It boasts plenty of noise, poise and excitement, but does Ferrari’s new V8 GTC4 Lusso T cut it as a long-distance tourer?
Ferrari GTC4 Lusso
Engine: V8, 3855cc, twin-turbo
Gearbox: Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
Top speed: 199mph
CO2/tax band: 265g/km, 37%
Take the all-wheel-drive V12 GTC Lusso, remove four cylinders, 88bhp and drive to the front wheels, along with quite a few thousand pounds, and you get the new Ferrari V8 GTC4 Lusso T. We try out this less complex version of the recently facelifted Ferrari FF successor â€“ which is, by the way, also the first time the supercar marque has ever offered a choice of engines in a single bodystyle.
The twin-turbo grand tourer brings a 55kg weight saving over its bigger-engined stablemate, along with a potentially more entertaining 46:54 front:rear weight distribution and 47lb ft more torque at 561lb ft, which is more generously spread between 3000rpm and 5250rpm. Fuel efficiency improves by 32%, and CO2 emissions fall from 350g/km to 265g/km.
Most owners will build substantially on the GTC4 Lussoâ€™s Â£199,285 purchase price with options including numerous carbon fibre extras and a huge panoramic roof. The carâ€™s unusually proportioned, cab-rear, long-bonnet bodyshape gives generous space for four, while the snug boot is enhanced by folding 40:20:40 rear seats and a powered hatchback.
Standard tech spec includes rear-wheel steering, e-diff and side-slip control, while the driver also benefits from forged Y-spoke 20-inch rims, paddleshifts and a manettino control, which forgoes a track setting for this GT car.
With a 0-62mph time of 3.5 seconds (the V12 does it in 3.4), the removal of four cylinders is hardly noticed. The V8 modelâ€™s rev-happy nature and accomplished seven-speed dual-clutch auto ensure thereâ€™s no turbo lag either, even though the otherwise joyful gearbox is occasionally slow to kick down in automatic mode.
The lighter V8 unit and tweaked weight distribution boost the modelâ€™s agility, and although the high-geared steering takes a little getting used to, growing confidence helps you explore the terrific front-end grip â€“ aided by rear-wheel steering â€“ and precision.
A regularly flashing ESC warning light indicates that rear grip is somewhat less secure when pushing on, but simply turn off the ESP to gain plenty of thrust out of corners and even the occasional drift â€“ which of course become more prevalent on wet surfaces. Powering through the bends is immensely satisfying, even if it occasionally feels as though the huge, standard-fit, carbon-ceramic brakes could provide more biting reassurance.
With the electronic dampers in their softest mode, any unexpected float can be quickly tempered by firming them up at the jab of a button. But for a grand tourer, the GTCâ€™s cruising ride isnâ€™t as refined as weâ€™d expect, with a lack of long-travel absorption and attraction towards cambers. Given the Ferrariâ€™s agility and tyre width, the slightly noisy suspension is no real surprise, however.
As a mile-crushing GT, the GTC falls a little short. Itâ€™s not outstandingly elegant or practical â€“ for luggage at least â€“ and it falls short of the long-distance cruising abilities of, say, the Bentley Continental.
However, it is a thrillingly agile, athletic machine â€“ almost unparalleled in this sector, in fact â€“ certainly catches the eye and can carry four in comfort. Just donâ€™t plan any cross-continent jaunts and youâ€™ll be fine.