Ever wanted to give your Ferrari 488 GTB some sort of magic potion that transforms it into a four-seater with something resembling a boot? Well, if you could, it might take a form not unlike that of the GTC4 Lusso T.
To create this car, Ferrari took a V12 GTC4 Lusso and swapped out the big, 6.3-litre atmo donk with a 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 (relax, the V12 model still exists). Then it also did away with the V12’s alternative all-wheel drive system to make the V8 a rear-drive-only proposition.
Weight has come down 55kg and in the process, shifted the distribution more rearward, now 46:54 front-to-rear versus 47:53 of the big twelve-potter. Ferrari has taken the opportunity to make the V8 a sportier drive with specific calibrations for the rear steering and adaptive dampers. Price is also down, $503K before options (and there will be options), a full $75K cheaper than the V12.
You might be tempted to think this car is the poorer sibling of the V12 model, but you’d be misled. With 449kW it’s hardly underpowered, and 760Nm is in fact 63Nm more than the V12 can muster. Ferrari claims 0-100km/h in 3.5sec and a 320km/h top speed, versus the V12’s 3.4sec and 335km/h. Meanwhile there’s a seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox between the rear wheels; an electronically locking differential; and stopping the whole show, huge 398mm/360mm carbon ceramic brakes.
In the metal, the GTC4 is physically larger than you’d expect, wider and almost as long as a VF Commodore and with a bigger wheelbase. Photos don’t really do it justice – it grows on you over time, and turns plenty of heads. It’s got lots of presence.
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Ferrari interiors have also come a long way. The leathers feel as expensive as leathers get, soft and waxy, while you won’t find a cheap material anywhere inside, save for a few design solutions that feel a bit cheap for a $500K car, like the wobbly infotainment control knob or centre console lid.
Of course, you don’t buy a Ferrari for its interior, what you really want to do is mash that right pedal and experience that engine and that transmission – the highlights of the whole car. And when you do, the rear 295mm P-Zeros are quickly overwhelmed by that heavily turbocharged flat-plane-crank V8. Yet traction is strong enough, in the dry at least, that you wonder why they ever thought about all-wheel drive, the GTC4 hooking up after another little rear wriggle at the top of second gear.
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Like other turbo models, Ferrari limits the torque in the lower gears, unleashing more with every new gear for acceleration that, in this car’s case, isn’t 488-spec, but would leave a BMW M4 or AMG C63 behind. And they are cars that blow people’s minds with their straight-line ability. The GTC4 Lusso T is seriously quick.
Get stuck into a few corners and you feel the big four-seater revealing an eagerness to corner like it’s remembering a time it weighed 1600kg before letting itself go. It’s ballistic down a winding road, the turbos hissing under load as you pile on speed at an incredible rate.
Does it sound good? Yes, and it’s pretty loud, although it’s mostly tailpipe and you do miss the V12’s crisp intake noise filling the entire cabin at any speed – in fairness it’s a very hard noise to beat.
Despite razor-sharp, 488-esque steering and front-end, the GTC4 Lusso T is strangely tricky to place. We couldn’t quite figure it out until we flicked the manettino to ESC Off, which locks out the rear-steering, just to see what would happen. Suddenly the GTC4 Lusso T started handling like a car again, and the confidence returned.
The all-wheel steering is almost too aggressive in its calibration, causing the GTC4 to dart about a little too much for the speeds it is possible to carry. With fairly nannying TC and ESC, we also wish it had CT Off mode on the manettino so you can dance the rear around in safety – it’s a rear-drive Ferrari, for crying out aloud!
Still, you can have a lot of fun in this car. More than you’d think – more than the V12. As with many Ferrari models, the GTC4 Lusso T does not like the cold, harsh light of logic. Some might argue you can get a more comfortable car, still crazy fast, for a lot less money, like a Porsche Panamera Turbo.
But the big German can’t match the four-pew Ferrari for how it makes you feel when you drive it; there’s just something a bit special about a Ferrari. The big price ensures exclusivity – and that’s just the way many owners like it.
Testing the mettle of the latest metal on MOTOR reviews
2019 FERRARI GTC4 LUSSO T SPECS
Engine: 3855cc V8, DOHC, 32v, twin-turbo
Power: 449kW @ 7500rpm
Torque: 760Nm @ 3000-5250rpm
0-100km/h: 3.5sec (claimed)
Kerb Weight: 1865kg
Likes: Sensational powertrain; brutal acceleration; rear-drive fun; sense of occasion; ride
Dislikes: Rear-steer system; conservative electronics; flat seats; build quality issues
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars