Fer­rari GTC4 Lusso T

Mo­dena’s new V8-en­gined grand tourer of­fers all the thrills of the V12. If only it sounded a bit more spe­cial…

Evo - - DRIVEN - Pho­tog­ra­phy by As­ton Par­rott

IT SEEMS LIKELY THAT SALES OF THE GTC4 Lusso will take a hit when the Fer­rari SUV – or FUV as Mo­dena calls it – joins the line-up. For now, the shoot­ing brake-style Lusso is the only full-size, four-seat Fer­rari op­tion, and very fine it is too, pow­ered by the V12. An el­e­gant evo­lu­tion of the rather brit­tle FF, the Lusso im­proves on al­most every as­pect of the ear­lier model, es­pe­cially with its more rounded and con­vinc­ing dy­nam­ics and sleeker styling. Un­usu­ally, it is also of­fered with an­other en­gine choice, a ver­sion of the twin-turbo V8 in the Cal­i­for­nia T and 488, and is called the Lusso T.

The Lusso T dis­penses with the V12’s novel four-wheeldrive sys­tem – ef­fec­tively a four-speed gear­box driven off the front of the en­gine – but not be­cause the T has less torque to de­ploy. Al­though the 3.9-litre V8 pro­duces a mus­cu­lar 602bhp, some 78bhp down on the out­put of the nat­u­rally as­pi­rated 6.3-litre V12, it ac­tu­ally churns out 560lb ft of torque, which is al­most 50lb ft more.

The V8 Lusso weighs 55kg less too, most of which comes off the front, shift­ing the weight dis­tri­bu­tion rear­wards for a 46:54 front:rear split. A look at the per­for­mance fig­ures sug­gests this ben­e­fits trac­tion be­cause at 3.5 sec­onds for the 0-62mph sprint, the reardrive V8 is only a tenth slower than the 4WD V12. The V8 nails 0-125mph in a storm­ing 10.8 sec­onds and goes on to a top speed tan­ta­lis­ingly just 1mph short of 200mph, while the V12’s ex­tra power pushes it on to 208mph.

Vis­ually, you’d be hard pushed to tell a V8 Lusso from a V12. The V8 costs £200k, about £30k less than the V12 be­fore op­tions, which on this ex­am­ple bring the to­tal to £255k. They in­clude blue brake calipers that match the blue leather in­te­rior, though the most sig­nif­i­cant items are the spe­cial or­der ‘Bianco Italia’ paint (£15k) and panoramic glass roof (£11.5k). The lat­ter makes a huge dif­fer­ence to the ex­pe­ri­ence of rear-seat pas­sen­gers; adults will find plenty of room in the back and the glass roof in­creases the sense of space.

You cer­tainly know which en­gine the Lusso has when you push the starter but­ton. The V12 has a rich, com­plex

note, while the V8, which is a flat-planecrank design that syn­chro­nises the fir­ing of its cylin­der banks, has a smooth but rather plainer four-cylin­der-like sound. And mooching around at low revs, the ac­tive tailpipe valves flip be­tween open and closed, be­tween bassy and quiet, so there’s a less con­sis­tent, less so­phis­ti­cated sound com­pared with the V12.

What both mod­els do have in com­mon is a smooth, com­pli­ant ride when the manet­tino dial is set to Com­fort. Win­ter tyres are fit­ted for our drive, as per Fer­rari UK pol­icy in our cold­est months, and the Pirelli Sot­toze­ros, which are the same width and pro­file as the sum­mer rub­ber, probably add a lit­tle more com­fort. The V8 gets rear-steer like the V12, and ini­tially steer­ing re­sponse feels like it speeds up away from cen­tre, but you quickly adapt and are soon rev­el­ling in how nat­u­rally bal­anced and bid­dable the chas­sis feels. It’s a big car but doesn’t feel it when you’re press­ing on, which is a great com­pli­ment.

Equally im­pres­sive is that the car works bril­liantly in low tem­per­a­tures. Win­ter tyres are de­signed not just for snow but for tem­per­a­tures be­low 8deg C, and a brisk sub-zero cross-coun­try hack is like driv­ing on a warm, dry road. We find snow too, and the Lusso T takes it in its stride (it’s like driv­ing on sum­mer tyres on a wet road). In­deed, it goes places that the four-wheel-drive V12 on sum­mers couldn’t go.

There’s no short­age of urge from the V8, the twin-turbo unit fast to re­spond, as­sisted by the snappy, sweet-shift­ing dual-clutch ’box. It revs smoothly and briskly to the 7500rpm red line, and al­though not as mu­si­cal an ex­pe­ri­ence as the V12, the V8 makes the car feel pretty much as quick and has a clean, free-revving ur­gency to its bark that en­cour­ages high revs.

At a mo­tor­way cruise the V8’s note dies to a mur­mur. In­deed, true to its in­tended role as a long-dis­tance GT, the Lusso T is an ef­fort­less and com­fort­able mile-eater. Wor­ry­ingly, its nat­u­ral gait seems to be 90mph – that’s the speed it seems to want to set­tle at, when all seems calm. Road noise (even with the win­ter tyres) and wind noise are low; the seats sup­port­ive and cos­set­ing. Adding to its longdis­tance cruis­ing cre­den­tials, the V8 Lusso is

reck­oned to be a third more eco­nom­i­cal than the V12. We see an av­er­age of over 26mpg on a 400-mile mo­tor­way trip, which means a 91-litre tank­ful could put 500 miles un­der the T’s wheels be­tween fuel stops.

As with the V12, it takes a while to learn your way around the in­fo­tain­ment and the switchgear on the steer­ing wheel, which is evolv­ing to be more in­tu­itive. More straight­for­ward are the func­tions of the manet­tino, which of­fers five set­tings, from a snowflake sym­bol through Wet to Com­fort to Sport and fi­nally ESC Off. The snowflake does not ac­cess a drift mode for muck­ing about in the white stuff, quite the op­po­site – it soft­ens the throt­tle and puts the sta­bil­ity con­trol on su­per-sen­si­tive, with the in­ten­tion of keep­ing the Lusso calm and on line.

Sport is a great set­ting for twist­ing roads, with the V8 punchy, the gear­box al­ways in the right gear or grab­bing it the in­stant you want it, and the damp­ing more taut for han­dling that is crisp and ag­ile. It’s in­volv­ing and re­ward­ing. And we can re­port that with all elec­tronic safety nets switched off, the Lusso T is em­i­nently driftable on snow on its snow tyres, com­fort­ably poised on op­po­site lock, with plenty of power on tap to change the an­gle.

Over two days we rack up over 1000 miles, and the Lusso T proves an out­stand­ing GT thanks to its sup­ple ride, great seats and very low wind and road noise. It also makes light work of twist­ing roads, feel­ing every bit as fast as the V12 but even more ag­ile and light on its feet. That said, if I was spend­ing over £200k on a Lusso, I’d still find it hard to not go the whole hog and pick the V12. But only for the richer, classier sound­track, not the all-wheel drive, be­cause if you re­ally want to go any­where in the win­ter months, a set of Sot­toze­ros will do the job bet­ter than a four-wheel-drive car on sum­mer tyres. Of course, the ul­ti­mate combo would be win­ter tyres and four-wheel drive.

John Barker (@evojb)

‘True to its in­tended role as a long-dis­tance GT, the Lusso T is an ef­fort­less mile-eater’

Above: op­tional ‘co- driver’ touch­screen can dis­play cur­rent drive set­tings or per­for­mance data, or con­trol the in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem

Be­low: twin-turbo V8 is down on power and char­ac­ter com­pared with the V12, but isn’t short of torque or out­right per­for­mance

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