It may be foolish to push an RO100,000 car to its limits, but the temptation to press the pedal hard and down all the way to the carpet was spot on and irresistible. Alvin Thomas takes his dream machine for a spin from Dubai to Abu Dhabi
A four-seater, four-wheel-drive supercar for the average (well endowed) businessman sounds like a far-fetched idea. But throw on a Ferrari badge on the front and it all magically makes sense – and I’m not jesting when I say that.
Who knew that Ferrari – the makers of cars like the 488 Spider, the 812 Superfast and the LaFerrari – would be able to pull off what is arguably the most idiosyncratic family haulers of all-time?
Of course, keen-eyed Ferrari enthusiasts would probably point out that the GTC4Lusso – the car in question here – isn’t the first four-seater supercar to hail from the Italian stables.
In 1960 it was Ferrari, with its 250 GT/E, that revolutionised the way the Italians drove around the streets of Maranello. Three of your favourite mates could finally travel with you in what could very well be one of the first grand-touring cars (if you ignore the Lancia Aurelia GT) the world had ever seen.
Fast forward 58 years, however, and you have what must be the spiritual successor of the 250 GT/E. And unlike its granddaddy, this one is fast. Very,
Despite what its profile suggests, the GTC4Lusso is no regular hatchback. Sure, it has two doors and a tailgate that suggests otherwise, but it’s more of a shooting-brake coupe than anything else. The bonnet, for instance, stretches far into the horizon and the C-pillar blends in well with the tailgate and the burly arches in the rear.
Up front, you’re treated to Ferrari’s signature headlamps; the ones that debuted with the Ferrari FF (the GTC4Lusso’s predecessor). But, for the current model year, the headlamps have more flattering angles. The FF, on the other hand, looked like it wanted to gobble up every car in front of it. Still, at 1980mm, the tracks are wider than the former.
The GTC4Lusso is also a long car: its wheelbase measures in at about 2990mm. But the Italians have managed to hide the length very well with sharp contours and subtle lines. In one sentence: it’s a work of art.
Much of this dauntlessness carries over to the interior too. It’s a completely radical design change when compared to the FF, but it’s still one of the prettiest ones I’ve seen in an Italian car in a long time – the last one being the Alfa Romeo 1900 C SS Zagato Berlinetta from 1955 (!)
The circular A/C vents in my tester were finished in aluminium and knurled in to replicate a jet engine. Then there was the easy-to-use 10-inch touchscreen infotainment unit that sat like an ornament on the dashboard.
The infotainment unit is quick to respond to the user’s inputs and is also easy to navigate through. It has a split-screen setup for when you need to use multiple applications, say, the navigation and the music functions. Also interesting is the optional extra – which I think everyone buying the GTC4Lusso must tick – 9-inch “scream-o-meter” touchscreen for the passenger, which displays speeds, revolutions, G-force as well as infotainment controls.
The steering is derivative of current-day Ferraris – it’s functional, heavy on buttons and, above all else, a hell of a lot unique than the prosaic ones in our cars. You can control everything from the lights, wiper functions, indicators, engine start/stop and even the drive modes, using the steering-mounted buttons.
The insides are finished in premium leather that has been stitched in contrasting colours. The four seats are essentially sport buckets, but are extremely comfortable for long-distance driving. During the course of my 12-hour road-trip from the heart of Dubai to the borders of Abu Dhabi, I felt comfortable and relaxed – even with the overly supportive shoulder bolstering and
Underneath the long bonnet lies an equally big 6.3-litre naturally aspirated V12 that cranks out 680hp and 697Nm of torque at the flywheel. It’s only 200cc smaller than the engine in the 812 Superfast, but it’s more than adequate to put the “f” back in fun – really!
The power is sent to the ground via a quick-shifting seven-speed “F1” dual-clutch gearbox to the beautifully tuned electronic-differential that sends power to all four wheels. The way it shuffles power from each wheel is phenomenal – it’s impossible to get any form of understeer as the car quickly negates any slip from the front-end by sending a boatful of power to the rear wheels to induce a bit of oversteer action.
All of this also translates to a 0-100kph time of 3.9-seconds. And that’s an impressive when you realise that the car tips the scales at about 1,700kg. The car powers off the line quickly and screams (rather euphoniously) all the way to about 8000rpm before ferociously hitting the redline. The torque band of the V12 is wide and strong enough to keep the speedometer ticking all the way to the seventh gear.
The GTC4 Lusso – like all other Ferraris – is mesmerising to drive. It’s track-ready when you need it to be, and when you want to cool off and cruise, it lets you do so too. The chassis is meticulously tuned to be predictable, despite its large size. The suspension alters itself as per the driving mode to present the driver with the most felicitous control at any given time.
The car also makes use of four-wheel steering to curb the effects of its length. The system effectively reduces the footprint of the car in tight corners, but more so than that, it helps the chassis wrap around the cockpit to fool you into thinking that you’re driving a smaller vehicle.
The hydraulic steering is well-weighted and precise, and provides ample feedback too. This inevitably gives the driver a sense of confidence when pushing the car hard through corners or when reveling around in a cloud of thick smoke from the rear tyres that are devouring themselves. It’s not advisable to push an RO100,000 car to its limits but, in the name of journalism, I did so (legally). So, after switching the electronic nannies off, I pushed the pedal to the carpet, and sent the rear end into oblivion… or rather, into a long and wide power slide. But you can quickly counter the drift thanks to the four-wheel steering.
This may not be our first review of the Ferrari GTC4Lusso. But I’ll tell you this: the more time I spend behind the wheel, the more I fall in love with it. And that’s a very disquieting prospect. Because, the 10-year-old in me wants to stick a poster of a 488 Spider or GTB on the wall, but the 24-year-old me prefers riding around in a longer and functional shooting-brake coupe. Oh, well! At least the car of my choice is a no-nonsense Ferrari – and that too a Ferrari that’s just as good – and if not better – than all its competitors from Germany