Driving the Ferrari GTC4Lusso: Into the dark blue yonder
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Just days after its international owners were spinning it around the snow at Cardrona’s Southern Hemisphere Proving Ground, a GTC4Lusso was borrowed by Ferrari NZ and sent to Christchurch for a weekend road trip.
The GTC4Lusso is the replacement for Ferrari’s FF and is the “practical” car for the luxury brand. With four seats, the rear two providing enough head and leg room for an adult, and a hatch-type boot with ample room, this is an every-day-drive car.
Powered by a 6.3-litre V12 that generates 507kW of power with maximum torque at 697Nm, the GTC4Lusso has a starting price of $527,888 but my model was specced up to $689,282 due to such extras as a panoramic roof ($31,151) and $20,000 for the exterior historical colour of Blu Scozia – which proved its worth later in my trip.
The Ferrari event at Cardrona has owners experiencing time behind the wheel of the GTC4Lusso and learning specialised driving techniques on ice and snow, taught by Italian experts from Ferrari’s official Corso Pilota Driving School in Maranello, plus New Zealand instructors.
“We were really proud to showcase this incredible part of New Zealand to our clients from around the region,” said Herbert Appleroth, CEO of Ferrari Australasia.
The Ferrari GTC4Lusso is Maranello’s latest interpretation of the four-seater concept, which combines V12 performance in all driving conditions with sportiness and luxurious comfort for driver and passengers, says the brand.
It’s a tough name to say, “hey I drive a GTC4Lusso” rather than an FF, but you have to understand the reference and background. GT (grand tourer), C (coupe) 4 (seats four) then Lusso is Ferrari’s predecessors, such as the 330GTC and the 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso. Simple really.
So before being shipped back to Australia, the GTC4Lusso was in Christchurch, along with a 488 Spider (see p9).
I decided to bring my son Henry along for road trip and have a chance to show off the Ferrari to Christchurch friends, Paul and Sue, who had just bought a holiday home in north Canterbury.
Leaving Christchurch, Henry and I headed to north Canterbury where thankfully my GTC4Lusso was the historic colour of Blu Scozia homogeneous in a convoy of vehicles overtaking a slow van.
As we all sped past the van, a patrol car was coming in the opposite direction and I noted the look of frustration on his face, as he couldn’t cop any of us.
But I know that if my GTC4Lusso had been a traditional Ferrari red, I’d have faced a fine.
The GTC4Lusso has a top speed of 335km/h and sprints from 0-100km/h in 3.4sec – not that I was going to hit that speed.
It also had rear-wheel steering system plus a seven-speed gearbox with dual clutch transmission. Sitting on 20in wheels, the Ferrari fits the bill as a luxury sports car.
There was an integrated control set-up with five different drive modes: ice, wet comfort, sport and stability control off.
The new integrated infotelematic system included a 10in touch screen plus 3D navigation maps and Bluetooth audio streaming. But with the V12 engine, you don’t need the radio on.
The drive on the open road was seamless due to the dynamic control system that I had in this sport model, providing comfort and stability.
My friend Paul has a Tesla Model X (bought after I tested one), so it was opportune to let him hear what a powerful petrol engine sounds like for a change, and the revs of the V12 had him deciding a drive along the winding roads to Motunau Beach was needed.
The Ferrari easily coped with the challenging low-grip surface of the country road while the Tesla had a work out on the corners but kept pace with the Italian sports car.
The GTC4Lusso’s rear-wheel drive, low stance and longer body than a two-seater Ferrari, proved a stable drive but not without providing a spirited drive.
Using the steering wheel paddles I manually shifted gears giving a more performance-based drive rather than letting the Ferrari do all the work.
Parked up at Motuanu Beach for the photo shoot, the Tesla and Ferrari proved a head-turning combination, but driving up to Omihi’s Black Estate winery for lunch (alcohol-free for me) the Ferrari was a meal stopper with diners first hearing the V12 then seeing the low-slung Italian.
The trip back to Christchurch was again effortless, and although it was tempting to keep overtaking the slow locals, I was tempered by the reminder of the police officer’s face the day before and kept well below the speed limit. Ferrari Australia wouldn’t want its GT4CLusso tainted with a speeding fine.