Quite raucous and super fast, or as gentle as you like. Alvin Thomas on why Ferrari’s all-new handsome monster is the most-fun four-seat hatchback you could take out for a spin
You’ve seen it here before, and we’ve tested the car plenty too. So, why did we take the keys to Ferrari’s most practical car again? Well, the answer is simple: Ferrari say that they’ve created a different type of monster with the GTC4Lusso T, and we couldn’t wait to find out.
The core concept of the car remains: You still get the same shooting-brake design four-seater hatchback as before, but with a completely different engine under the hood – as is denoted by the “T” in the car’s nametag. Underneath that large bonnet lies a turbocharged V8 as opposed to the traditional V12 that it packs in the regular variant.
I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that the car may just have become a lot more practical than it already was – given that the slashed cylinders will bring in the much-needed fuel efficiency and reduced engine noise. Engine differences aside, however, you wouldn’t know you’re looking at a V12- or V8-powered GTC4Lusso unless the driver points it out you.
The boffins have kept the rest. 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 sport more flattering angles.
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. Albeit, the smaller engine translates to a lighter car.
But more on that in a bit.
Things continue to be elaborate on the inside. There’s a plethora of gizmos and buttons to figure out once you’re inside the car but it grows on you. For instance, I continue to maintain that Ferrari’s complicated-looking steering wheel – which dons everything from the engine START/STOP button all the way to the indicators, the lights and the wiper functions – is simple to use while driving.
In order to keep the car close to its competitors (i.e. Bentley Continental GT and Maserati GranTurismo for the most part), Ferrari has upped the quality of the interiors.
The fit and finish inside is sublime, and the colour tones complement the overall spirit of the vehicle. Contrasting hand-stitched leather galore, the inside of the car is a nice place to be in.
The seats – all four of them – are soft and cushy, and also offer the perfect amount of bolstering for when the going gets spirited.
You get Ferrari’s 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment unit on the dashboard with an additional 9-inch touchscreen “scream-o-meter” for the passenger. Both are easy to use and provide adequate information. However, the larger unit takes the cake with its dual-screen (or split-screen) view, which allows for multiple pages on the screen. The latter screen displays speeds, revolutions, G-force as well as infotainment controls.
The circular A/C vents in my specced-out tester were finished in aluminium and knurled in to replicate a jet engine, while the diffuser in the middle rose like the flaps on an aircraft’s wing when summoned. Also commendable were the carbon-fibre accents on the steering wheel and the lower parts of the dashboard.
Space inside is decent, with adequate head and leg room for the front passengers. Rear seat passengers, however, will have to make do with the space available after the driver has set their seat in the driving position. Meanwhile, the sloping roofline will also come as a hindrance to anyone who is over six feet tall. But the general airiness of the cabin is beyond what you could ever imagine – especially from an Italian supercar.
Boot space is respectable, thanks to the hatchback profile of the car, but a stepped area within pinches the luggage space. It is created to accommodate the rear suspension and the fuel tank.
Underneath the hood lies a smaller engine – a 3.9-litre twin-turbocharged V8 to be specific. The derived engine (undeniably from the 488GTB) is potent and pumps out 601 horses (hp) and 760Nms of torque. This is then mated to a quick-witted and snappy seven-speed dual-clutch ‘F1’ gearbox.
The result is a car that can propel itself from 0 to 100kph in a mere 3.5 seconds and keep going until it hits the redline at 320kph. Despite being turbocharged, the engine revs freely to about 7,000rpm or maybe even more. The exhaust note when you tip the throttle lightly is mellow, but once the gasses start flowing quick, it opens up to a more throaty roar – just like what you’d see on the 488GTB.
The exhaust note may not be as soulful as, say, the V12-powered GTC4Lusso, but it is still emphatic enough to win attention from passersby. And in the red colour tone (Rosso Corsa) that my car was finished, that’s exactly what I received too.
While all of this translates into a lot of fun, the most impressive part of the car is the fact that all of the power is put down on the rear wheels, as opposed to its more powerful variant which contains a complicated four-wheel-drive system that prevents the car from much drama.
Think of the GTC4Lusso T as the fun-loving sibling in a family that primarily consists of well-mannered and serious members.
In layman’s terms, what this means is that the GTC4Lusso T is more than capable of pulling out some oversteer action. You’d be surprised by how sprightly the car is, especially when you take sharp corners. Whatever speed you’re taking the corner in, you’ll be treated to some form of cinematic action.
I learnt the hard (or shall I say fun) way when I lightly stepped on the throttle midway through a roundabout.
The turbocharger kicks in ferociously and maximum torque is delivered at the 3,000rpm mark, but the power delivery is linear when compared with some of its other European competitors.
That, coupled with the quick-shifting gearbox, means you’re always within the reach of the optimum amount of torque for some quick manoeuvres – which, believe it or not, makes it perfect for some track driving.
Flicking through the Manettino dial lets you shift between comfort, sport and ESC-off modes.Switching the latter off will bring in Ferrari’s third-generation of Side Slip Control into the picture. In simple terms, it can make most average drivers look like a hero while belting the car on the track.
The steering wheel is a new electric setup which gets rid of the existing hydraulic one you find on its bigger sibling. But the steering ratio is quick and the weight is dependent on the speed you’re travelling at. Moreover, the rear-wheel steering helps shrink the car’s length on the twisty roads.
The brakes are strong – very, very strong – and the pedal offers great feedback during hard braking. Also, we didn’t come across any fade when taking on the perpetual bends of the Yiti road.
Whether it’s simply cruising down the Sultan Qaboos Highway or taking hard corners at the Yas Marina racetrack, the GTC4Lusso T stands out as a stellar proposition for the opulent. And for once, it’s not just about the brand name or value: The GTC4Lusso T is a statement; a statement that you’re someone who has undeniably risen to the side that, without a doubt, is much, much greener.
• Engine: 3.9-litre twin-turbocharged V8
• Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch ‘F1’
• Horsepower: 601hp
• Torque: 760Nm
• Top speed: 320kph
• Rear-wheel drive
• Electronic differential
• Carbon-ceramic brakes
• Suspension lifter
• Scuderia Ferrari shields
• Passenger display
• Dual-view infotainment screen
• Front parking camera
• 51cm forged diamond rims
• Rosso Corsa paintjob
• Adaptive headlights
• F1-DCT Gearbox
• F1-Trac, ESP