2022 Ferrari GTC4 Lusso
Some cars are more special than others, and some cars have V12 engines. We road test the 2022 Ferrari GTC4 Lusso
SYMPHONY No.12 High Octane Ferrari GTC4 Lusso
Ferrari is better known for producing some of the world’s most desirable mid-engine V8 supercars, a lineage that extends back to 1975 with the introduction of the 308 GTB. However, a deeper look in to the marque’s history will show that some of their first road cars were grand tourers equipped with V12 engines. Our test car, the GTC4 Lusso, has a bloodline that can be traced back to 1960 with the introduction of the 250 GT/E – a four-seat GT car with 12 cylinders out front. Enzo Ferrari famously said that he sells engines and throws the rest of the car in for free, and that philosophy still resonates today in the GTC4 Lusso. You can of course buy a Lusso with a turbocharged 3.9 litre V8, but Ferrari treat that car as a separate model which shows how highly they regard their V12 variant.
“A beautiful symphony that filled the voids between the mountain peaks”
Our review car was indeed a V12 engine with a Lusso included, and to test its grand touring credentials we decided to take a trip to Wales. As boring as the M4 is, the outside line of the UK’s third longest motorway is a suitable place to test a car’s long distance capabilities, even if it is peppered with road works, average 50mph zones and slow moving traffic. Once free of the average speed cameras though, the GTC4 devours motorway miles in the style we’ve come to expect from purpose built continent crushers. It doesn’t ride as softly or separate you from the outside world as competently as a Bentley Continental GT does, but that’s not to say the Lusso isn’t hugely capable. What it lacks in ultimate refinement it makes up for with its engine. At a steady 70mph, you could easily forget there’s a V12 lurking under the expanse of bonnet, but tickle the throttle and you’re quickly reminded of the potency beneath your right foot. Should you choose to unlock its potential, it will effortlessly transport you cross-country.
We turned off the M4, picked up the M48 and made for the Severn Bridge. One thing that never fails to amaze is how quickly the landscape changes as you cross over the border. Southern England, as beautiful as it is, just doesn’t have the same geographical character as Wales, and as we crested the Severn, the flat English countryside made way for rolling Welsh valleys. V12 country. We continued to our hotel stop in Treorchy and then north towards the Brecon Beacons via the A4061. The road network in this part of Wales is stunning with its seemingly endless miles of tarmac that climb, crest and descend mountain ranges, and it’s here in the valleys, that the naturally aspirated 6.3 litre V12 engine came in to its own.
The tune was orchestral. A beautiful symphony that filled the voids between the mountain peaks. Over the decades, the automotive industry has churned out some special power units, but none posses the majesty of a Ferrari V12. There’s nothing else like it.
The engine, however, is not just a one-trick pony. Another benefit of many cylinders is huge power and a wide working range. The motor produces 681bhp and 514lb ft with peak power coming in at 8,000rpm, just 250 revs before the limiter. Maximum torque is available at 5,750rpm, but importantly, 80% of it is available from just 1,750rpm which offers the GTC4 immense low-down grunt to complement its galloping top end. Despite its 1,920kg kerbweight, the Lusso is a very fast car. Zero to 62mph happens in just 3.4 seconds, 124mph is seen in 10.5, and it will run on to 208mph. The feeling of speed is also exaggerated by the responsiveness of the engine. Free of turbos and the inertia they produce, a stab of the throttle in the Lusso is met by instant thrust as it sends you down the road.
Unfortunately, just as we were starting to find a rhythm round the twists and turns of the A4061, the mist that once lurked in the distance descended on us without warning. Like a dense, white blanket, it rolled in over the mountain tops and enveloped everything in sight. Play time was over and we were sent back the way we came in search of improved visibility.
Just as we escaped from the all-consuming fog, the rain followed in an attempt to hinder our plans further. This is the battle with Wales at altitude. The roads and scenery may be idyllic, but the weather can turn in an instant.
Try as it might, one thing the rain couldn’t put a stop to was fun in the Ferrari. The famous Manettino has five settings – Snow/Ice, Rain, Comfort, Sport, and ESC Off – which makes driving in the wet far less of an issue. Providing you don’t stamp on the throttle, the Lusso offers unyielding traction even in tricky conditions, but then it should, because Ferrari has thrown in their best acronyms and a complicated four-wheel drive system in an attempt to make the performance both usable and engaging. Heard of 4RM-S? What about SSC4, SCM-E, E-Diff, or F1-Trac? And you thought the geeks worked in Woking …
“Tickle the throttle and you’re quickly reminded of the potency beneath your right foot”
Here’s the simple explanation. The Lusso drives all four wheels through two gearboxes. The main ‘box is a rear mounted seven-speed dual clutch transmission and the second is a ‘PTU’ or ‘power transfer unit’ which lives in front of the engine. It’s a two-speed gearbox with two wet clutches and each one drives its own front wheel. The two gears have their own ratios and operate off the main DCT, with gear one operating in first and second, and gear two during third and fourth. Once you’re in fifth gear or higher, the Lusso becomes rear wheel drive only. The reason for this complicated set up is two-fold. The first is that gives the car a rear-wheel bias, the second is that it can efficiently transfer 100% of the power to any one of the front wheels should you need it. Because no one wants to fall off their prancing horse. Four-wheel steering also comes as standard, which helps shrink the wheelbase to aid with low speed manoeuvrability and high speed direction changes. The systems are so well integrated in to the package that you never feel them working away beneath you. Even on a summer tyre, the Lusso’s ability to displace water and get the power down is quattro-esque in its ability which gives you the confidence to push on, even when the weather is hellbent on dampening your parade.
