208 mph in lus­cious lux­ury

Fer­rari GTC4 feels like a tour­ing coupe and acts like a track car

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS - By Charles Flem­ing

I con­fess: I had mixed feel­ings about say­ing good­bye to the 2017 Fer­rari GTC4 Lusso.

I was sad, be­cause I’d had such a good week driv­ing it. But I was also happy, be­cause I had got­ten through the week with­out dam­ag­ing it.

This top-of-the-line Ital­ian sports tour­ing car, an up­date of the pre­vi­ous Fer­rari FF model, is a lus­cious-look­ing shoot­ing brake coupe — or, in Amer­i­can au­to­mo­tive terms, a long-nosed, two-door, four­pas­sen­ger fast­back.

Pow­ered by Fer­rari’s leg­endary V-12 en­gine, which makes a stag­ger­ing 680 horse­power and 514 pound­feet of torque, it hits a top speed of 208 mph and has a zero-to-60 pace of un­der 3.4 sec­onds.

But un­like sports cars that are com­pa­ra­bly fast and quick, the GTC4 Lusso is lusso: It hits those speeds in max­i­mum lux­ury.

The “dual-cock­pit” driver-and­pas­sen­ger area cre­ates a sim­i­lar feel for both front-seat oc­cu­pants, though the ex­tra “pas­sen­ger dis­play” will cost an ad­di­tional $5,906.

A good deal of en­gi­neer­ing ef­fort was ex­pended on si­lenc­ing the cabin, re­duc­ing en­gine, tire and wind noise, and qui­et­ing the Lusso’s cli­mate-con­trol sys­tem.

Those im­prove­ments made the High Power HIFI Sys­tem op­tion — which added $6,243 to the sug­gested re­tail price — much eas­ier to ap­pre­ci­ate.

A newly de­signed panoramic roof — a $20,249 up­grade from the base model — in­creases the cli­mate-con­trol up­grade. It fea­tures spe­cially treated glass that re­pels out­door sum­mer heat and re­tains in­door cool­ing, while in win­ter do­ing the op­po­site.

The in­te­rior re­design also in­cludes a new, smaller steer­ing wheel, which de­spite its size still con­tains all the im­por­tant driver switches and but­tons — for wind­shield wipers, turn signals and ev­ery­thing else. This leaves the driver en­tirely free to en­joy the driv­ing.

There’s a lot to en­joy. The GTC4 Lusso uses Fer­rari’s 4RM sys­tem, first in­tro­duced on the FF, which in­te­grates trac­tion con­trols, elec­tronic dif­fer­en­tial and sta­bil­ity con-

trols — com­bined with an all-wheel steer­ing sys­tem — to al­low for more con­fi­dent, com­fort­able ag­gres­sive driv­ing.

Driv­ing modes are Com­fort, Sport and Wet, which could be trans­lated as “man­age­able,” “barely man­age­able” and “much more man­age­able.” There is also a launch con­trol, which for my pur­poses of driv­ing on public streets, might as well have been la­beled “Don’t.”

Even when pushed to han­dle tight turns at higher speeds, the GTC4 still feels like a tour­ing coupe while act­ing like a track car.

Like all first-rate cars, it’s a lit­tle de­mor­al­iz­ing to op­er­ate, be­cause it could be driven so much faster and bet­ter by some­one other than me.

But it’s also tremen­dous fun. On the twisty back roads above Los Angeles, climb­ing up the curves of Angeles Crest High­way and then drop­ping back down through the high-speed sweep­ers of Up­per Big Tu­junga Canyon Road, the Fer­rari be­gan to shed some of its grand tour­ing weight and size and act like a sharper, sleeker sports car.

Ea­ger to move fast, and seem­ingly smoother and more ca­pa­ble at higher ve­loc­i­ties, the car was an in­vi­ta­tion to pick a far­away des­ti­na­tion and drive all day. De­spite the mas­sive en­gine, the car was fairly quiet on the free­way, ex­cept when it was in Sport mode and the pedal was down. Oth­er­wise, the V-12 purred like a big, con­fi­dent cat.

Un­like a lot of per­for­mance cars, and true to its grand tour­ing name plate, the GTC4 is com­fort­able and easy to drive around town.

The rac­ing-style seats were snug but not con­fin­ing. An au­to­matic seat belt ex­ten­der made it eas­ier to reach the safety straps.

The model I bor­rowed was kit­ted out with an op­tional sus­pen­sion-lifter sys­tem, a $6,749 up­grade, that elim­i­nated my con­cerns about steep drive­ways and tall speed bumps.

Not in­cluded on the car are some lux­ury ap­point­ments that some driv­ers may miss, such as seat ven­ti­la­tion — though that is avail­able as an op­tion.

Some driv­ers will want more than one cup holder. Some may wish the thin, stylish sun vi­sor blocked more than a nar­row sliver of sun­light.

Some may have trou­ble, as I did, get­ting their iPhones to boot up. I never suc­ceeded, in fact. This would have been dis­may­ing had I been a buy­ing cus­tomer.

As for fuel econ­omy, it’s a lit­tle like the ques­tion about how much it costs to main­tain a yacht: If you have to ask, you can’t af­ford it.

The GTC4 Lusso gets a re­ported 13 miles per gal­lon com­bined. That’s why the price tag in­cludes the $3,000 “gas-guz­zler” tax.

At the end of my week with the GTC4 Lusso, I was sorry to see the el­e­gant ex­otic go. But I was re­turn­ing it un­harmed, happy to stop cal­cu­lat­ing how many years’ salary I’d have lost if I’d crashed it.

Lorenzo Marcinno Fer­rari

THE FER­RARI GTC4 Lusso’s “dual-cock­pit” driver-and-pas­sen­ger area cre­ates a sim­i­lar feel for both front-seat oc­cu­pants. A good deal of en­gi­neer­ing went into si­lenc­ing the cabin, re­duc­ing en­gine, tire and wind noise, and qui­et­ing the cli­mate-con­trol sys­tem.

Lorenzo Marcinno Fer­rari

EVEN WHEN pushed to han­dle tight turns at higher speeds, the Fer­rari GTC4 Lusso still feels like a tour­ing coupe while act­ing like a track car. Driv­ing modes are Com­fort, Sport and Wet. There is also a launch con­trol.

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