 12-month warranty that comes with being a 'Ferrari Approved' car will cover the clumsily installed air filters in one particular GTC4 Lusso.

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