We did, however, succumb to the drizzly onslaught. As beautiful as the Brecon Beacons are, grey skies and wet roads aren’t ideal conditions from which to exploit a car’s performance and grab suitable imagery. So, as darkness fell, we decided to make the 250 mile trip back home to Essex where we knew the sun would shine for the remainder of the weekend.
A day at the helm in any car can become tedious, but fortunately the GTC4 Lusso’s cabin is a fabulous place to be when soaking up mileage. Some of the world’s finest leather goods come from Italian fashion houses, and the Lusso’s interior captures that spirit. The quality is exemplary with its waxy Bordeaux leather, glossy carbon fibre and lashings of titanium, all of which extend to the rear seats and in to the boot. Not only is the cabin exceptionally finished, but there’s plenty of room for reasonably tall rear passengers owing to the car’s considerable wheelbase and shooting brake silhouette. The interior’s crowning glory though, is the panoramic glass roof which bathes the cabin and its occupants in natural light. It may be an £11,520 option, but it’s one you should definitely consider having.
As is often the case with Ferrari interiors, ergonomically it’s a bit of a mess. Over time you learn where things are and how to operate them, but with five rotary dials, a button-festooned steering wheel, and an infotainment system that isn’t the easiest to navigate through, it can be a lot to take in. In typical Italian fashion, the satellite navigation has a habit of taking you down the scenic route, and the touch input for the 10.25-inch display requires some sharpening. None of this is by any means a deal breaker and it doesn’t require a degree in computing to get on top of, but just be prepared to spend some time learning it. One thing that can’t be denied, however, is the simplicity and effectiveness of the adaptive cruise control. If your journey becomes a little tiresome, you can really lean on it to pick up a lot of the long distance slack, thanks to its ability to brake and accelerate based on what other cars are doing around you. That, and the wonderful JBL hi-fi will turn any boring trip in to a pleasant one, which ultimately, is the true test of a great GT car.
The following morning, the sun shone just as the weather report said it would, so we jumped back in the Ferrari and made for roads we know well. Another benefit of being back home is local knowledge of the road network and the extra margin of comfort it gives you when road testing. A combination of home turf and fine weather gave us our first opportunity to really open the Lusso up and uncover what it’s like dynamically.
My word, the way it changes direction belies that of a 1,920kg car. It’s not a precision tool, but the nose tucks in to corners and the 47/53 front-to-rear weight distribution gives it the impression of being predominantly rear driven. The optimal set up for a country road is Sport on the Manettino with the bumpy road mode selected. In this configuration you benefit from the sharper throttle response, snappier gearbox and weightier steering, but with the dampers in their softer setting. When tackling an undulating road, the tighter suspension set up can upset the balance and throw the car off its line, but in its softer setting it soaks up the worst of the tarmac and helps the Lusso flow down the road, which gives you the confidence to push on.
And it’s when pushing on, you begin to uncover what the Lusso is about. It may be an excellent GT car, but when you present it with a country road, its personality shifts to that of a sports car. The steering is quick but accurate, there’s buckets of grip but enough roll in the chassis to help communicate how much of that grip you have at your disposal, and the carbon ceramic brakes will stop the car on a sixpence – just make sure you get some heat in to them first. The seven-speed dual clutch transmission is also whipcrack fast, not as sharp as in other Ferraris, but still ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ quick. Feeling brave and fancy setting the Manettino to ESC Off? The good news is that the weight distribution and placement of the engine in its front-mid position means there’s more natural balance than you would initially think. If you want to make it go sideways, it will, but remember to pick your time and place, and treat it with respect.
Above all though, it’s the V12 engine that truly astonishes. The East of England may be as flat as a pancake, but without a mountain or large hill to reverberate off, the music from the twelve cylinders barrelled across the scorched countryside for mile after mile. We were heard from the next town away.
Needless to say, cars like this are anything other than inexpensive, and in the world of Ferrari, the options list is not for the faint hearted. Base price for a V12 engine plus a GTC4 Lusso is £243,191. Our test car with options weighed in at £332,395. Enzo Ferrari quotes aside, this is a wonderfully complete and undeniably special package, and there’s much more to the Lusso than the engine that powers it. What it is, is a pure extravagance, a luxury that you purchase not with any sense of reason, but because your heart tells you it’s the right thing to do. A Ferrari GTC4 Lusso with a V12 engine is as special as a car can get. It is quite simply magnificent in every single way.
Technical Specifications 2022 Ferrari GTC4 Lusso
- REDLINE RATING 10/10
- Engine 6,262cc V12
- Max Power 681bhp @ 8,000rpm
- Max Torque 514lb ft @ 1,750rpm
- 0-62mph 3.4 secs
- MAX speed 208mph
- Weight 1,920kg
- Price £243,191
The Bordeaux leather was sumptuous. Quad exhausts for the Lusso!